Finally!!! Football is here, and I’m ready!!!
I’m excited about a lot. And as a Lions fan, hope always springs eternal, then gets stomped out pretty quickly. BUT, if it’s a good year, our hopes will fade round about Thanksgiving. But I digress.
Today I will be previewing the good ol’ NFC North and how it may look this year. Now, while I don’t have a crystal ball, I’ll do my best!
So, last year was a pretty interesting one for the division. Aaron Rodgers was out, Cutty was out, Matt Stafford was in, and who was QB of the Vikings again? Do the Vikings even know?? Oh yeah…. it was the Ponder, Cassel, Freeman carousel.
Anyway, let’s look at the Vikings.
They finished last in the division last year with a record of 5-10-1, and made some coaching changes in the off season, bringing in new (first time) head coach Mike Zimmer and coaching veteran Norv Turner. They drafted Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater, both of whom will be decent additions to the team, and they also drafted Jerick McKinnon who hopefully will be able to help Adrian Peterson in the backfield. So based on how they drafted and their coaching changes will it be enough to help get them out of the cellar? If Zimmer and Turner can help improve their QB situation, it could be enough. But one thing that could still hurt them is the fact that they lost Jared Allen to Da Bears. If there is one thing you need in this division this year, its defense. My prediction for the Vikings this year: 6-10
Moving on to the Monsters of The Midway.
This team finished last year 8-8. Slightly disappointing for them, but also one must remember that Jay Cutler was out for several games with an injury, along with Lance Briggs. And the retirement of Brian Urlacher was also a noticeable loss. So those things presented first year head coach Marc Trestman with some challenges. The 2014 season brings some promise. They picked up Jared Allen from Minnesota, Jay Cutler signed a 7 year deal, along with kicker Robbie Gould. They improved their defense during free agency with the additions of people like Lamarr Houston, Willie Young, and Ryan Mundy. They also drafted pretty decently by getting once again more solid on defense with Kyle Fuller, Ego Ferfuson and Will Sutton. The Bears defense sort of scares me. But I think it will be their defense that will win the games for them. Their offense is good, but their defense is better. My prediction for the Bears this year: 9-7.
Next up…The Packers.
These guys limped their way into winning the division last year with an 8-7-1 record. Injuries to key players such as Jermichael Finley, Casey Hayward, Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, and of course Aaron Rogers affected this team. They ended up putting 15 players on IR last year. But I’m not really thinking the same record for this year. You just can’t bet against Aaron Rogers, barring another injury. Again though, just getting everyone back healthy again makes this team better automatically, without adding key free agents and draft picks. But they were able to pick up Julius Peppers and Matt Flynn and drafted Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Davante Adams. Pretty good pickups if you ask me. My prediction for The Pack: 11-5
Rounding out the division are the Lions.
This team. All the talent in the world, but can’t get out of their own way. They finished a disappointing 7-9 last year, after pretty much having the division in their laps. But this year they come back with a brand new coaching staff put in place to help Matt Stafford live up to his potential. The Lions signed Golden Tate during free agency, and also brought in James Ihedigbo for their secondary. The Lions also drafted Eric Ebron to also give Stafford another person to throw to, and also Kyle Van Noy as another addition to the defense. If Suh and Fairley play as they were touted to do, and if Stafford is able to NOT throw as many interceptions this year, this team could do some damage in this division. My prediction for The Lions: 9-7.
I think the NFC North is going to live up to its name this year. This is going to be one tough division to get through, especially with the additions that the Packers and Bears have made on defense. But it’s going to be fun to watch. And. I. Can’t. Wait.
Follow Sonja on Twitter @Mom23RN