2012 NFC North Predictions: Packers, Bears, Lions, Vikings
2012 NFC North Preseason Predictions: Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings; Can Anyone Catch Aaron Rodgers’ Packers?
The Green Bay Packers possess one of the most dynamic, unstoppable passing games in football. Since their Super Bowl victory, the Packers have been perennial favorites to win the NFC. However, the 2012 NFC North is loaded. The Chicago Bears added offense to one of football’s most consistent defenses over the last decade. The Detroit Lions might be the only passing attack in the NFL that is more dangerous than Green Bay’s. Even the Minnesota Vikings might be better. Can you ever really count out a team with a healthy Adrian Peterson on it? It’s hard to say exactly where losses will come from in the NFC North as this division has three of the best teams in the conference doing battle.
Green Bay Packers (12-4): The Green Bay Packers haven’t relied on the running game very much in the Aaron Rodgers era, but this year they may have to abandon it entirely. After injuries forced Cedric Benson into action, the Packers are one more injury away from running a college-style spread offense on every play. With Aaron Rodgers, that might not be the worst thing in the world. Still, this division is physical and loaded with talent. The Green Bay Packers defense is a tremendous liability and was one of the worst in football last season. It’s going to be hard for Green Bay to remain consistent throughout the entire season. While the Packers might still be the best team in the NFC, the Bears and Lions aren’t far behind.
Chicago Bears (11-5): Jay Cutler still doesn’t have the heart to finish a playoff game on a sprained knee, but he’s got wide receivers now. The gunslinger is reunited with Brandon Marshall, and Johnny Knox averaged nearly 20 yards per reception last season. If Knox can return, the Bears have two deep threats. If Knox misses the 2012 season, he serves as an example of exactly how dangerous a receiver as talented as Brandon Marshall might be. Look for the Bears offense to be one of the most balanced, explosive, and consistent in football. They have a good passing game and Matt Forte is an elite, versatile running back. The defense is getting old, but the Chicago Bears are solid on both sides of the ball.
Detroit Lions (10-6): If Matthew Stafford can stay healthy, this passing attack is frightening. Calvin Johnson is the best wide receiver in football and is almost uncoverable. The Lions are one play away from a touchdown anywhere on the field with Megatron in the lineup. The running game is banged up, but the Lions look a lot like the Green Bay Packers this year. If the pass rush can generate as much pressure as it did last year, the Lions could mask a weak secondary rather effectively. It’s going to be an interesting year for the Lions.
Minnesota Vikings (4-12): It’s a shame, but someone in this division has to lose and it’s going to be the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings have a young quarterback, a mediocre defense, and Adrian Peterson is recovering from a devastating knee injury. If Peterson can play effectively this season, the Vikings will remain in games. However, without an effective passing attack and a defense with some major deficiencies, the Vikings will likely be at the bottom of the NFC North again in 2012.
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