Around the league:My NFC North projections


July 28, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers helmets sit on the field during training camp practice at Ray Nitschke Field in Green Bay, WI. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Hello again everyone hope we’re all doing well as we count down to football. With my second post in as many days I have my projections for the NFC North. This was probably the toughest division to project and I think the difference between first and fourth place will be the smallest in the league this year. As always please share your opinions with me although I understand these projections outside our division may not interest you all that much. But, without further ado, here they are.

4. The Minnesota Vikings: Let me start by saying that I am one of the few people that are very high on the Vikings right now. I think Christian Ponder can be a very solid quarterback in this game. He’s a gamer much like our own Philip Rivers, he’s got a strong arm, and has solid accuracy for a second year quarterback. This offense isn’t going to blow anybody away but they may not have to. The defense led by Jared Allen and Antoine Winfield on the back end will be solid. They should finish somewhere just below or at .500, but I look for them to continue to build and swing the balance of power in this division very soon,

3. The Chicago Bears: The Bears are a good football team. Jay Cutler is not on the “Joe Flacco”, “Tony Romo” level quite yet but he has the potential to be there. The offense took a big step last year with the emergence of Matt Forte at running back. With the addition of Brandon Marshall this offense should be able to score more points to back up a strong but aging defense. Special teams with the Bears will always be good as long as Devin Hester is there. As far as the defense I think the window is closing it’s solid and maybe the best in this division. With special teams giving the offense a short field or even extra points, an offense that can score some points, and a defense that will stay solid that could propel this team.

2. The Detroit Lions: I don’t like the way this offseason turned out for a young Lions team. Lots of arrests and distractions hampered this team after an amazing run that really came out of no where. This year the team won’t make the playoffs despite winning a good amount of games. As I said the team is very young and that’s a double-edged sword. The speed of this team and offense is one of the best in the NFC. Matthew Stafford is close to being believable he needs to repeat last year and then I’ll say he’s a franchise quarterback. Megatron is… megatron, if the ball is in his area he’s got it. However, I don’t think the rest of the offense is good enough to pick up slack that may be left behind. The defense scares me Ndamakung Suh has to show he can control himself, if he can the defensive line is the best in the division. The secondary has to rely on the front side to be good. The Lions will win some shootouts but they’re not good enough to return to the postseason.

1. The Green   Bay Packers: For the second straight year I think the Pack returns to the top of this division however, they will not win it as far and away from all other teams like they did last year. This year the offense will be great, best in the division. If they can add a solid running game it may be the best in the NFC. The defense has to show they can stop teams. Nick Perry was a very nice pick and will give Clay Matthews some help on the other side. They kept most of their players in the offseason and even added Jeff Saturday to the o-line. There’s not much that needs to be said about the packers, they’ll be a great team and yet again challenge for the super bowl in 2013.

As always I thank you all for reading and welcome your comments and ideas. Thanks again and remember, only five more days until our year starts.