Cleavie Wonder

2015 NFC North Preview

Last year this division sent two teams to the playoffs ( One of them to the NFC championship) while the other two self destructed from a lack of leadership and heavy handed discipline levied against their star player.  I still think this division will send two teams to the playoffs this year, but only one has Super Bowl aspirations.  The division will stay bunched at the top for most of the year and late games in Green Bay and Chicago will decide the winner.  Here’s how the division will shake out.

Green Bay Packers:  11-5.  I would give the Pack an extra game, but the loss of Jordy Nelson is too significant to overlook.  His absence will be critical as the team tries to find a way to make up for his production.  Davante Adams should step in to compliment Reggie Cobb and Eddie Lacy’s smash mouth running style will give the offense some balance.  At the end of the day the Packers have Aaron Rodgers so the sky’s the limit as far as playoff aspirations go.  If they can get homefield advantage things look favorable for the Pack.

Minnesota Vikings:  10-6.  The return of Adrian Peterson is enough to get this team into the playoffs.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he breaks Eric Dickerson’s record this year as he looks to re-establish himself as the best running back in the game.  Teddy Bridgewater is developing nicely in Norv Turner’s offense and the addition of Mike Wallace should help the Vikings stretch the field.  The defense is average at best so teams will hang around until the 4th quarter, but AP is one of the best closers in the game.  The Vikings will go further than most people think.

Detroit Lions:  9-7.  The loss of Ndamukong Suh is not only physical, but mental as well.  Teams no longer fear the Lions defense because there is no intimidation factor.  Suh gave the Mowtown Kitties an identity and without him they lose a dominant personality.  Megatron is getting up there in age and it looks like his best years are behind him.  Matthew Stafford needs to be more accurate and make fewer mistakes if this team is going to be successful.  If Ameer Abdullah can contribute at a high level Detroit could be a factor late in the season.

Chicago Bears:  6-10.  The Bears lost Brandon Marshall, failed miserably by signing Ray McDonald, Jay Cutler doesn’t care enough, and Matt Forte is getting old.  The only bright spot for this team is Alshon Jeffrey.  He is a legitimate #1 receiver with Pro Bowl talent and that’s great if he’s on your fantasy football team.  Unfortunately it’s not enough to make the Chicago Bears a competitive football team.