Originally posted on Cippin on Sports  |  Last updated 9/5/13
Chicago Bears Prediction: 1st in division (11-5 overall) Strengths: Defense will be strong as it always is.. A turnover causing machine. Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall have spectacular playmaking abilities. Causes for concern: Cutler’s consistency has been an issue at times over the past few years, Bears were 29th in passing offense last year. Forte needs to stay healthy. X-Factor: Jay Cutler. He needs to protect the football, 14 interceptions and 7 fumbles last season, and he needs to lead the offense to its capabilities. He has weapons in Forte and Marshall, and I would expect a breakout year from receiver Alshon Jeffery. Green Bay Packers Prediction: 2nd in division (10-6 overall) Strengths: Aaron Rodgers.. one of the best QBs in game, this team goes as far as he takes them. Receiving core is also very strong with James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley. Causes for concern: Running game is questionable with no obvious choice to start Week 1. Defense is a concern with the Packers once again but if they get into shootouts, they’ll win some and lose some. X-Factor: Defense. The whole defense is the X-Factor for the Packers. This team is going to score lots and lots of points. But in the past they have given up lots and lots of points. A few bad bounces (or calls, See “Inaccurate Reception” vs Seahawks 2012) and you could lose some shootouts. If the defense keeps opposing teams under 30 points, Green Bay will win a lot of games. Minnesota Vikings Prediction: 3rd in division (9-7 overall) Strengths: Adrian Peterson. The best running back in the game of football and he can carry this team week after week. Offensive line is solid, Peterson could easily rush for 2000 yards again. Causes for concern: Christian Ponder and his receiving core. Percy Harvin is gone, Greg Jennings is injury prone, and Cordarrelle Patterson is just a rookie. Ponder needs weapons in order to be successful and I’m not sure these two will be reliable enough. X-Factor: Greg Jennings’ health. We all know that if Jennings is healthy, this dude can play. He has great hands, he can catch the ball over the middle, and he can burn you deep too. If he stays healthy, this offense will be able to throw the ball as a threat opening up the running game even more AP, which is scary. If Jennings plays all 16 games this year, Minnesota will find themselves in the playoffs again this year. Detroit Lions Prediction: 4th in division (6-10 overall) Strengths: Offense is absolutely stacked. Stafford can throw with the best of them and the addition of Reggie Bush in the backfield makes this offense one of my favorites in the league. Causes for concern: Defense. Last year they gave up 4.5 yards per carry and allowed an opposing quarterback rating of 91.7. The defense looks solid on paper and I just don’t get how this team won only 4 games last year. Maybe this year will be different but the rest of division is tough and their schedule isn’t favorable. X-Factor: Don’t really know where to go with this one because the team looks so good on paper and I can’t quite figure where it goes wrong for Detroit. If I had to choose, I would say Matthew Stafford. 17 interceptions thrown last year, if he can get that number down closer to single digits, then maybe the defense won’t be in bad situations following the turnover. I really do not understand this team and how they struggled as much as they did last year. This division, similar to the NFC East, is very intriguing to me. All four teams have the talent to take the division but with no clear favorite. Once again, every divisional game will be huge in the NFC North. I am going with Chicago as of now, only because I think Cutler is due for a good year and Marc Trestman will take these team further than Lovie Smith did (even though I was always a big Lovie fan). Don’t expect the other three teams to just hand it to them though.. This divisional race will be a war. Stay tuned!
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