Thursday, September 8, 2011

NFC North Preview

Chicago Bears

Does anyone have any fucking clue about how the Bears made it to the NFC Championship? What makes this team a winner? The Bears finished the season with the 26th best passing offense, 22nd best running offense, and the 20th passing defense. HOW DOES THAT GET YOU TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP! Oh I know how, you win 11 games and get a lot of things to go your way. They really lucked out when the fighting Marshawns beat the Saints in the wildcard, because they got a fucking gift to play Seattle at home. But hey, they won games and that ultimately gets you there.

Jay Cutler has a huge arm and can straight launch the ball, but who does he throw to? Devin Hester? Johnny Knox? That is a really gross grouping of wide outs. He also has no problem forcing a ball down the field and throwing interceptions. He has mastered that skill. To make it even more gross, they went out and grabbed Roy Williams. Now, to give the Roy Williams signing a little value, he did have his best season of his career with Mike Martz back in Detroit, and they are now reunited. But it’s still Roy Williams we’re talking about here. He can’t catch a ball if it hit him in the face (really, it happens all the time). They do have Matt Forte who is a decent running back, but nothing special. What makes him effective is his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and Martz loves to throw to his running backs.

The one thing is good on the Bears is their front seven. They are big and can stop the run with the best of them (They finished 2nd in opposing rushing yards last season) with talent like Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher (who, for some reason can still play), Lance Briggs, and Israel Idonije. Urlacher isn’t getting any yonger though, and their secondary is one of the worst in football. They will be in games, but I don’t think they can close many of those out. Look for a step back this season.

Vegas Wins Prediction: 8 ½. This is a tough line. Jesus. But I’ll take the under. Eight wins for this team this year.

Detroit Lions
Last season, the Lions once again suffered from” Stafforditis”, which essentially means that they lost their franchise quarterback for the second straight year. Jahvid best proved to be a big play threat over the first two weeks of the season…and the injury virus took a huge bite out of him as well. So the Lions were without their starting quarterback and their big play running back. Luckily for Lions fans, Shaun Hill came in and played well for them, well until he broke his arm. So Lions fans got treated with the erratic and shitty play of Drew Stanton (Well except for that win against Green Bay…HAHAHAHA!!). The Lions still got great success out of their superstar wide out, Calvin Johnson, who made his first Pro Bowl last year (finally). Look for him to continue his dominance and catch every behind the back throw there is.

The bright spot of the team last season was the defensive line, which proved they should be just as respected as the top dogs in the NFL. Ndamukong Suh had one of the best rookie seasons of any rookie defensive tackle and racked up 10 sacks. He looks like a veteran and he’s only entering his second year. So expect great things from him once again, but for how good their pass rush was last year, the line still couldn’t stop the run, and was ranked 24th in rush yards per game. Another glaring problem was the Lions' secondary. There were many times during a game where I screamed “WHERE THE HELL IS THAT CORNER!” Blown assignments and lack of skill infected the Lions secondary like a dirty bar whore.

The Lions have definitely upgraded their weak spots this off season. They signed linebacker Steven Tulloch from the Titans, who had the second highest tackle total in the league last year and will for sure make a direct impact to a linebacking core that has been nonexistent for years. They also signed veteran corner Eric Wright from the Browns who should be an upgrade to at least one corner position. If everyone can stay healthy, watch out for the Lions. They have great offensive weapons in Brandon Pettigrew, Megatron, and rookie Titus Young. And the defense should continue to play hard and get in the quarterback’s face.

Vegas Wins Prediction: 8. Eight is right where this line should be. I'm feeling this year is the year...I'M TAKING THE OVER!
Let’s be honest though, these are the Lions. Their bandwagon is growing at rapid amounts and many people think that they can lock up the six seed in the NFC and make the playoffs. Trust me, I hope they do—but I've had my heart broken before. They still have an ailing secondary, and Stafford is one hit away from getting sidelined for the rest of the season. But if Stafford stays healthy, this team could make a big jump. They are ready to win in Detroit and they could make some noise.

Green Bay Packers

Last year, the Packers were a team that was on the rise and had the power to beat some great teams. But nobody thought they were going to win the Super Bowl (well except all my friends at home, who suck). The Packers suffered some serious injuries last year at the beginning of the season. They lost an absolute beast of a tight end in Jermichael Finley in the early weeks, and lost starting running back Ryan Grant after the first game. It was not looking good for the Packers, but Aaron Rodgers proved that he doesn’t need a running game and threw the ball all over the field. They barely squeaked into the playoffs and made teams pay in the post season and brought the Lombardi Trophy back to Lambeau.

Well the Super Bowl champs are coming back with a better team than last year, and it’s very, very scary. They get Jermichael Finley back (who’s ceiling is 67 touchdowns and 4600 yards receiving…ok a little farfetched but this man is insanely talented). They also get back Ryan Grant who will split carries with playoff breakout star James Starks. Their rush defense was one of the best last year ranking 5th in the league, and their secondary is filled with playmakers that can run a pick back before you even realize what happened.

It pains me to say it, but the Packers are going to really good next year. You don’t get worse by getting your playmakers back and healthy.

Vegas Win Predictions: 11. I’m taking that right on. They’ll go 11-5 and make a run for the Super Bowl once again (there, you happy fuckers).

Minnesota Vikings
I have no idea how to judge this team this year. Last year they were wrapped up in the Favre carrousel for the second straight year. Just like everyone thought, he became the old crippled man he should have been and sucked a fat “d”. Tarvaris Jackson got his chance under center once Favre went down and actually won his first start against buffalo. But he got knocked out the following game and Viking fans got watch Joe Webb for the last three games of the season. It was a very disappointing season for Vikes fans after going to the NFC Championship the year before.

Adrian Peterson was still a monster for them last year though, and his violent running style was still prevalent in every game. Percy Harvin proved to be an explosive, reliable weapon on short passing routes. Sidney Rice didn’t play a full season last year, and couldn’t duplicate his numbers from the year before. Even when he came back, he didn’t perform like he should have.

Their defense proved to be a tough unit once again finishing tenth in pass defense and ninth in rush defense. Jared Allen was an absolute freak again roping up 11 sacks last season. Ray Edwards also complimented him on the other end of the defensive line collecting eight sacks of his own. “The Williams Wall” plugged up the holes and made running through them nearly impossible, while Chad Greenway and EJ Henderson racked up the tackles (144 and 105 respectively).

So it’s clear that the offense was the clear issue last year for the Vikings. This year they lose their big target in Sidney Rice, but that really isn’t a big down grade. He never really produced like he should have, except for the one year with Brett Favre. They made a big move this offseason and brought in veteran gun slinger Donavan McNabb to help distribute the ball to Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian (who I believe will be a stud this year, just sayin’). I also think McNabb will bounce back this year because of the man that will be behind him, Purple Jesus. Mcnabb has never had a running back like Peterson (and really who has) to take the heat off of him.

Vegas Wins Prediction: 7. I’m doing it…I’M TAKING THE OVER! I think the Vikings are going to be way more competitive than last year and Mcnabb is a huge upgrade from shitty Joe Webb/T-Jax. 

Final Standings

Green Bay: 11-5
Detroit: 9-7
Minnesota: 8-8
Chicago: 7-9

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