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12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS

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Old 08-07-2007, 07:20 PM   #1
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12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS

There are about three things certain in the NFC North: Brett Favre lining up under center for the Green Packers, the Chicago Bears fielding a dominating defense, and the Detroit Lions taking a wide receiver with their first pick. After that, all bets are off. Generally speaking these teams beat up on each other so bad during the regular season, it’s usually a case of last man standing. They don’t call this the "Black and Blue" division for nothing.

With the exception of the Chicago Bears, there’s really nothing special about this division and the teams are usually close enough to teeter somewhere between 8-8 and a losing record. That being said, the North did produce the NFC Conference champs last year, and for the reason most of my commentary will be dedicated to the Chicago Bears. Let’s take a look.


CHICAGO BEARS: 11-5 The Chicago Bears, who are normally strangers to drama, had their fair share during the off season. First, there was the drawn out contract extension between the Bears and Lovie Smith following the Super Bowl. Instead of capitalizing on the good mood from the team’s Super Bowl appearance, the Bears ownership stumbled and dragged out Smith’s contract negotiation longer than anyone had expected. After the media ran with the story for too many days, Bears management caved in and inked a deal with Smith. Thinking he was next in line, defensive coach Ron Rivera wanted an increase in salary, but management wasn’t in such a good mood and showed Rivera the door instead. And how could we ever forget the episode with Lance Briggs threatening to sit out most of the season, then the entire season, leave the NFL…..you name it, it was getting ugly. Briggs finally had a change of heart, decided not to apply for welfare benefits, and take his measly $7 million and play at least for another year. Wait, it gets better. Tank “Jessie James” Johnson had enough artillery in his house to blow up the south side of Chicago! Tank had a few more brushes with the law after that and the rest was history. Tank got tanked! But unless the Chicago Bears completely fall apart, they still figure to win the division and make another run for the Super Bowl.

On defense the Bears lost a few faces, and picked up a few faces. The defense boasts one of the best cornerback tandems in the league in Charles “Peanut” Tillman and Nathan Vasher, both of whom recently signed long-term contract extensions. Adam Archuletta joins the Bears from the Washington Redskins, after what many considered an ill conceived signing by the Redskins. Archuletta finished the season in Washington riding the pine, but hopes to add a physical presence to the Bears secondary. Tank Johnson will be replaced by Anthony Adams, acquired from the 49ers and Darwin Walker from the Buffalo Bills. The linebacker corps is led by Brian Urlacher, probably the best in the business, and Lance Briggs will join him to form a beast combination.

When discussing the Bears offense, the first name that usually comes up is Rex Grossman. Grossman has shown he can be horribly inconsistent at times, but can be effective when managing the game with a lead. If he’s mildly improve this year, the Bears offense can put up some points. They return all five starters on the offensive line, Cedric Benson takes over the full time duties from the departed Thomas Jones, and the Bears picked stud TE Greg Olsen from “U” in the draft.

The wild card will be whether or not Cedric Benson can effectively carry the running load and keep the attack balanced enough for Grossman to succeed.
Key Additions: Adam Archuletta, Anthony Adams, Nick Novak
Key Losses: Thomas Jones, Tank Johnson, Ian Scott, Alfonso Boone, defensive coach Ron Rivera


Green Bay Packers: 9-7 The Packers finished the season strong last year at a respectable 8-8. Probably strong enough for Brett Farve to hold off retirement and return for his 17th NFL season. The Packers seem intent on building through the draft, so the off season was relatively quiet. However, I think they missed a few opportunities to upgrade on offense, especially at running back and wide receiver. With a ton of free agents at RB and wide receiver this year, you have to wonder what is it the Packers know that we don’t. As the season wears on though, their lack of talent and depth at said positions could prove to be their achilles in this hard hitting division.

The defense finished last season ranked 12th in the league and returns all of its starters. Linebacker A.J Hawk had a solid rookie outing and figures to be the center piece on defense. Last season Hawk was defensive rookie of the week twice, and finished third in voting for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.

All and all, Green Bay is a young team that’s rebuilding, but is still very capable of a wild card berth. Look for them to split a few with their respective divisional rivals, and expect Brett Favre to pull off at least one amazing comeback this year.
Key Additions: None
Key Losses: Ahman Green


MINNESOTA VIKINGS: 8-8 People in Minnesota will tell you how Adrian Peterson is the new face of the franchise and things will be different this year, but it still remains to be seen if Brad Childress’ old school style will take root in Minnesota. The only thing separating Minnesota from Green Bay, in my opinion, is experience at the quarterback position.

For starters, the loss of Brad Johnson is a big blow to a team in need of leadership and experience in a back-up quarterback. Everything is riding on second year quarterback Tavaris Jackson as the Vikings enter the 2007 season. Jackson made some brilliant plays year, but the jury is still out how he plays over a 16 game season. If for some reason Jackson doesn’t pan out, the Vikings will turn to Brooks Bollinger or Drew Henson. If I’m a Vikings fan neither of those names give me the warm fuzzies inside.

At wide receiver, Marcus Robinson and Troy Williamson, who dropped more passes than Carlos Rogers last year, will be joined by rookie phenom Sidney Rice. Rice played for the old ball coach at South Carolina, and believe it or not, a lot of people out there actually think Rice could end up being a better pro than Calvin Johnson. He was a helluva lot cheaper, that’s for sure! Enter Adrian Peterson. Peterson will provide a nice one two punch along with Chester Taylor. Similar to that of New Orleans, but not as dynamic.

On the other side of the ball, safety Darren Sharper is still an interception machine and figures to be the face of a defense that was at the top in the league against the run, but nearly last against the pass. The Vikings, like the Packers, missed some opportunities to grab some talent on the free agent market to upgrade on defense.

On a side note: Don’t be surprised if the Vikes brought in guy named “Tank” Johnson to play defensive line later in the season. The NFC North would be a perfect fit for Johnson don’t you think?
Key Losses: Brad Johnson, Fred Smoot, Jermain Wiggins, defensive coach Mike Tomlin
Key Additions: no big splashes


DETROIT LIONS: 6-10 Unless Calvin Johnson really is from the planet Krypton, the Lions will finish at the bottom of the division this year, despite John Kitna’s prophetic declaration of a 10-6 season. (Note to Kitna: false prophets were stoned in the old testament) But in all honesty the Lions are pretty decent on both sides of the ball - I said decent. Roy Williams, whom I think is probably one of the top 5 wide outs playing, and Calvin Johnson should grab plenty of balls and score plenty of touchdowns under the direction of guru Mike Martz. My biggest knock on the offense is that they’ll have three new starters along the offensive line. I don’t care how good they were prior to coming to Detroit, it will take time to develop continuity and open holes.

On defense the Lions traded cornerback Dre Bly to the Denver Broncos for RB Tatum Bell and OT George Foster, and lost another two or three faces to free agency. They franchised their best defensive player, DT Cory Redding, so he returns, and second year LB Ernie Simms should get better in only his second season. But other than Simms and Redding, no one really stands out at as an impact player on defense. This is where head coach Rod Marinelli gets to show his defensive genius that got him the job in the first place.

Unfortunately for the Lions, Matt Millen is the still the GM, and by the looks of his new contract he will be for some time. It's mind boggling how the Lions haven’t had a winning season in several years, yet they fire coaches, quarterbacks, the water boy, move the damn stadium….everything under the sun except fire Matt Millen. Until he leaves, I think the Lions will always have talent, but never a winning team. Let’s hope I’m not the false prophet on this one!
Key Additions: Tatum Bell, T.J. Duckett, George Foster
Key Losses: Dre Bly
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:25 PM   #2
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIOINS

Nice overview.
This div. could finish w/all teams 8-8. I don't see the bears coming back that strong but they're still the team to beat. You can't expect Hester to have another year like that, or for them to beat teams w/out scoring on O.
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Old 08-07-2007, 07:46 PM   #3
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIOINS

hey can someone correct "predictions" thx.
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Old 08-07-2007, 08:01 PM   #4
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIOINS

Great post, but I doubt that they will go 34-30 for the division. That division will be under .500.

In fact, i can easily see only the bears above .500, and the rest no better than 7 wins each.
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Old 08-07-2007, 08:03 PM   #5
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIOINS

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Great post, but I doubt that they will go 34-30 for the division. That division will be under .500.

In fact, i can easily see only the bears above .500, and the rest no better than 7 wins each.
You bring up a good point. I think there is only a certain number of games that can be won and lost in the division over the course of the season.

Don't ask me the formula though.
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Old 08-07-2007, 08:04 PM   #6
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS

Minnesota Vikings Key Additions: No Big Splashes

Hahaha, well played 12th. Well played
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Old 08-07-2007, 08:31 PM   #7
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS

Player(s) to watch: Adrian Peterson - With Cedric Benson banged up, as well as Chester Taylor, this may be the first time* two RB's with the same name started the season in the same division.



*Actually, I have no idea if it is indeed the first time.
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:04 PM   #8
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS

bears 12-4
pack 9-7
viks 7-9
lions 6-10
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:05 PM   #9
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS

To the topic creator, I would consider Adrian Peterson a big addition for the Vikings. I expect him to have an impact as soon as the season starts.
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Old 08-07-2007, 09:49 PM   #10
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS

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To the topic creator, I would consider Adrian Peterson a big addition for the Vikings. I expect him to have an impact as soon as the season starts.
I don't doubt that he'll have an impact. I just don't think it will impact their record in any significant way.

One side of their offensive line is solid, the other is so-so. And it's not like you have an established quarterback and receiving threat to help out. If the Vikings fall behind early in games, I could see Peterson having a decent year, but not a great one.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:32 PM   #11
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS

Great analysis 12th.

The only thing I would change is that the Vikings probably aren't going to get anywhere near 8 wins. Or 6.

But, IMO, the rest of your analysis is dead on.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:40 PM   #12
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIOINS

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You bring up a good point. I think there is only a certain number of games that can be won and lost in the division over the course of the season.

Don't ask me the formula though.

WHat's the formula?
JK.
It's a good prediction none the less 12thman.
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Old 08-08-2007, 07:07 AM   #13
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS

This division really sums up the state of today's nfl. Other than the bears, each team is so lacking in any positive identity. The one team that seems to be on course to creating an identity is the Lions, they just signed CJ & they ended last year strong, loved that Dallas game. I wouldn't put money on J. Kitna's prediction, but I wouldn't be surprised if they score a lot of points & win 9 games. The Pack & Vikings, I have no idea how they'll do, but I see 8 wins as their max. Favre will have his moments but it won't be enough. The vikes always have a solid roster but they have a lot of holes to fill. Tavaris Jackson is exciting.
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:11 AM   #14
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS

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This division really sums up the state of today's nfl. Other than the bears, each team is so lacking in any positive identity. The one team that seems to be on course to creating an identity is the Lions, they just signed CJ & they ended last year strong, loved that Dallas game. I wouldn't put money on J. Kitna's prediction, but I wouldn't be surprised if they score a lot of points & win 9 games. The Pack & Vikings, I have no idea how they'll do, but I see 8 wins as their max. Favre will have his moments but it won't be enough. The vikes always have a solid roster but they have a lot of holes to fill. Tavaris Jackson is exciting.
You're right about parity in the NFL these days. If for some reason the Bears have meltdown, I could see the Vikes winning 8 games.
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Old 08-08-2007, 09:34 AM   #15
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Re: 12ths 2007 NFC NORTH PREDICTIONS

I see the Vikes doing well. Decent line, great defense, inexperience at QB, very good RBs. Run the rock, play defense, and expect lots of passes to that TE they paid a ton for.
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