By Angel L. Quiles Jr.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers look prime and ready to make a serious run at not only their division, but at the Super Bowl this upcoming season. Mainly because of the emergence of second year running back Eddie Lacy. Lacy was a forced to be reckoned with in his rookie season. He put the Packers on his back during the absence of superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers, and was one of the main reasons the Packers were able to win their division.
Now the Packers will start the season with both of those nuclear weapons. Barring an offensive line meltdown, which is not impossible (the Packers have allowed Rodgers to be sacked 2.7 times per game since 2011). Not even a bomb shelter will be able to keep your team safe from the Packer offense.
The Packer defense could be just as entertaining because of the addition of all-pro Julius Peppers. Peppers may be past his prime, but now he has teammate, and defensive juggernaut Clay Mathews to help shoulder the load. If they can motivate each other, and that Packer defense. The Packers could be dancing toward Glendale, Arizona.
The Chicago Bears are the only team in this division who can score with the Packers. They have an amazing running back in Matt Forte, and two incredible wide receivers in Alshon Jeffrey, and Brandon Marshall. All of whom can put the ball in the end zone.
However, will their quarterback Jay Cutler stay healthy? The Bears resigned Cutler to a big deal this offseason, and are hoping that he will be able to stay healthy, and lead them to the playoffs. Cutler is not a mobile quarterback and has been susceptible to big hits, and sacks throughout his entire career. However, if second year offensive guard Kyle Long is able to continue his progress from his rookie year. Maybe Cutler can reach his full potential.
Chicago’s success will be predicated on the success of their defense. The Bears defense stunk last year, and ranked 30th overall. Hopefully for Bears fans, the addition of defensive lineman Jarred Allen will give them some fortitude on the front line.
The Lions will have the ability to make the playoffs because of their stellar defensive front seven led by Ndamukong Suh. They also have the best Wide receiver in the game in “Megatron” Calvin Johnson. Nonetheless, winning the division in the NFC North will be harder than the pit of an avocado, because of their quarterback Mathew Stafford.
Stafford can fling the football all over the field, but his decision-making ability in crunch time of games is highly questionable like Dan Le Batard. He threw 13 interceptions in the second half of last season, and six in the fourth quarter.
Moreover, their cornerbacks have shown themselves to be inexperienced and ineffective against passing attacks. The NFC North is a division with great wide receivers; and shutting them down will be a huge problem for the Lions like under aged smoking.
Subsequently, They do have a good running back in Joique Bell. They would be wise to give Bell a lot of touches. It will help them control the ball, and take the pressure off of Stafford. That’s the only way the Lions will have a shot at the playoffs.
The Vikings don’t have enough talent to compete in this division. Superstar running back Adrian Peterson should ask for a trade or he will be this generation’s Barry Sanders.
Matt Cassel has been named the starting quarterback. Therefore, the Vikings won’t have to begin the season with rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater at the helm. Rookies, have had success in the past(e.g. Andrew Luck and RGIII). However, Bridgewater is not ready to begin as the starter.
They have lost their defensive stalwart Jarred Allen to free agency, and their defense is filled with inexperienced players. The offense is decent because of all-pro Adrian Peterson. However, to be successful in the NFL you need receivers who can make plays. Wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson looks good, but will he be enough to keep defenses from stacking eight inside the box, to neutralize Peterson?
2014 NFC North Prediction
Green Bay Packers- 12-4
Chicago Bears- 10-6
Detroit Lions- 7-9
Minnesota Vikings- 2-14
Top 10 Fantasy Players
1- Adrian Peterson- MIN
2- Aaron Rodgers- GB
3- Matt Forte- CHI
4- Eddie Lacy- GB
5- Calvin Johnson- DET
6- Brandon Marshall- CHI
7- Randall Cobb- GB
8- Jordy Nelson- GB
9- Alshon Jeffery- CHI
10- Mathew Stafford- DET