Wednesday, September 9, 2009

big american nfl preview '09: NFC North

Look, I get to this division each year and have to pick with either my brain or my...whatever it is that causes me to love and overestimate the Bears' chances each year. So last year, I went with my brain and that didn't work out so hot. Guess where I'm going this year...

4. Detroit - They're starting a rookie at quarterback. They're still the team that went 0-fer last season, and even with a new front office and pretty capable running back they're not going to have a Dolphin-like turnaround. Sorry Lions. I'll watch you on Thanksgiving.

3. Green Bay - The Rogers kid went ahead and lit some teams up last season, making himself a fantasy darling. Too bad there was no running game. And very little defense to speak of. The Packers did basically nothing to address these problems, so there's not a lot to like except for a guy who will probably have 4,000 more passing yards in an otherwise fruitless season.

2. Minnesota - When the Favre experiment goes wrong, and it will (after looking really good for a few weeks), you'll have Rosenfels and Jackson waiting in the wings after the Vikings went out of their way to say that they'd rather have a ghost behind center than either of them. Adrian Peterson and the defensive line are still going to be beastly, but I don't have faith in a team coached by a guy who spent the entire off-season ignoring his team to flirt with an overrated, past his prime, interception machine.

1. Chicago - Okay. Hear me out. The team's biggest strength has always been its defense. The core group of that defense can probably feel the window shutting for them. I think they have one more great season in them before they fade as a group. They know how much the Bears mortgaged the future to get Jay Cutler now. They will step up one more time. I worry more about the secondary, which will be young and unproven. On the other side of the ball, they improved the offensive line to go with their bona fide quarterback and one of the best rushers in football (who is also a credible threat as a receiver). There isn't a lot to speak of where the wideouts are concerned, but Olson is still a phenomenal tight end and Devin Hester can still run fast enough to make teams sweat (if the Devin Hester experiment fails with Cutler at QB, we have no one to blame but Devin Hester). Call me crazy, but I like the Bears' chances.

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