Five things to look for in the NFC north this season.
With the start of training camp less than two months away and yes I see the season starting on time, I've come up with five things to look for in the NFC north in the 2011 season.
( # 1) rookies from this years draft will have Little or no impact on this coming season. Unless the players cave in to owners demands over the next fews day and not wait for the judges ruling on the legality of the lockout ( which could take up to three weeks ) coaches will have very little time to work theses guys into their game plans. This is really to bad considering Chicago and Minnesota drafted for instant needs. Trying to input rookies into the starting lineup is bad enough with a full session of off season workouts and mini camps, the lockout has all but destroyed any chance for rookies to get the needed reps or time with coaches to be much help this year.
( # 2 ) The Super bowl champ's Green Bay Packers as scary as it might sound are going to be a better team this season. This team's make up is just that good. From top to bottom they have the best team in the NFC north and the motivation of knowing they finish second in their division last season. I think if the rest of the NFC think there might be a Super bowl hangover attached to this team, they will be sadly mistaken. You will see a more balance offense with James Stark and Ryan Grant running the football which will open up an already potent passing game. And with Jermichael Finley coming back from injury the Packers will be a very hard team to stop offensively. The Packers defense speak for it's-self even with an aging Charles Woodson the Packers have the best defense in the NFC north and a lot of young players who will get nothing but better.
( # 3 ) The Chicago Bears will take a huge step backwards next season. The Bears have the look of a team that will self-implode in 2011.Their failure to fully to stay out in front of the Jay Cutler situation might be their un-doing. It's hard to believe a team that just won 11 games and the NFL north may be the team in the NFC to take the biggest fall. There is a serious chemistry problem in Chicago from the front office to the assistant trainer on the sideline. You need to answer three questions on the Bear's going into next season to get a feel for the team you might see. Do you trust the quarterback, the coaching staff, or the front office, if you answer no to any of theses questions expect a long season in chi-town.
( # 4 ) The Detroit lions will be the second best team in the NFC north but will not make the playoffs in 2011. The lions have the most interesting team in the NFC this coming season. In my opinion they have a better over all team than the Bear's or Viking's even if Matthew Stafford didn't play a down this season. The lion put up the second most points scored in the division without Stafford playing for almost a whole season. They have a very good receiving core, a good running game and one of the best d-lines in football. What's missing with the lions is a history of winning, it's one thing to win when no one expect's it, however it's another thing to win when teams will be waiting for you. Look for the lion to have growing pains this coming season, their secret out, they have a good young team.
( # 5 ) The Minnesota Vikings will sign a veteran quarterback to help mentor rookies QB Christian Ponder. With a new stadium on the line and needing fan support to make it happen the Viking can ill afford going into the 2011 season with a rookie quarterback and no chance of winning. The Viking will struggle this coming season, no QB, an aging defense, and a huge Brett Favre hangover will be very hard for them to overcome. The term starting over is very hard to do will be the theme of the Viking 2011 season. Minnesota has the look of a last place team for the foreseeable future and Viking fans can only hope the their quarterback situation is handle properly or this could lead to a decade of heartache for them.
Brought to by: AJ Jones from Cambridge
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