NFC North 2009 Preview
1. Minnesota Vikings 10-6 #3 seed
Key Additions: Sage Rosenfels
Key Losses: Matt Birk, Darren Sharper, Gus Frerotte
Key Draft Picks: Percy Harvin, Phil Lodholdt
Overview: Adrian Peterson should have been the MVP of the league last season but got robbed by Peyton Manning and the voters. This year he should be out for vengeance. With an improved Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback the Vikings are considered by many a Super Bowl candidate. If Brad Childress can call plays like he did in the final 2 regular season games the Vikings should be primed for a run to the Super Bowl, but Childress will be the weak link for the Vikings this season. They’ll still make the playoffs but Childress and his bad play calling will prevent them going far.
2. Green Bay Packers 8-8
Key Losses: Colin Cole
Key Draft Picks: B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews
Overview: Aaron Rodgers calmly led the Packers to a 4-3 record to start the 2008 season but the defense quickly let him down and Green Bay lost seven of their last nine to finish at just 6-10. The additions of B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews to a defensive front 7 will help the Packers and if the rookies can play key roles Green Bay could finish at 10-6 and win the division. Other than the defense the big question mark is which backfield will show up, the Ryan Grant of 2007 or the Ryan Grant of 2008? I know Mike McCarthy will be hoping for the former.
3. Chicago Bears 7-9
Key Additions: Jay Cutler, Orlando Pace
Key Losses: Kyle Orton, John Tait, John St. Clair
Key Draft Picks:
Overview: Last year the offense and the defense were both a disappointment in the team’s fifth season under Lovie Smith. Expect more of the same this season. Adding Jay Cutler at quarterback doesn’t fix the most glaring weakness on offense last year: receivers. Devin Hester is not a #1 WR and 99.9% of people that aren’t Bears fans couldn’t name the Bears’ 2nd WR (Rashied Davis). The defense should be improved with Mike Brown and a healthier Brian Urlacher but the lack of consistent receivers will be the Achilles heel for the second year in a row.
4. Detroit Lions 5-11
Key Additions: Grady Jackson, Jon Jansen, Maurice Morris, Ronald Curry
Key Losses: Leigh Bodden, Shaun Cody, Cory Redding, Jon Kitna
Key Draft Picks: Matthew Stafford, Brandon Pettirew, Louis Delmas
Overview: The good news for the Lions in 2009? Things can’t get any worse than they were in 2008. The lack of a true #1 QB will plague the offense this year but hopefully the offense will be struggling with Matthew Stafford at QB. Calvin Johnson aka Megatron may show he is the best WR in the league this season if he can repeat his performance from last year with zero consistency from the quarterback position. The defense should be improved with a defensive minded coach in Jim Schwartz. The defensive line has been completely revamped and hopefully won’t spend as much time on the field as they did last year with the Lions anemic offense. The Lions will get a few wins this year, but don’t expect much more than that.