Will Farve lead the Vikings back to the NFC Championship where he will audible every running play into a pass, deteriorate in front of millions of viewers by throwing 8 interceptions in a 25+ point loss, or will Tavaris Jackson jump-bounce pass 10 yard outs and lead opponents to put 10 in the box to counter Adrian Peterson? Calling the NFC North is difficult.
1. Minnesota Vikings (13-3)
Assuming Brett Fav-eh-ruh returns, the Vikings offense should remain dynamic because of Peterson, Harvin and Co at the skill positions. They might have addressed their primary weakness, pass defense, with their first pick, UVA CB Chris Cook. The Vikings get extra points for using a first day draft pick on a WRB (white running back), Stanford's Toby Gerhart. Whether or not he'll be able to run over linebackers in the NFL, like he did in the Pac-10 remains to be seen, but DBSF believes the Viking's WRB experiment will end with two years of special teams detail followed by a career coaching running backs back at Stanford.
2. Green Bay Packers (10-6)
Ryan Grant bounced back lat last season, which is promising for the Packers. In 2009, the Pack gave up the 6th fewest points per game, and the fewest rushing yards per game in the league but the defense looked inconsistent in its 5 losses where it gave up over 30 points in each game. Further, the NFC North is lined up with the NFC East, not the NFC West like last year, which should equate to one less win.
3. Chicago Bears (8-8)
The Bears added Julius Peppers to a solid Defense (mid to lower middle in the league in points and yards allowed per game), which theoretically should push the Bears' defense up a tier. DBSF says 'theoretically' because that is assuming Peppers plays every game. But, after the Bears exhibited rather questionable financial perspicacity in giving the 30 year old Peppers a 6-year $90+ million deal (over $40M guaranteed) DBSF expects phantom ankle and shoulder injuries to afflict Peppers throughout the season to the degree that he plays no more than 10 games, 7 of which are at full effort and "health". Another problem for the Bears--Jay Cutler. Last year he threw 26 interceptions. DBSF has some advice for Jay this season. Open your eyes when you throw the ball.
4. Detroit Lions (5-11)
The LA Clippers haven't had a team this good since Danny Manning was putting up 20+ a game in the early 90's. Although Al-Farouq Aminu was a questionable pick, with Blake Griffin returning from micro fracture surgery to join Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, and Eric Gordon DBSF could see the Clippers exhibit astronomical improvements and win as many as 35% of their games this season . . . wait, wait . . . Lions? Detroi . . ? Oh, oh yes. Mathew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Ndamukong Suh, sure sure. 3-13, 5-11, whatever. Does it really matter?