This division already has a clear favorite to win, but the runner-up could go to anyone. The division standings of the NFC North is more based on the schedules rather than the teams their selves; to an extent. Here are my predictions of who will win the division this year (weakest chance to strongest).
Marc Trestman have led the Montreal Alouettes to win back-to-back championships in the CFL, but the NFL is on a higher pedigree. They are going to rely on many players who weren’t there last year to-not only play-make a great impact on their team. Their defense isn’t going to be the same now that Brian Urlacher’s presence and leadership skills aren’t there anymore; and Julius Peppers is only getting older. A young player is going to have to step up. Jay Cutler hasn’t showed his greatness since the 2008 season, so I don’t expect him to carry the team on his back. The only chance they have to make the playoffs is if their offensive line sync together….and if Brandon Marshall racks up another 1,500 yards receiving.
I have never seen Christian Ponder as an above average QB. Though, it may not be ALL his fault with no proven number one receiver (Percy Harvin played slot). Because of that, the opposing defenses are going to have their eyes set on Adrian Peterson. I think the Vikings are going to do a lot of quick and screen passing, if they’re not handing it off to A.P., and that will become real predictable. Defenses will flood the line against them, with no true deep threat.
Their problem is mainly on defense. In 2012 the Lions had seven games where they scored twenty points, or more, but still ended up losing. Gunther Cunningham is going to have a lot of work to do with his defense to tighten up its holes. They brought in a lot of young players through the draft and free agency hoping to find some value. If Ndamukong Suh does mature into a leader of the locker room I expect their front seven to do some damage on the line of scrimmage. The Lions do need to find a number two receiver to relieve some stress from Calvin Johnson and give their offense a bit more room. I can see Reggie Bush being a solid RB.
With no surprise, the Packers are my top pick to win the NFC North. They are one of the most proven NFL teams currently and have made the playoffs consecutively. With the addition of Eddie Lacy, Aaron Rodgers won’t have to throw the ball most of the plays. However, like every team in the NFC North, their defense could use some improvements. Last season, the average points per game was 21….three touchdowns a game. A true Super Bowl contender can’t have that in their conscious. Defenses win championships.