NFC North 2012 NFL Preview – FootballSaturday, September 1, 2012 22:24
2012 NFC North preview and predictions.
NFL 2012 Preview
Division Record: 36 – 28
The NFC North is the NFL division that has evolved the most in the last ten years.
Once “Black & Blue” featuring the most physical play in the league,but now the NFC North has become a division defined by four distinct styles of quarterback play.
- One superstar quarterback in Aaron Rogers.
- The strongest arm in the league belongs to Da Bears’ Jay Cutler–who also earns the title as the NFL’s “Most Enigmatic” signal caller.
- Is there a tougher, grittier quarterback than Detroit’s Matthew Stafford?
- Somehow, even after ranking in the cellar of quarterback stats, the Norseman’s sophmore QB, Christian Ponder, has drawn almost universal praise as one of the hardest working and most intelligent QBs in the NFL.
We agree with that assessment of Ponder–and call us crazy like a Wilf but we agree with the team owners, Ziggy and Mark Wilf, about the Vikes 2012 prospects.
2011 Record: 3 – 13
A 3 – 13 record usually spells GTFO for NFL coaches. Not only was Leslie Frazier retained, the Wilfs have not even given the third year coach any ultimatums for 2012.
Could the Wilf brothers be onto something? Consider, in 2012:
- The Vikings were legitimately blown out against the Cardinals, Packers, Bears and Saints–and lost a 10-point contest to the Falcons late.
- The remaining eleven games–the Vikes only won three–were decided by 6 points or less.
That tells me they aren’t as far away as people think; and, when compared to the other teams in the NFC North, Minnesota addressed its most glaring needs in the draft. They got stud tackle Ryan Kalil to keep Ponder upright, moved up to snag Notre Dame safety Harrison Smith late in the first, and took unpolished but speedy CB Josh Robinson in the third.
I don’t know if the Vikes have the collective experience to have a true breakout season and unseat the Packers as division champs, but I’m pretty sure that they will win more games than people believe they should.
The end result will be the return of the Black & Blue in 2012, which means the division is up for grabs.
Predicted Finish: 9 – 7
Major Story: Christian Ponder vaults himself into the Top Ten of NFL QBs.
2011 Record: 8 – 8
I just do not get some teams; Da Bears is one of ‘em. They’re sitting at Number 19 in the draft, coming off a year in which Jay Cutler has taken more hits than a marijuana addict and they pass on guards David Decastro and Reilly Reiff–and stud tackle Kevin Zeitler.
Instead of one of the three best offensive linemen in the draft, Chicago selects Boise State tweener defensive end Shea McCleelland. Yes, McCleelland could make the Bears front four great–but not great enough to protect Jay Cutler.
First, why go defense when your most glaring needs are to protect your forever banged around quarterback–and find him receivers to throw to?
Brandon Marshall fills the latter need, but look for Jay Cutler to be running for his life. If I’m wrong, the Bears defense might be good enough to make an adequate offense look great.
I’m never wrong…
Oh shut up!
Predicted Finish: 9 – 7
Major Story: Bears finish with top five defense. Jay Cutler watches too much of season from the sideline.
Green Bay Packers
2011 Record: 13 – 3
At least the Packers addressed their primary need–defense–with their first round pick, DE Nick Perry. Thing is, Perry is known to snooze on the field sometimes–he had a great combine–and too many of those guys have a more difficult time making an impact at the NFL level.
I had the Pack down to take Boise State RB Doug Martin because a 13 – 1 record built on weak division foes and a lame AFC West ends up with with that team getting jack-hammered at home by a 9 – 7 Wildcard team.
That’s why Packer fans and all of Wisconsin seem disappointed with a three-loss season. Of course, they believe Aaron Rogers insulates them from over-reaching in Round 1 and having the worst defense in the league.
Sooner or later, if a football team becomes too unbalanced, things don’t happen like they used to. The division is catching up to the Pack. Aaron Rogers might be good enough pull Green Bay back to the top…
Not this year.
Predicted Finish: 10 – 6
Major Story: Rogers falls out of the top five–but only to number 6.
2011 Record: 10 – 6
I have a man crush on Matthew Stafford.
I would want my son to be as tough as the Lions’ QB is. A couple years back he breaks his left shoulder after being sacked. When the coaches tried to pull him out of the game, he curses at them and proceeds to throw a touchdown pass.
Last year Stafford threw for over 5000 yards with an injury decimated backfield, a secondary that gave up too many passes and an immature boy named Suh. Stafford met every one of these challenges head-on and this year, his Lions will be finally be able to call themselves division champs.
Predicted Finish: 10 – 6
Major Story: The Lions win two playoff games for the first time in history.
Next Up: The NFC East
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