The NFC North is one of the most historic divisions in the entire NFL and has once again returned to a high level of competition. Last season featured the emergence of the Detroit Lions, not to mention the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers. Green Bay went on to win the division with an impressive record of 15-1 while Detroit earned a wild card spot and the franchise’s first playoff berth in recent memory. Three of the best players in the NFL play in this division and they are Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings, Calvin Johnson Jr. of the Detroit Lions and Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers; not to mention several other phenomenal players. Without further delay, here are the projections for the NFC North division in the 2012 NFL season.
4. Chicago Bears: projected record 7-9 (2-4 in division)
The Bears are coming off of an 8-8 season that was overall disappointing for Chicago fans. Though they greatly improved their receiving prowess by acquiring wide out Brandon Marshall in the off-season, there are several question marks surrounding the Bears. Furthermore, running back Matt Forte should return from his season ending injury suffered last year but whether or not he will be 100% will be vital to their success. Whether or not quarterback Jay Cutler can bounce back from a poor statistical year, (13 touchdowns, 7 interceptions) will most likely determine the Bears success in the 2012 season.
3. Minnesota Vikings: projected record 8-8 (3-3 in division)
The Vikings had a dismal season last year going 3-13 overall and winless in the division. However, this was in large part due to the quarterback position which is now Christian Ponder’s. The Vikings totaled the 4th highest rushing yards per game last season and looked to improve on that mark by using the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft on offensive tackle Matt Kalil. The Vikings will have a much better turn out this season; however will most likely still miss the Playoffs.
2. Detroit Lions: projected record 10-6 (3-3 in division)
The Detroit Lions have emerged from the deepest depths of the NFL to once again be a playoff contending team. A team that finished 4th in overall passing yards last season looked to lock down their biggest asset, wide receiver Calvin Johnson Jr., to a lengthy contract. They did just that, rewarding the huge athlete for a season that featured him grabbing 96 balls for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns; despite being double-teamed by defenders nearly every play. Look for Detroit to once again make the NFL Playoffs.
1. Green Bay Packers: projected record 13-3 (5-1 in division)
One season removed from being defending Super Bowl Champions, the Green Bay Packers had a disappointing finish to their remarkable 15-1 year. Losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants, the Packers have not dropped off at all, and in addition, acquired a steal in the 2012 NFL Draft by selecting defensive end Nick Perry out of USC. Perry impressed several scouts at the NFL Scouting Combine and also led a great USC defensive line last season in only his sophomore year. Green Bay should win the division and once again compete for the Vince Lombardi trophy in the 2012 NFL season.