No doubt in my mind, the NFC North is the best division in the NFL in 2012. You’ve got the Packers, Bears, Lions and Vikings. Three of these four teams are high powered and could find their way deep into the postseason.
Today, we take a look at these four teams, how this division is going to play out, and what team, if any, is going to get into the postseason as a wild card.
1. Chicago Bears (12-4) – If healthy, the Bears are the best team in the NFC entering 2012, but we all know how that can play out. Last season this team started hot, then lost QB Jay Cutler, and RB Matt Forte for the season. A year later, they are back, and the Bears are ready to roar once again. Chicago needs to get off to a fast start, and they have a week two matchup in Green Bay which is big. Cutler is going to have a Pro Bowl season, and with new WR Brandon Marshall, this team is going to be dangerous.
2. * Green Bay (11-5) – The Pack lost just one regular season game a season ago, but were still off their game and were knocked out of the playoffs by a more prepared Giants team. The team lost Joe Philbin to the Dolphins, but still have their biggest weapon in Aaron Rodgers, the MVP from a season ago. This team is going to still be one of the best in the NFC, but I think they will take a small step backwards, and find themselves having to fight through the playoffs on the road.
3. Detroit (10-6) – It was a playoff year for the Lions in 2011, but this year is a different story, as no one is going to fall asleep on this team. Detroit is another team that can’t afford injuries, and they already have it in their secondary as well as in the run game with Kevin Smith. Matt Stafford is a star if he can stay on the field, and Calvin Johnson is the best WR in the game today. Look for the Lions to still be good, just not good enough to crack the postseason.
4. Minnesota (4-12) – I don’t have any faith in what’s going on in the Twin Cities right now, and it will show with another LONG season for Leslie Frazier and the Vikings. Christian Ponder has a lot of work to do, the WR core has questions, and the run game with Adrian Peterson has questions with him coming off surgery. The defense is the real question, and if they can’t get better as the year goes along, they are going to have a tough time winning more than four games.