NFC North

Posted: 01/08/2012 by levcohen in Football

The NFC North had 2 playoff teams, and also a very bad one. Here it is:

Green Bay Packers, 15-1: This is the best team in the NFL. They won the Superbowl last year, and promptly started this year with 13 straight years. They did lose a game to the Raiders, but ended the season with two wins. It all starts with Aaron Rodgers. He is expected to win the MVP award, and for good reason. He completed 68% of his passes, and threw for 4650 yards and 45 touchdowns. The latter two would doubtless had been more if the Packers hadn’t decided to sit Rodgers in the last game to avoid injury. At RB, the Packers had two mediocre rushers, James Starks and Ryan Grant. They combined for 1100 yards, but neither cracked the 600 mark. The Packers have a good WR core, led by the talented Greg Jennings, who got injured late in the year. Jordy Nelson led the team with over 1250 yards receiving, and Jennings added 950. Those two and Jermichael Finley combined for 32 scores. On defense, the Packers weren’t stellar, but they have some big names, led by Charles Woodson (7 picks), and Clay Matthews (6 sacks). If Jennings hadn’t gotten hurt, the Packers would have definitely been the Superbowl favorite. But Rodgers has plenty of other talent to throw to, and this team is very dangerous.

Detroit Lions, 10-6: Motor City finally has a good football team! Led by Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, they had a great passing attack. Stafford threw for over 5000 yards to go along with 41 scores. While he had some shaky games in the middle of the season, he is a lead comeback player of the year award candidate. Jahvid Best was on his way to a great season, but he suffered a serious concussion and missed half of the season as the RB. Kevin Smith took over as the RB, and he did well, averaging 4.9 yards per carry. Calvin Johnson has the best skill set of any wide receiver in the league. He went for nearly 1700 yards (led the league), and added 16 TD’s, which also led the league in TD’s by a WR. The Lions have two very solid TE’s in Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Sheffler, and backing up Johnson at WR they have Nate Burleson, who has shown some skill, and Titus Young, the rookie out of Boise State. Stephen Tulloch and DeAndre Levy were key cogs at LB, both recording 100+ tackles.

Chicago Bears, 8-8: The Bears started the year 7-3, but then injuries struck, as they lost their two best offensive players in Matt Forte and Jay Cutler. Cutler put up a respectable 86 passer rating before going down. He threw for 2300 yards (216 a game), and 13 scores. Backup Caleb Hanie had an atrocious 42 passer rating. Matt Forte was having a great year, running for 1000 yards and getting 500 more through the air before he got injured in the 12th game of the year. None of the Bears WR were consistent, but there were some flashes of talent. Johnny Knox led the receivers with 727 yards, and also showed the best talent. The Bears have always been good defensively, and this year was no different, at least in the run defense. They allowed fewer than 100 yards rushing a game, and were led by two key LB’s in Lance Briggs (105 tackles) and Brian Urlacher (102 tackles and 3 INT’s). They had a suspect secondary, but it had some moments, led by Charles Timmons and Tim Jennings. Before collapsing, the Bears were on route to a playoff bid. Now, they have to wait another year. They need a better O-Line to protect Cutler, and they need to draft some WR talent and an LB, to learn from Urlacher and eventually take over for him or Briggs.

Minnesota Vikings, 3-13: The Vikings were awful, and next year also looks grim. Christian Ponder was a rookie, and it showed. He had flashes of brilliance, but ended with fairly pedestrian numbers. He will get better next year, and will become a solid QB. Adrian Peterson is the team. He ran for nearly 1000 yards, but got injured. See a trend here? Peterson’s injury was gruesome, and he is unlikely to be ready to play at the start of next season, as he tore his MCL and ACL. At WR, the Vikings have Percy Harvin, who is electrifying and racked up nearly 1000 yards. After him, there was almost no production. Defensively, the Vikings were decent, led by Chad Greenway who had 154 tackles, and Jared Allen, who had 22 sacks, falling half a sack short of Michael Strahan’s record. The Vikings are in rebuilding mode, and they need a WR.

Fantasy player of the day (Friday)

Kobe Bryant, LAL SG:

Kobe had a great game on Friday, scoring 39 points. He added 7 assists and 4 rebounds, and didn’t have a horrible FG%, at 13-28. He hit a 3, and went 12-14 from the line.

Bowl Prediction:
Northern Illinois- 34, Arkansas State- 31

A NOTE: So far, I am 7-2 on bowl predictions. My highlights are very close scores on the Rose Bowl and Fiesta.

NFL Playoff Prediction:

Falcons- 27, Giants-  17

Steelers- 23, Broncos- 20

Results of Saturday games:

Saints- 45, Lions- 28

Texans- 31, Bengals- 10

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