NFC North Midseason Report

15 11 2008

Thanks to Sportable

Thanks to Sportable

This is a weird division where the all the teams have some strengths that are overriden by major flaws. Three teams are within one game of the division lead and the other team could play spoiler at some point in the season. Let’s break it down.

Chicago Bears ( 5 – 4 )

This team was inconsistent when Kyle Orton was the starter and healthy. Now that Rex Grossman will get a few more snaps under center. the team has become even more inconsistent. The vaunted defense has been blowing late leads or giving more points that it is accustomed to. Matt Forte and the running game can’t seem to run off consecutive 100-yard games and you have Rex Grossman as your quarterback. They had am impressive win at Indy, but haven’t really looked impressive since. 41 points against the Vikings, a really late comeback against the Lions. I don’t really know where this team stands. If they want to make the playoffs, they are going to have to get running game going, Kyle Orton (my pick for comeback player of the year) has to get healthy and the defense needs to be more consistent. Keep the late lead and prevent others teams from getting leads. Devin Hester is overrated and has been a non factor this season and only adds to the mediocrity of the receiving corps.

Rest of the Season: I have them going 4-3 to finish the season at 9 – 7. They should split with Green Bay, beat Jacksonville, New Orleans & St. Louis while losing to the Vikings & Texans.

Playoffs?: Here we go, another 9 – 7 team, the 4th so far. It going to come down to key tiebreakers such as head-to-head, division records and conference records. It all depends of who else is 9-7 and where they fall in. Beware, 9 – 7 could win this division allowing them to bypass the tiebreaker system.

Minnesota Vikings ( 5 – 4 )

Let’s put my hatred for Bard Childress aside in the name of objectivity. This is the most inconsistent of the NFC North teams. They have the 2nd best running back in the league in Adrian Peterson, but he can’t carry to whole team on his shoulder every game. Or, can he? The passing game is atrocious. Whether it’s Tavaris Jackson of Gus Frerotte, this team cannot throw the ball. They have good receivers in Bernard Berrian (when healthy), Bobby Wade, Sindey Rice and a decent tight end in Vishanthe Shiancoe. The left side of the line is good, especially when Bryant McKinnie passes drug tests. The run defense is amongst the best in the league. At least until the Williamses get suspended. The pass defense is shaky, but when they cause a turnover, they usually score. special teams are horrendous. They’ve given up four touchdowns this season, including 2 to Reggie Bush on that Monday night game they had no business winning. This team doesn’t play to win, they play to not lose and this has cost them some games.

Rest of the Season: Because I can never get a good read on this team, a lot of this going by my gut instinct, which is usually good. I see the Vikings going 3 – 4 the rest of the way. I have them beating the Buccaneers, Bears and Giants and losing to the Lions (they almost did the first time), Jaguars, Falcons and Cardinals, all teams who have decent passing games and adequate running games. They’ll finish the season at 8 – 8, again.

Playoffs:?  Not until Brad Childress is fired and they get themselves a quarterback.

Green Bay Packers ( 4 – 5 )

This team has a good passing game, but there are issues all over. They haven’t been able to establish a running game with Ryan Grant. The secondary is porous, part of which is due to the Al Harris injury. the linebackers are inconsistent and the defensive line can’t seem to get to the quarterback or stop the run. Adrian Peterson has two big games against them. This is another one of those inconsistent teams. Beat the living snot out of the Colts and then lose to the Vikings. Win 2, Lose 3, Win 2, Lose 2. This is what the inability to run does for you. Rodgers is a good quarterback with good receivers in Jennings, Driver & Lee. But when teams consistently drop 7 and 8 back, you’re going to struggle.

Rest of the Season: I like them to go 4 – 3 the rest of the way. A split against Chicago and wins against Houston, Jacksonville & Detroit combined with losses against Carolina & New Orleans will put them an underachieving 8 – 8 for the season.

Playoffs:The only way the Packers make the playoffs is if they sweep the Bears. This would put them at 9 – 7 and they’d own the tiebreakers over the Bears & Vikings.

Detroit Lions ( 0 – 9 )

Where did the offense go? Where was it when they had Jon Kitna? This is a team with good offensive talent. The defense is terrible, but this is no reason to go 0-9. Dautne Culpepper is a good quarterback for these receivers, but he needs time to adapt to the offense. The only team worse than Detroit is Oakland. Too bad they aren’t playing each other this season.

Rest of the Season:They won’t go winless. They play the Vikings. It will be the only game the win. They’ll be 1 -15 and have the first pick of the draft.

Playoffs Yeah right!!!

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