I expect there to be football next season. There is too much money to lose if no agreement is reached. With that in mind, it is time to look into next season and predict what teams will reach the NFL Playoffs. In this article, I will cover the NFC North, which is one of the most talented divisions in the league (if not the most talented right now, it will be in two years). The Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears were the teams who represented the NFC in the Championship game this year. Both are from the NFC North. The Minnesota Vikings were a disappointment but have huge amounts of talent and ability. The Detroit Lions are building a great team right now, and I fully expect them to be in the playoff hunt in two years. All four of these teams could battle for a playoff spot until the end in 2012 or 2013. Here are my predictions for the 2011/2012 season.
Green Bay Packers:12-4:The best way to start this article has to be to talk about the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. The Packers have a young Pro Bowl manning with ridiculous skills. They have a great running game. Many people forget that they have a superstar running back in Ryan Grant (who was injured all year). They also have Brandon Jackson, John Kuhn, and James Starks. They have the best receiving corps in the league. They have a great kicker and a great punter. To top it all off they have one of the best defenses in the league. Former Defensive Player Of The Year Charles Woodson and Pro Bowler Truman Williams are two of the best corners in the league. Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk are two of the best linebackers in the game and B.J. Raji is probably the third best defensive tackle in the league (behind Ngati and Suh). The Packers coaching staff is also superb.
Chicago Bears:9-7:The Bears are a secretly good team. They never get credit, yet always surprise with wins. Many people talk about their “luck” last season, and although they may have received some promising opportunities last season, they were a good football team. The addition of Julius Peppers and play of Jay Cutler propelled this team to the NFC Championship game. I expect the Bears to be good next season, but I don’t see them making the playoffs due to the toughness of the division.
Minnesota Vikings:8-8: The Vikings are one of the most talented teams in the league. I don’t think anyone would argue with that. The only problem is they don’t have a leader at the most important position on the team. Without a quarterback, a great team can go to waste. Adrian Peterson is one of the best running backs in the league. The defense is solid and the coaching is good now that Leslie Frazier has taken over. This team has Super Bowl potential, but first they must get an experienced talented quarterback to take over. Until then, Vikings fans can get used to being disappointed.
Detroit Lions:7-9:The Lions are a team on the rise. After years of suffering, they have finally built a team worth watching. If quarterback Matt Stafford can stay healthy, this team can make a playoff push. They have a great quarterback in Stafford, good running backs, good tight ends, a good offensive line, and a Hall of Fame receiver in Calvin Johnson. They also have built good defense, led by Defensive Rookie Of The Year Ndamukong Suh. Suh has changed the face of the franchise. This team is also promising because of the head coach. Jim Schwartz has done a great job with this team and will continue to do so in the future.