With the 2011 NFL season is a couple weeks from kicking off, the anticipation is growing. Especially after being away from football for so long due to the lockout, I’m sure fans around the league can’t wait to get things rolling again.

In preparation of that, I’ve decided to start a season preview series discussing different aspects of each team in relation to their respective divisions.

So without further ado, let’s get started.

NFC North

The NFC North is, in my opinion, the most talented division in football from top to bottom. Remember that the Packers and Bears competed in the NFC Championship Game before the Packers ultimately won Super Bowl XLV. The Vikings are just one season removed from the NFC Championship Game, and even the Lions are making major strides in recent years. It’s one that’s always undergoing changes though, so what does it have in store for us this year?

4. Detroit Lions

Even though I commend the Lions for the vast improvement they’ve made since going 0-16 in 2008, they’re still not ready to compete in the daunting NFC North. The pieces are in place, but they’re too injury prone. Matthew Stafford has already missed 19 of his 32 games in the NFL and if he can’t stay healthy then it’ll set them back. And even though that defensive line led by Ndamukong Suh is going to do wonders, I still question their back seven.

3. Minnesota Vikings

It’s simple; the Vikings success this season lies in the arm of Donovan McNabb. If he rebounds from a disappointing stint with the Redskins then expect the Vikings to bounce back from their 6-10 campaign. Everything else is in place, so it’ll come down to whether or not he can get back to his Pro Bowl form.

2. Chicago Bears

Even though the Bears are coming off a 13-3 season, I barely have them ahead of the Vikings because I strongly doubt their offense. Matt Forte is reliable but he can’t make up for a passing game that made no effort to improve over the offseason. In fact, despite Jay Cutler’s pleads for a big target wide receiver they decided to allow tight end Greg Olsen to walk. And Roy Williams, who’s made a name for himself from inconsistency, isn’t exactly the answer either.

1. Green Bay Packers

The Packers are the defending Super Bowl champions, and return almost their entire team. Sure, Cullen Jenkins is now with the Philadelphia Eagles. But defensive coordinator Dom Capers knows how to plug and play, so I’m not too concerned. All in all, this is one of the most complete football teams in the NFL which makes them one of my early favorites for Super Bowl XLVI.


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