There's a possibility that this division could produce three playoff teams, although, if I were to eliminate a team, it would be the Bears. Brandon Marshall has been reunited with Jay Cutler but how happy does that make you? The Packers have tweaked that awful defense last year, while The Lions will have to adjust as the hunted rather than the hunted. Minnesota? They have nice unis. Records and division finish in parenthesis.
Bears (8-8 third place): Brandon Marshall and Cutler Reunion: Winners? When they were teammates in Denver for two years, Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler combined for 206 catches, 2590, and 13 touchdowns. In Chicago, where free agent receivers (e.g. Marty Booker, Mushin Muhammed) have arrived and offered a glimmer of hope only to fizzle shortly after, Marshall is the latest arrival to help the Bears in coach Lovie Smith's final year on his contract. Whether that can be replicated in The Windy City will determine the fate of this team in what could be argued is the best division in the NFL. How much do Urlacher, Briggs,Tillman, and Peppers have left? All four players are on the other side of 30 and have been the identity of this team for the last several years. Age is already showing itself with Urlacher who has been slowed during the off season with a knee injury. A productive season from this foursome could lead to a possible dethroning of Division Champ Green Bay
Packers (12-4 first place): Giants in their head? A home playoff loss to the Giants removed any good feelings of a 15-1 regular season for the 2010 Super Bowl Champs. Green Bay was exposed in the worst was for example: The O-Line, running game,and the lack of getting the opposing teams offense off the field on third down. Aaron Rogers and his plethora of WR's will lead the way,and new addition Cedric Benson has been brought in to give the team some (enough?) balance.
How bad was this defense last year? Last in passing yards allowed. 27th in passing touchdowns allowed. 27th in sacks. 26th in 3rd down percentage allowed. Notice a trend? This must change if The Pack want to return to the Super Bowl.
Lions (9-7 second place): Off season carryover? With an off season of arrests and the releasing of several players, several are wondering if the Lions can capitalize on their first playoff appearance since 1999. Who's their starting RB? Jhavid Best. Stefan Logan. Kevin Smith. That three headed monster combined for a whopping 778 yards and 6 TD's. Even in this 5,000 passing yard NFL, you need a at least more than 6 COMBINED TD's from three running backs to have success. Who's Calvin Johnson's "John Taylor"? Megatron's greatness is undeniable, the most gifted, physical, and dynamic receiver in the NFL right now, but even he cant catch ALL of Matt Stafford's throws. Brandon Pettigrew, Titus Young, Nate Burleson, need to adopt the roles of Starscream, Demolisher, Devastator, and Barricade if the Lions are to be any good in 2012.
Minnesota (5-11 fourth place): The $96 million knee? While I specified the aforementioned Megatron as the most physical and gifted RECEIVER in the NFL, A.D. may be that regardless of position. This explains his Usain Bolt like recovery from a torn MCL and ACL. While his status for the opener on September 9 is in question, the fact that he will be listed a probable is miraculous enough for a team devoid of great talent and a young QB.
Ponder Second year progress A surprising pick at number twelve, Ponder took over early in the season for The Corpse Known as Donovan McNabb, and proceeded to throw for a very rookie like 13 TD's and 13 interceptions while only completing 54.3% of his passes. Pecry "Migraine" Harvin returns but promising rookie Greg Childs was lost for the season with a knee injury. Jerome "smoke sumn" Simpson joins the team to 'spice" up the receiver corps.
Born in Dayton, Ohio but raised in Dallas. D.A. is no pushover