NFC North Division Preview 2014
In preparation for the upcoming 2014 NFL season, Just A Guy has put together a team-by-team run down of every division. Today we highlight the NFC South, which includes the Bears, Lions, Packers, and Vikings.
2013 was a reverse on how historically the Bears as a franchise do things. High caliber offense with a terrible defense. 2014 has the potential for them to have an even better offense with the hopes that the defense is average at minimum. The “Quarterback Whisperer can turn any quarterback into a statistical monster. Many Bears fans hate on Jay Cutler, but one thing is they can’t deny he has the ability to be great. His decision making at times can be questionable. He has arguably the best WR duo in the league with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey. Now add in a line that can block, a great RB in Matt Forte and Bennett across the middle. This has the making to be a scary good offense.
Defense is where the work was done, especially the D-line that was terrible last year. Jared Allen and Lamaar Houston were added to bolster the line. Ego Feeguson and Will Sutton were drafted to clog up the running lanes. The linebackers should be improved this year. The leader Lance Briggs returns with some help in DJ Williams(back from torn pectoral), hopefully Shea McClellin being moved to the strong side helps out his play and Jon Bostic has the chance to prove himself in his sophomore year. The secondary is the weak spot for this D. Charles Tillman is aging but still good and he is paired up with Tim Jennings who is coming into his own as a shut down corner. Some bad news: Chris Conte isn’t gone. Ryan Mundy and Brock Vereen will be the safeties for the Bears, they are nothing spectacular, but I think it’s an improvement. I think the Bears have a wildcard spot when it’s all said and done. They may not have enough to take down the Packers & Lions, but if they did it wouldn’t be a huge surprise. – Chris
The Detroit Lions will have to do some serious work this season to make up for last season’s destruction. After having the division all but wrapped up, the Lions couldn’t manage a win and missed out on a playoff spot in one of the division’s worst years. Matt Stafford will be able to throw to Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, coming over from Seattle. Reggie Bush will be counted on to provide a spark out of the backfield. Defensively, the secondary is still fairly weak and the team did little to address it in the offseason. All told though, the Lions may be in a good spot. Jim Caldwell was brought in to instill some discipline that the team has sorely been lacking. The talent is still there for this team to beat anyone in the division. It won’t be easy, but the team has potential, and need to show it before more changes have to be made.– Steve
Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy came on strong in his rookie year and provided a big pick me up while quarterback Aaron Rodgers was nursing a injury. A healthy Rodgers will be throwing to Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson but no longer James Jones, who headed to the Raiders. There’s a position battle at tight end that seems pretty wide open after Jermichael Finley was let go, regardless of who it is they’ll have a career year with Rodgers at the helm.
The loss of B.J. Raji for the year will leave a large gap in the middle of the d-line, which could make the linebackers job a bit harder. A.J. Hawk led the defense in tackles while man-child Clay Matthews was injured. The Julius Peppers signing will be interesting to watch as he’ll shift from defensive end to play outside linebacker in their 3-4 scheme. First round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix should see some playing time and end up starting by the end of year, which will round out a nice defensive backfield including Sam Shields, Tramon Williams and Morgan Burnett. If this defense can provide pressure on the quarterback, they should be pretty formidable. – Ryan
Phenom Adrian Peterson is 29 this year. The beginning of the end may be near, although you’d never think about using those words in regards to him. Father time always wins in the end though. However, at this moment, he is still a top three back until proven otherwise. The Vikings drafted Teddy Bridgewater, thought to be a number one overall pick this time last year. Bridgewater gets Norv Turner as his coordinator, and inherits veteran Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph, (recently extended favorably) and second year man Cordarrelle Patterson, who’s preseason hype is through the roof. Much is expected of this young man this year, perhaps too much. On defense, they lose Jared Allen, but their youngsters gain another year of experience, as they look to keep up in the NFC North. – Frank