Who Will Go Forth in the AFC/NFC North?

Flags!AFC

1) Ravens

With the off-season addition of Anquan Boldin from the Cardinals, the Ravens have acquired exactly what they lacked in previous seasons. Now many critics are claiming that the young quarterback Joe Flacco will improve the most this season. And with an excellent defense and running game supporting the star, the Ravens should win the division. The only question mark is the secondary which already lost a starting corner for the season and also lost Ed Reed for half as well. 

2) Steelers

No Roethlisberger will hurt the former Super Bowl champs the first six weeks of the season and the offensive line is even more questionable with the loss of Colon for the year. Polamolu is healthy as of now, but that will likely change by the midway point of the season. Still they have the league’s best D coordinator and that should land them a wildcard spot in the playoffs.

3) Bengals

One of the most hyped teams in the league will fall on their face due to a mediocre defense and overrated offense. T.O. was a nice addition, but has become prone to dropping the big pass in the last few years. Ocho Cinco usually disappears in the big games as well and Carson Palmer is always one big hit away from finishing the season on the disabled list. 

4) Browns

The Browns have the bad luck of playing in a very tough division and with Jake Delhomme as the likely starter it appears that the team is still rebuilding. The running game and defense are underrated and finished last season strong, but Holmgren is highly overrated as a GM. Look at where the Seahawks are currently at.

NFC

1) Vikings

Brett has one year left in him despite the early woes and although the team’s two best targets are injured, I still think the running game and remaining receiving corps will get the job done. Add in the fact that they have an excellent defense and the league’s best pass rusher and Minnesota will survive yet another season with the indecisive Wrangler man leading the team.

2) Packers

One of the most explosive passing attacks in the league, Aaron Rodgers will probably outperform Favre this season in stats, but the defense is a bit too well aged with Charles Woodson still swatting away passes. Their 3-4 switch last year was questionable considering their current personell and their offensive line is still mediocre at best. But Rodgers needs to gain a quicker trigger finger for the Packers to have a shot of going all the way. 

3) Bears

The addition of Mike Martz was an interesting one this off-season, but will it mean that Cutler is more controlled or could the former Bronco throw 30 to 40 INT’s due to the pass friendly offensive coordinator? Forte is the forgotten man of the offense and the receiving corps is still one of the league’s worst in the league. The defense is excellent at stopping the run, but provides no pass defense. Too bad Cutler can’t play against his own defense then.

4) Lions

The Lions are actually steadily improving and are no longer the worst team in the NFL. Stafford could provide that spark that they need this season and the running game is decent with a plethora of solid options. The defense isn’t too shabby either, but still needs significant improvement to remove this team from the bottom of the division. 

Creative Commons License photo credit: Paul Kehrer

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