Will Green Bay go 16-0?
Can Chicago keep it together enough to challenge Green Bay?
Can Detroit keep it's team out of jail?
Will the Vikings improve?
An overview of each team heading into 2012.
Green Bay Packers (2011 15-1, 2012 prediction 14-2)
Green Bay went 15-1 last season, while they may not repeat that feat in 2012 the opportunity is there with a fairly weak schedule and what can only be an improved defense.
While many questions are swirling around that defensive unit, rightfully so after finishing dead last in yards allowed last season, a bigger question looms at left tackle.
For the first time in more than a decade the left tackle position will be manned by someone not named Mark Tauscher or Chad Clifton.
That someone will be Marshall Newhouse, who showed flashes of brilliance but more often struggled in 2011 after a Clifton injury and then retirement. If Aaron Rodgers goes down it will not matter how much the defense improves.
The lone regular season loss shows the importance of protecting Rodgers. Rodgers wasn't hurt in the game but he was hit hard on the first play of the game. He appeared very nervous and off for the remainder of the contest. He finished the game with season lows of 235 yards, one touchdown, and an 80.1 quarterback rating.
Keep Rodgers upright and healthy, and 16-0 as well as a Super Bowl run is very possible. Don't do that and something more like 8-8 is reasonable.
Chicago Bears (2011 8-8, 2012 prediction 10-6)
Before Jay Cutler was lost for the season the Bears were 7-3, then they lost five of the remaining six with Caleb Henne, missing the playoffs.
Chicago added much needed firepower at wide receiver signing Brandon Marshall and drafting Alshon Jeffery.
The question for Chicago is all mental. Cutler's demeanor has been questioned in the past. Marshall's issues have been well-documented. Jeffery slid all the way to the No. 45 pick in the 2012 Draft. The guy clearly has first-round NFL talent but dropped because of his attitude and conduct.
That is just three players on a team that has many other trouble players. If the Bears can work cohesively they have the potential to go deep into the playoffs. If they can't they will implode, and while providing lots of media fodder will also look foolish.
Detroit Lions (2011 10-6, 2012 prediction 8-8)
Speaking of mental problems, Detroit has so many issues with players there isn't room to list them all. In 2011, overwhelming play by Matthew Stafford, who managed to stay healthy for a full season, and a defense that finished 10th in points allowed, propelled them to the playoffs.
This season presents a much tougher schedule, a very probable drop off in production from Stafford, an underwhelming draft, and a team that may very well end up playing in the MPL (Michigan Penitentiary League) as the NFL and Detroit fans may be in for heartache in 2012.
The MPL is totally made up, but the issues, legal and otherwise, are not. If those issues are kept under wraps, Jahvid Best returns, and Stafford plays out of his mind again in 2012, then Detroit will be a team to fear.
Minnesota Vikings (2011 3-13, 2012 prediction 3-13)
Minnesota stunk last season. Will they stink in 2012? Yes.
Only St. Louis allowed more than the 28.1 points per game the Vikings allowed last season.
The offense was 28th in passing yards but 4th in rushing yards.
Unless you are a Vikings fan or play fantasy football there isn't much to see here. Let's be honest even then there isn't much to see here. The secondary is in shambles, the wide receivers are possibly the worst in the NFL, and the offensive line is questionable despite adding first-round pick Matt Khalil.
On the positive side, the Vikes have the best running back in football, albeit coming off major knee surgery. They also have Percy Harvin and a decent group at linebackers and defensive linemen.
The building blocks are there, but the rest of the pyramid above the base is pretty awful. It doesn't help they are playing the above three teams twice a year. They get a weak schedule in 2012 which may help improve the 3-13, but I don't find it very likely. With the No. 1 pick of the 2013 Draft, the Minnesota Vikings select...
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