2013 NFL Preseason Predictions: NFC North (Beazley)
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Here are my 2013 NFC North preseason predictions:
1. Green Bay Packers (schedule): 10-6
The Packers will win the division again this year, but I believe the rest of the pack is catching up to them.
The Packers were dealt a devastating blow earlier this summer when arguably their best offensive linemen Bryan Bulaga injured his ACL. Aaron Rodgers is probably the best QB on the move in the NFL in terms to throwing the ball, but you got to really be concerned over that O-Line. The key to the Packers offense this year will be with their rookie RBs Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin. If they able to produce and keep defenses honest, then the Packers should have no trouble being one of the top-scoring teams in the NFL. The Packers will need to score 24-plus points per game on a weekly basis if they are going to win regularly.
The problem with the Packers is when they either face a great defense like San Francisco, or another high-powered offense like Atlanta/New Orleans, they could struggle because their defense is so bad. They did add DE Datone Jones in the draft to help with the pass rush, but I think they are 1-2 players away on defense to get back to the Super Bowl.
2. Detroit Lions (schedule): 9-7
The rest of the division is slowly creeping up on the Packers. The Lions are a team I really like heading into this season.
Their offense in particular is going to be scary good this season with the addition of Reggie Bush. Bush is the perfect fit for this type of offense, and is someone I would definitely target in PPR drafts. Calvin Johnson almost had 2,000 yards receiving last year, and as crazy as it sounds, I think he has an even better year this season especially in the touchdown department.
The Lions added Ziggy Ansah in the draft and he has already paid dividends with a pick-six against the Jets. The Lions D-Line is definitely one of the most explosive in the NFL this season. The Lions lost a lot of close games last year, but I think they are on the other side of the coin this season.
3. Chicago Bears (schedule): 8-8
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is in a make-or-break season this year. Some may question his heart and toughness, but one thing that's for sure is that he has an unbelievable arm. I like Brandon Marshall to lead the NFL in receptions this year, and the 1-2 punch of Matt Forte and Michael Bush should provide a solid running game.
The Bears defense will look a little different without Brian Urlacher back there this season. I think the Bears regress just a little this season, and lose a couple of close games, which in end will cost them a playoff berth.
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4. Minnesota Vikings (schedule): 4-12
The Vikings are the Rodney Dangerfield team in the NFL. They have the best running back in the world in Adrian Peterson, plus
they made the playoffs last season, but everyone is predicting a huge drop off from the Vikings. I am one of those as well.
No running back in NFL history has had back-to-back 2,000 yard seasons, and nobody has been even close to doing it. It is also very unlikely for a RB to repeat as the top fantasy RB. With all of these things pointing against AP and an unproven Christian Ponder behind center, I just don't have any faith in the Vikings this season.
All of our contributors will make their division and Super Bowl picks and we will track those on this centralized predictions page.