2013 NFL Preseason Predictions: NFC North (Trifone)
Here are my 2013 NFC North preseason predictions with final-year records:
1. Green Bay Packers (schedule): 12-4
The Packers remain the team to beat in the NFC North. When you have the best quarterback in the game today, you’re going to be in just about every game. Randall Cobb had a tremendous year, catching 80 passes for a shade under 1,000 yards. Green Bay went 11-5 last year, although I think that we all remember the Seattle game that was stolen from them. So, I think a 12-4 season, mirroring what last year should have been, is on the horizon.
2. Detroit Lions (schedule): 9-7
The Lions were one of the most unbalanced teams last year, ranking second in the league in passing and only 23rd running the ball. Reggie Bush should help out with that, and more importantly, serve as a solid option for screens and short passes that act similarly to runs. Whether they’re actually running the ball better or not, Bush should give defenses something other than Calvin Johnson to worry about. I think the Lions have a bounce-back year and could be in the mix for the playoffs.
3. Chicago Bears (schedule): 6-10
The Bears had a dreadful run at the end of last season, losing five out of six games, before winning their last two against Arizona and Detroit and missed the playoffs despite a 7-1 start. I don’t have particular conviction as to why I’m picking the Bears to slip, but the NFC is getting tougher and tougher. I believe that the Bears are simply a victim of other teams improving more than they did. I see a lot of losable games on their schedule vs. Cincinnati, @ Pittsburgh, vs. New Orleans, vs. the Giants, @ St. Louis, and vs. Dallas, and those are all in addition to the division games.
4. Minnesota Vikings (schedule): 4-12
The Vikings were one of the better stories of the season last year, making the playoffs at 10-6 when virtually no one gave them a chance. Adrian Peterson confirmed his super-human status, having the best year of his career after coming back much sooner than expected from a torn ACL. I’d like to root for them to have the same kind of success this year, but I just feel that they overachieved last year. While they have some talent, I just can’t put them back in the playoff mix this year.
All of our contributors will make their division and Super Bowl picks and we will track those on this centralized predictions page.