No Sleep Till Football

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2016 NFC NORTH PREVIEW & PREDICTIONS

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 Computer Hope Predicted # of Wins: 11-13. The Packers managed to get to the divisional round last year with absolutely no receiving corps. Jordy Nelson was out for the entire year. Randall Cobb never looked healthy. TE Richard Rodgers was getting his first meaningful snaps as a professional receiver. Eddie Lacy was a mess outside of good games against the Cowboys & Bears. Green Bay finished 15th in points scored. It’s useful to note that in 2014 when Nelson & Cobb were 100% & Lacy was playing well, the Packers led the NFL in points scored averaging 30.4PPG & losing in OT in the NFC Championship game. Nelson is healthy again & Lacy apparently is in shape. I’d expect more 2014 Packers than 2015’s version. Defensively the Packers should get better with Clay Matthews moving back to OLB to pair with Julius Peppers. It now gives GB a couple of Pro Bowl level pass rushers. Drafting Blake Martinez to take over inside was a solid move. The Packers also have the excellent Mike Daniels at one DE spot & Letroyo Guion takes over for BJ Raji at NT. The secondary should be more than good enough setting up the Packers for an excellent season. They were 10-6 last year & the offense alone gives them 1-2 more wins.
#2 Computer Hope Predicted # of Wins: 11-12. The Vikings aren’t a great offensive team. They are going to ride Adrian Peterson as far as AD will take them and that’s not a bad strategy given how good the Vikings are becoming on offense. It’s the ground & pound attack that Kansas City uses & what Tennessee hopes to use to win games. That being said, it is intersting to see how the Vikings are trying to add to Teddy Bridgewater’s arsenal. Stefon Diggs had a solid rookie season & I like Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings added in Laquan Treadwell through the draft & I think he’ll be a very good possession receiver. They need to run to set up some play action & hopefully avoid Bridgewater taking heat. The O-Line looks razor thin. Defensively the Vikings are outstanding with ELITE level players at every level of the defense in Linval Joseph, Anthony Barr & Harrison Smith. I thought it criminal that Mackenzie Alexander fell to them in the draft giving them an outstanding nickle corner with loads of potential in subpackages. There isn’t really a weakness here but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Mike Zimmer led squad. Zimmer is the best coach in the NFL not named Belichick. I think Minnesota keeps on winning their way.
#3 Computer Hope Predicted # of Wins: 7-9. The Bears didn’t have a great offense last year but I think that could change quickly in 2016. Adam Gase is gone but the Bears promoted QB coach Dowell Loggains to OC so there is continuity for Jay Cutler. Getting a healthy Kevin White to pair with Alshon Jeffery is also a huge upgrade at receiver. Getting a healthy Eddie Royal is also important. Zach Miller was good last year making the loss of Martellus Bennett, who was a bad fit, not seem like a big deal. Chicago retooled their offensive line by signing Bobbie Massie which allows Kyle Long to kick back inside & they drafted Cody Whitehair who is an immediate starter. The loss of Matt Forte could be big but Chicago is hoping that Jeremy Langford, Ka’Deem Carey & possibly rookie Jordan Howard can fill the void. Defensively I love Vic Fangio at DC. In 2014 the Bears ranked 31st in scoring defense & in his first year he was able to improve the Bears D to ranking 20th! Signing Danny Trevathan & Jerrell Freeman as ILBs was great. I like Eddie Goldman up front with Akiem Hicks. I wish Pernell McPhee wasn’t hurt & the secondary could stand to get better, but the D will improve. Chicago is a sneaky good dark horse team in the North.
#4 Computer Hope Predicted # of Wins: 5-7. Last year Matt Stafford threw fewer passes than he’s ever done so since becoming the full time starter in Detroit & he made significant gains in his completion percentage and his TD ratio. Stafford was like a man possessed during Detroit’s last 8 games completing 70% of his passes with a 19:2 TD:INT ratio. The Lions responded by going 6-2! There has never been a talent question when it comes to Stafford, but if he can realize that talent then Detroit takes on a different persona. I really like the Lions offensive players. I like Abdullah & Riddick as RBs. I really like that they went out and grabbed Marvin Jones & Anquan Boldin. I like TJ Jones. I think Eric Ebron has upside. The O-line is TERRIBLE but Detroit recognized that & drafted Taylor Decker, Joe Dahl & Graham Glasgow. I’m really rooting for these guys. Defensively, it’s a solid group with an ELITE player in Darius Slay at CB. I love the draft pick of A’Shawn Washington. The secondary is a bit thin after Slay but this is a fairly solid group and I think they’ll improve now that they are in year 2 of playing without Ndamukong Suh. I have them taking a step back, but it feels like this might be a consolidation year before 2017.
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August 23, 2016 - Posted by | Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, NFC, NFC North, NFL, Predictions, Previews

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