yod wrote:Atlanta is mediocre and Green Bay is not going to be 2nd or 3rd in their division
San Fran will be tough for Seattle and could easily go all the way.
People count Brady out every year because of losses of personel for the Patriots. He just keeps figuring out how to win, so I wouldn't bet against him. Probably the best ever. That ass-kicking he gave the Texans shook them so hard that they've never recovered, and probably never will.
New Orleans looks like the scary sleeper this year. Sean Peyton is ticked about being suspended for a year and looking for revenge.
There is no way Atlanta is just mediocre... Last year, Atlanta went 13-3... which shared for the best record in the entire NFL. They Added Stephen Jackson at running back and lost no one from their league's most threatening passing attack (TWO receivers with over 1200 yards last year). They clearly have a top five offense. That is being conservative.
They play in a climate-controlled dome with one of the most consistent kickers in the game... and trust me, I'm a Green Bay fan... having a good kicker DOES matter. Picking up Osi Umenyiora was huge for their Defense going into this year.
Atlanta's 2012 Point Differential (The number of points a team scores against the number of points a team gives up) is PLUS 120. There are only two teams in the NFC with a higher ratio: San Francisco (Plus 124) and Seattle (Plus 167)... this stat is one that cannot be ignored.
Even with N.O. coming back this year a bit... there is no way they can catch the Falcons for the division title. I see N.O. getting in as a Wild Card.
Green Bay will definitely win their division...
Detroit has once again slipped into the darkness as The Team the NFC North Forgot. In a way, it's really too bad. Even though they are a division rival, I actually kinda feel for Detroit. They are like the Chicago Cubs of the NFL.
Minnesota has the best rushing attack in the NFL. The suffered a bit of a blow losing their probowl fullback for the first few games of the season... but you know how Adrian Peterson is... he will dominate no matter what. The real problem that Minnesota has is their QB, Christian Ponder. Until he can actually take a step out of AverageTown, no one will respect their passing game. I find it kinda funny how Greg Jennings was talking so much trash about Aaron Rodgers this past offseason. Just wait until Ponder drops back and start throwing Jennings those awful looking ducks and we'll see what Jennings thinks of Rodgers -- NFL's most accurate passer with a better TD to INT ratio and QB rating than all other QBs in the league the past two years --
Which only leaves Chicago... but before Chicago, let me finish with Rodgers.
In the last two years, there has been no one better than Rodgers.
In 2012, he had a QB Rating of 108.0... the next closest was Peyton Manning with a QB Rating of 105.2 -- the difference? Rodgers threw two more TDs than Peyton while throwing three FEWER picks than Manning. Tom Brady? He had the league's sixth best QB Rating... behind Rodgers, Manning, RGIII, Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan. Good, but certainly not the best.
Now we go back to Aaron Rodgers' HISTORICAL 2011 season. His QB Rating that year? 122.5!!! Which, yes... goes down as the highest in NFL history. The next closest was Drew Brees who finished at 110.6 -- a 12 point gap. Rodgers threw a staggering 45 TDs to only SIX INTs. Racked up over 4,500 passing yards -- in only 15 games that season. The Packers sat him the final regular season game against Detroit to prepare for playoffs.
Tom Brady's 2011... very good, but nowhere near Rodgers. His QB Rating was 105.6 -- 17 points lower than Rodgers. He threw for 39 TDs (six fewer) and had 12 passed INT'd (twice as many as Rodgers).
Now you look at Green Bay's Receiving situation... sure, we lost Greg Jennings... but he missed eight games last year, so he wasn't much of a favor to begin with. We still have Randall Cobb (just shy of 1000 yards receiving last year), Jordy Nelson (over 700 yards) and James Jones (also over 700 yards receiving).
This year, Brady has an entirely new receiving corp. If Gronkowski can start the season (Which he will not, he will probably miss at least the first few games), then he will be the only familiar face. Otherwise, Brady comes into this year losing over 70 percent of his receiving production from last year. That is an INSANE number.
Here is who Brady lost:
TE Aaron Hernandez, TE Kellen Winslow, WR Wes Welker, WR Brandon Lloyd, WR Donte Stallworth, RB Danny Woodhead.
Another thing Rodgers does better than Brady is rushing the ball. Make no mistake, they are both Pocket QBs, but when on the move, it's rather clear Rodgers dominates this category as well.
Last year, Brady rushed 23 times for a total of 32 yards -- a 1.4 yard average. The same year, Aaron Rodgers rushed 54 times for a total of 259 yards -- a 4.8 yard per carry average.
So... now that you can clearly see Brady is far from the best QB around, onto Chicago.
Green Bay will win the NFC North because Chicago just doesn't have what it takes on Offense to get it done. The NFL has become a high flying, penalty-ridden league which only helps Offenses. However, there are a few teams out there that can still make Super Bowl runs with the help of Elite Defenses. Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, Baltimore... they all have great Defenses. There is no doubting that Chicago's D is still potent, even after losing Brian Urlacher to retirement... but one thing seperates all the teams I just listed with the Bears. Something special on Offense.
I don't care how amazing your D is, you still need to put up points. Denver has Manning and his three wideouts Thomas, Welker and Decker. San Francisco has Kaepernick who was electrifying as a QB last year. Seattle has the one-two punch of Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch and Baltimore has Ray Rice, who still needs to be respected.
Who does Chicago have? Jay Cutler? Really? As a Packer fan, I absolutely love Jay Cutler... because you know that when he is on the field, something incredibly dumb is going to happen. He lacks any kind of leadership and chokes when the pressure is on. I hope to God they give him a contract extension. Brandon Marshall was a big add for Chicago, but when that is Jay Cutler's only target every game, it is rather obvious on who to double team in coverage all day.
I see the NFC North as this:
1. Green Bay ( 11-5 )
2. Minnesota ( 9-7 )
3. Chicago ( 8-8 )
4. Detroit ( 6-10 )