Green Bay Packers – The first thing I wonder is how does a team that continually drafts late every round build a team of superstars on offense? How does every other team miss on the Cobbs/Nelsons/Lacys/Rodgers etc? The Pack are loaded on Offense with every player coming back. The D has had changes, especially in the back end, but they drafted to meet those needs. The Pack just needs the D to be mid talented (which they are) and their O to be virtually unstoppable and watch the results pore in. They have a tough schedule but like the Ravens, they know how to give as good as they get. If they get inspired D they could win 12 games. If they D gets pushed about they might only win 10. I split the difference. This team goes 11-5 and is at least one of the top 3 in the NFC with a shot at Super Bowl 50.
Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings finally have a franchise QB for the first time in recent memory and an all pro child beater (not to mention Running back) plus depth of varying degrees of talent at WR and TE. The Vikes O line has already took a hit with their RT going down for the season in the pre-season. Their 3rd round OL pick must step up immediately. The D under Zimmer greatly improved in the first year and should only get better with the excellent talent taken in the 1st and 2nd round of the draft. Like every team in this division, they face a tough schedule. There are a few spots they can take advantage of and I think if the O is dynamic and the D stalwart the Vikes could win 10 games. If the O line can’t protect Teddy then they might struggle to reach 8-8. I pick mid point here too. 9-7. That will give them a very outside chance at a Wild Card but this team is looking and trending upwards for their new stadium in 2016.
Detroit Lions – The Lions were a picked up flag from being in the Divisional round of the playoffs for the first time in at least this century. The loss of Suh is significant but my prevailing opinion is that he is about two on-field misconducts away from a season long suspension and that is a when not an if. To task Ngata and a kid to help replace the production on the D line is not a bad option. The Lions still have a decent D line, a solid LB corps and a growing solid secondary. This is a D that can influence a game. Stafford needs to continue to tighten up his passing game. Megatron is still elite but aging gracefully. Ebron needs a healthy sophomore season to give Stafford more options. Golden Tate is the younger star on this receiving corps. They have Joique Bell and draftee Ameer Abdullah to give them a great RB combo finally. Their special teams is a problem and they need consistency from both FG and Punts and some semblance of effective play on both coverage and returns. This could still be an issue. The Lions are strong but their schedule is brutal. They will be pushed almost every week up to their bye and if they can end 4-4 at the half that will be an accomplishment. Pulling off another 4-4 post bye against a second half schedule that is also brutal will be a win for them. If they can play lights out and Stafford can dominate with the passing game and the special teams do the job – they could win 11. I don’t see that against this schedule so I think 8-8 is the result for a team better than that record.
Chicago Bears – The bringing in of a new regime at Head Coach and GM bodes well for a franchise that has struggled for nearly a decade. Fox should be able to bring success to the Windy City but it doesn’t appear it will be in 2015. The loss of 1st round pick WR Kevin White for at least the first 6 if not the whole 16 games is a big hit. Having Jay Cutler still at QB is a millstone to success of the team. They are switching to the 3-4 D (they drafted Goldman to play NT) and this kind of switch usually creates growing pains. The Bears have 3 ok WR (Jeffrey is a star with health and a good QB), a durable if aging RB and a talented is prissy TE and they have 2/5 of a pro bowl line. They get to play their own improving division and they get to play the NFC West. Yeah. Here is their deal. If all goes really well they will be 7-9. If things go badly they might be 3-13. I think my sad sack 2015 Bears will be 4-12.
There you have it, as always I appreciate any thoughts, comments, arguments or agreements!
MR N the BEARS Fan