2011 NFC North Season Preview

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by Andrew Coughlin

An initial look at the 2011 NFC North on paper and you wouldn't exactly think "tough" division, but let's take a closer look at the teams that make up the NFC North.

2010 saw two teams from the North represent the NFC Championship Game in the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. Ask fans around the country and they would probably tell you that the Packers got hot, got lucky and went on a rare run to win the Super Bowl although they may not have been the best overall team last year. Ask Packer fans about the Bears appearance in the NFC Championship Game and they would probably say they didn't belong and had an easy road to get there.

Whatever the case, the fact remains that two NFC North teams did make it to that game and one NFC North team won the Super Bowl. Both teams are quality clubs and they should be the top two teams vying for the division title again this year.

And don't be fooled by the teams you see "on paper". The NFC North will again possess very competitive teams in the 2011 NFL season.

The Detroit Lions, bottom feeders for over a decade, have drafted very well the past few seasons and have pointed their ship in the right direction. Last season they stole two games from within the division and I think they could steal two or possibly three games in the division again this year.

I wouldn't count out the Minnesota Vikings either. Their defense, although a bit older, is still very tough. If the offensive line can keep Donovan McNabb upright, he's a very intelligent QB, has the receiving weapons and will pick defenses apart if he gets the time. And don't forget that they have, in my opinion, the best RB in the league in Adrian Peterson.

The bottom line is the NFC North will be good this year, perhaps the hardest division to play in this season. Apart from the South, I cannot see a tougher division than the North in the NFC. These four teams will be beating up on each other when they meet so expect great, grind'em-out games when you watch.

This week and next, I will review each team in the order I think they will finish in the division; starting with who I think will finish last and ending with the team I think will win the division title.

And I know I am cheating since week one has come and gone, so I am sorry for that.

Check back in at http://www.cbs58.com, go to the blogs tab and scroll down to The Sports Pagoda. In the next couple of days I will be posting for: NFC North Review.

Please feel free to post or email me with any comments or opinions at acoughlin@cbs58.com. But remember, keep it classy Milwaukee.

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