Can the NFC North rebound this year?

Packernet followers know I have already picked the Packers to go 12-4 this year. The question is will that be enough to win a fourth straight division title? Last season the division was won by the Packers at 8-7-1. The Bears and Lions melted down when given a golden opportunity to overthrow the Packers who were without Aaron Rodgers for half the season.

But if I were placing a Super Bowl bet this year, it would be on one of the NFC North teams. The party out west is over. The Packers of 2013 were on their way to a special season when Rodgers went down. The Lions were on fire until Thanksgiving but completely fell apart after that and fired their coach. The Bears dealt with an injury to Jay Cutler and a porous defense but still had a chance to win the division with a win at home the last week of the season. We all know how that turned out. The Vikings sucked from start to finish.

This year, however is a different story. The Lions, who have wasted talented players for the last 20-some years might finally have a coach who can get the most out of them. I’m not 100 percent sold on Jim Caldwell, but he has to be better than the Schwartz. They have a ton of talent on offense and will certainly score some points. The defense is still a major question mark but less mistakes on offense will certainly help it.

The Vikings new coach is certainly an upgrade as well and they should be an improved team, especially if Teddy Bridgewater turns out to be the star offensive coordinator Norv Turner thinks he is. New head coach Mike Zimmer might actually be the best new hire in the division but the Vikings have the farthest to go.

The Packers biggest threat in the media’s eyes is Chicago. The Bears improved their terrible defense of 2013 mostly via free agency and have high hopes that first round draft pick Kyle Fuller can shore up a porous secondary. But mostly the Bears think they will have the best receivers, the best quarterback and the best running back in the league. If you don’t believe me then just ask Brandon Marshall.

I think the Bears could win ten games but in the heat of the battle Jay Cutler will be the same old Jay. He had a chance for glory last year after Rodgers hit Cobb but even after another long Devin Hester return he once again failed miserably. He had a great year when healthy but when the chips were down and his team really needs him, he choked. Same old Jay.

So with that said I think the Packers 12-4 record will win the division. I think the Lions will edge out the Bears for a wild-card spot. For the rest of the NFC I just have a hunch the Cardinals win the NFC West with the other wild-card coming from the Seattle or San Fran. I pick the Cowboys in the East, don’t ask me why, and my shocker is the Bucs in the South. Lovie Smith’s defense will create havoc for the Saints, Falcons and Panthers.

Bet on the Pack.

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