Blog Entry

NFC North and Playoff Predictions

Posted on: March 18, 2008 1:38 pm
 

Below are predictions based on the 2008 scheduled opponents for all NFC North teams. I'll start by ranking them in the division, their projected record and what games they should win and lose:

1. Packers (11-5 ) - Even with the loss of Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers should be able to lead (if not coast) with this team into the playoffs for their second straight divisional win. It will be close though. The team has a solid foundation but like just about everyother team in this division, it will come down to QB play.

Wins against the Bears in GB, Vikings in GB, Lions in DET, Lions in GB, Falcons in GB, Panthers in GB, Texans in GB, Cowboys in GB, Saints in NO, Buccaneers in TB, and Titans in TN.

Losses to Bears in CHI, Vikings in MN, Seahawks in SEA, Jaguars in JAX, and Colts in GB.

 

2. Vikings (10-6)  - They could easily push for the division. Adrian Peterson will have to do as much as he did last year, but he will need to stay healthy in order to get the Vikes into the playoffs. Again though, Tarvaris Jackson needs to show that he has made progress or the Vikes will be completely one dimensional. I project them to go 4-2 in the division which puts them ahead of the Bears in the division depsite the same record.

Wins against Bears at MN, Lions at MN, Lions at DET, Packers in MN, 49ers in MN, Falcons in MN, Panthers in MN, Titans in TN, Cardinals in AZ, and Buccaneers in TB.

Losses to Bears in CHI, Packers in GB, Jaguars in JAX, Saints in NO, Giants in MN, Colts in MN, and Texans in MN.

3. Bears (10 - 6) - The Bears have a slightly easier schedule then the Vikes or Pack. QB play is definately an issue here though, that hopefully will be determined by training camp be it Rex Grossman or Kyle Orton. The major boost will be the fact that the Bears will finally be healthy on defense. That in and of itself should make them competitive once again. Getting Lance Briggs back was huge, but they still need an OT, OG, and RB on offense.

Wins against Lions in CHI, Packers in CHI, Vikings in CHI, Saints in CHI, Eagles in CHI, Buccaneers in CHI, Titans in CHI, Falcons in ATL, Panthers in CAR, and Rams in STL.

Losses to the Colts in IND, Jaguars in CHI, Texans in HOU, Packers in GB, Vikings in MN and Lions in DET.

 

4. Lions (9-7) - Was Mike Martz the problem in DET? I don't think so. I think it was more along the lines of Jon Kitna getting sacked 50 times last year and not actually having the protection any QB needs in order to be succesful. I think they, like the Bears need offensive line help badly and they'll get it in the draft. The problem is their defense will not be able to keep them in a couple of games which will cost them a shot at the playoffs despite a winning record.

Wins against Bucanneers in DET, Bears in DET, Redskins in DET, Saints in DET, Falcons in ATL, Panthers in CAR, Rams in STL, 49ers in SF, and Titans in DET.

 Losses to Bears in CHI, Vikings and Packers home and away, Texans in HOU, and Colts in IND.

 

Playoff Seeds:

1. Cowboys

2. Packers

3. Saints

4. Seahawks

5. Vikings

6. Bears

WC Weekend -

Bears over Saints

Vikings over Seahawks

Divisional Round

Cowboys over Bears

Packers over Vikings

Cowboys over Packers

 

NFC Champions - Cowboys (as much as I hate them).

 

I see the NFC North being very, very competitive this year.

Category: NFL
Comments

Since: Apr 19, 2008
Posted on: April 19, 2008 11:51 pm
 

NFC North and Playoff Predictions

For the most part I agree with your predictions but I would only make a of couple changes. I would change two of the Bear's losses to wins, Houston and Green Bay. I would have the Bears sweep Green Bay since somehow for the past two years even when they should have lost for some reason they managed to sweep the Green Bay Packers. The Bears would have to completely fall apart for Houston to beet the Bears; I don't see how they could possibly lose. But other than that your predictions are dead on.



Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: April 1, 2008 10:04 am
 

NFC North and Playoff Predictions

Look at why those teams didn't make the playoffs... injuries.  Why the other teams did... healthy for the most part.  Main cogs did.  So Giants main Cogs stay healthy... NFC got weaker they will make the playoffs... and their schedule is easier then it was then last year...



Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: April 1, 2008 10:02 am
 

NFC North and Playoff Predictions

1. Cowboys

2. Packers

3. Saints

4. Seahawks

5. Vikings

6. Bears

The thing I have an issue with is the Packers a number 2 with a record of 11-5.... I don't see it.  At all.  Cowboys sure I can see a number 1... I can see the Vikings in.... of course they got a legit 1 WR... but 3 teams from the North... no way.  They aren't turning into the NFC East... 2 yeah.  Vikings/Packers can replace the Skins... Bears I don't know they lost Berrian (they say he is replaceable) but lost Moose too... they can't lose ANY WEAPONS! Barring any major injuries (which I see you aren't banking on) Giants and Cowboys are a lock for the playoffs...  Packers should be too with that talent.  Thats 3 right there... Hawks should be too have the players from last year.  So that leaves 1 spot for teams that "improved" Vikings, 49ers, Eagles (Donovan fully healthy) Rams Bulger healthy.  Now I discount any NFC South team because they will only send one team.  Who knows who that will be... I am banking the favorites out of the 1spot will be Eagles and Vikings.  49ers got a young faster WR then Jackson was and  Lawson is healthy but have more QB issues then any of the teams and offensive line Rams seem like a great pick but Offensive line is dismal without Pace with Pace aren't dominant so still issues with those two teams why I pick Eagles and Vikings as the 2 favorites for the last spot...  Can Donovan do it without a legit WR another year? Unless they draft a great rookie WR...




Since: Sep 21, 2006
Posted on: April 1, 2008 9:37 am
 

NFC North and Playoff Predictions

It very well could happen. Look at the pat history of the Super Bowl winners. Besides the Colts and Patriots, I don't think that many teams make it back to the playoffs. Look at the Steelers, Bucaneers, Ravens, and Rams (against the Titans), recently all have not made the playoffs after having won the Super Bowl. Plus the NFC East is always uber-competitive and the chance does exist that they won't make the playoffs.



Since: Jan 25, 2008
Posted on: March 31, 2008 6:32 am
 

NFC North and Playoff Predictions

Great post Jiggadhu

I've always believed that it was plausible to go 10-6. A lot of the other Bears fans have written what I wanted to say so I won't rant

Theres just one issue i have with it; do you really see the Giants missing the playoffs?



Since: Sep 20, 2006
Posted on: March 26, 2008 8:20 am
 

NFC North and Playoff Predictions

Pretty good, but The Seahawks would beat the Vikings at home in the playoffs for sure.

But otherwise, good job!




Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: March 20, 2008 11:05 pm
 

NFC North and Playoff Predictions

One more point, I really think the Giants or Eagles will take the other wild card spot and not a team from the NFC North. I know you're a secondary fan of the Patriots, but don't doubt the Giants talent because they man-handled the Patriots offensive line (Haha! Just kidding Jiggadhu!). Also, the Eagles have taken big strides in free agency (mainly Asante Samuel), and if Brian Westbrook and Donovan McNabb are healthy, LOOK OUT!!!



Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: March 20, 2008 10:59 pm
 

NFC North and Playoff Predictions

Excellent work as always Jiggahu. I liked the win/loss predictions for each game. However, I think you're being a little too generous to the NFC North. I really doubt all teams will be above .500. I think two teams at the most will be over 9 wins, and the Lions might not even break 8 wins. They might even regress because of their aging QB and terrible offensive line. Also, their defense is not taking any major strides either. The Packers might still dominate the division. They remind me of the 2005 Bears. I can see them winning strictly on defense and running the ball with Ryan Grant. The Vikings have themselves a pretty good team too. Tarvaris Jackson is question mark, but their run defense and the combination of Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor look dominant enough for them to stick around. As far as the Bears go, I honestly don't know yet. If they don't get help at offensive line or running back (which they probably will), they'll only have a puncher's chance in my book.



Since: Sep 15, 2007
Posted on: March 20, 2008 2:11 pm
 

NFC North and Playoff Predictions

jiggadhu

Nice post. As always I respect your opinion and I believe you represent the Bears fans well. However, we all do have our own opinions and I feel it's not out of line to voice mine. I'm basically going to stick to the North and I doubt I will make any predictions.

Vikings: It's no secret to anyone that if the Vikings are to make the next step they need to get better and more consistent play from TJack. Signing Berrian was an improvement to the receiving corps but alone it won't be enough to back the 8th man out of the box. The team also needs to see improved play from Sidney Rice and Bobby Wade. Last year the Vikings receivers had problems gaining seperation. Whether it was from poor route running or poorly designed plays is unknown, but either way it has to improve. If the passing game shows any hint of consistency the Vikings offense should flourish.

The Vikings running game will be successful again because of the offensive line, H-back, and overall scheme. Adrian Peterson is an amazing back but not enough credit is given to the men that do the dirty work. Remember, in 06' Chester Taylor was able to run for a respectable 1200 yds after missing time during the season. The offense doesn't begin and end with AP. It's the offensive line.

The run defense that has been #1 in the league for 2 years has a chance to be even better. The center is anchored by the Williams boys and the linebackers are an unheralded but very productive group. Chad Greenway will be in his second year as a starter and EJ Henderson is back at middle linebacker where he is most comfortable. Both linebackers were in the top 25 in the league last year and along with Ben Leber (5 sacks in 07') they make plays.

The achilles heel for the Vikings is the pass defense. Everyone wants to point fingers at the secondary but, I don't believe there's a DB in the league that can cover receivers for 6-7 seconds. The pass defensive struggles are a result of not being able to pressure QB's with the front 4. As you know the cover 2 depends on pressure and safetys playing their positions correctly. Again, Madieu is an upgrade but not a fix. With Udeze being diagnosed with leukemia and James inability to stay healthy, the team must address the DE position either through free agency or the draft.

Bears: The strength of the Bears again will be their defense and special teams. Particularily the LB's and defensive line. Resigning Briggs long term was good for the team but the health concerns surrounding Urlacher might be cause for some concern. I would still expect this group to perform very well. The defensive line will be back healthy and this is the area that did the most damage to the defense last year. The substitute D-Linemen weren't able to keep the opposing O-linemen off the linebackers and also didn't create pressure.

The defensive backfield of the Bears is above average but not spectacular. Tillman and Vasher are good corners but, playing the cover 2, they are playing zones instead of men. When Mike Brown is hurt the safety's or the defense as a whole don't seem to play as well. Don't get me wrong, this is still a strength for the team.

Special teams....Hester....nuff said

The offensive unit of the Bears needs help. It all starts with the line because everything else suffers if the line doesn't perform. Is Cedric Benson the answer at running back? We won't know until someone opens a hole for him. The WR corps took a big hit by losing both of last years starters. They have talented young guys, but a lack of experience and hardly any rapport with the QB's is bound to make for some growing pains. However, I don't believe there's a more talented set of TE's in the league and this will take some pressure off the offense as a whole.

I won't get into the Orton-Grossman debate because you already know I'm not a Grossman fan. The reason they brought him back was because he know's the system and provides a security blanket while they are grooming whomever they draft. In the end, they will start Orton, and Grossman will teach the rookie the offense.

The gut feeling I have for Chicago is that, if they don't improve their offense, the defense will end up on the field too much and may lead to the same kind of injury situation they had last year.

Green Bay: The loss of Favre will have a profound effect on this team. They had a good year, but you have to remember that it was one of Favre's BEST years. Expecting a virtual rookie to come in and perform anywhere near that level is thinking optimistically to say the least. Yes, he was tutored by Favre and he had the opportunity to learn the system, but nothing can replace experience. I suspect he will have many of the growing pains that every young QB has.

The running game is back in GB thanks to a good offensive line and the emergence of Ryan Grant. Much the same as Minnesota, if Rodgers is able to keep defenses honest, the offense in GB should be fine. I doubt it will be the same lavel as last year, but they should score points.

The defense is much like Chicago and Minnesota in that they have a solid D-Line and good linebackers. The aggressive style of play they use with their corners was somewhat exposed against the Giants. There has been much talk about Atari Bigby. He is a hard hitting safety that likes to play near the line. The downfall of safeties that play like this is their inability to get back in coverage (see Roy Williams) and their tendency to bite on play action. The bigger receivers in the division will be able to exploit the corners if their team is able to run.

IMO Green Bay will be competetive. I don't believe they will dominate the division let alone the conference.

Detroit: This team also needs help at the offensive line. Kitna is easily the best QB in the division just by his consistency. The problem is they're peeling him off the turf every 3 times he drops back. Poor O-Line equals poor run game. Poor run game equals bumping WR's at the line and meeting at the QB. I do believe it's that simple. Fix the O-Line in Detroit and look out.

The lions defensive line needs help and they need a middle linebacker. Ernie Sims is a monster but he can't tackle everyone. The Lions have made some noise in free agency in upgrading their defensive backfield and I believe it will pay dividends immediatly. This unit was so poor last year they have nowhere to look but up and I think that's the direction they'll be heading.

I'm glad our division is playing the AFC south this year because we can use those quality teams as a barometer for where our division is. I'd even go as far as to say I think we'll be successful against the south because of our defensive abilities.

Pushover team: Atlanta....With the first pick of the 2009 draft........

Beware (a) Carolina..Remember the last time Steve Smith and Mushin Muhammed played with a healthy Jake Delhomme?

Beware (b) Titans...teams that play good defense and are able to run tend to hang around.

Beware (c) Saints...They can score...alot

PS  If your team doesn't win 10 this year they're not in the NFC playoffs (whoever your team is)




Since: Mar 17, 2008
Posted on: March 19, 2008 3:54 pm
 

NFC North and Playoff Predictions

I like your pick of the Packers record, except I think Dallas will beat GB at Lambeau and GB will win in JAX.  I also Minn, Chi, and Det will be one game worse than what you select.  Seedings are OK, but NY will be decent again this year, Philadelphia will be improved, and I wouldn't sleep on Arizona, not to mention the loser of the TB/NO battle.  There are potentially 7 decent teams competing for those two spots.  Hopefully your NFC Champion pick comes true.


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