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.
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.
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.
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.
WC Weekend -
Bears over Saints
Vikings over Seahawks
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.