Posted on: July 20, 2010 10:36 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2010 3:05 pm
The NFC North is the most storied division in all football. It has long been considered one of the best divisions until it saw a dip in playoff performance after the turn of the century. The NFC North is the oldest division in the NFL: a combined 303 years old (The Packers are 91 years old - founded in 1919; the Bears are 90 years old - founded in 1920; the Lions are 80 years old - founded in 1930; the Vikings are 49 years old - founded in 1961.); and these teams have been together as a division since 1967.
These teams have made 10 Super Bowl appearances (Packers, Vikings - 4; Bears - 2) and have 4 Super Bowl titles (Packers - 3; Bears - 1). Of the top 5 NFL teams with the highest winning percentage throughout its franchise history, three of them reside in the NFC North (Bears: .577; Packers: .558; Vikings: .555). For 6 years in a row (from the 1995 season through the 2000 season) one team from the NFC Central/North made an appearance in the NFC Championship game. After the 2000 season no NFC North team appeared in the NFC Championship game until the Bears made a Super Bowl run in the 2006 season.
Then a slow rise began to take place. The Bears went to the Super Bowl in 2006 and the Packers lost in overtime in the 2007 NFC Championship game. The division took the 2008 season to revamp their teams. In 2008 the Packers named a new starting QB in Aaron Rodgers and in 2009 the Vikings (Brett Favre), Bears (Jay Cutler), and Lions (Matthew Stafford) each named a new starting QB.With each team retooled at arguably the most important player on the team the division started to show life not just in one or two teams, but in all four. Although the Lions and Bears finished under .500 they showed some important steps. The Packers finished 11-5 and lost a tough one in the Wild Card round. The Vikings took their run all the way to an overtime loss in the NFC Championship game making that 3 appearances in the last 4 years in that game.
Now looking forward to the 2010 season the Packers and Vikings are heavy favorites to make deep playoff runs. You can safely predict that both the Packers and Vikings have a solid chance at making it to the second round of the playoffs. The Bears have a chance at being a Wild Card team, but you can be sure they will hover around the .500 mark by season's end. The Lions will be no push over either. With the weapons they have in Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson, and with Brandon Pettigrew and a revamped running attack the Lions will also be competitor (at least by their last 2 season's standards) winning 4-6 games.
Yes, the NFC North is back and you can bet these teams will make deep playoff appearances for year to come (yes, that even includes the Lions).
Posted on: July 20, 2010 10:35 pm
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Posted on: July 21, 2009 10:37 pm
I posted this on the Green Bay Packers Fanatics fan page, but thought for my first blog that I would post it here too. Feel free to comment.
As a die-hard Green Bay Packer fan, I love Brett Favre and what he did while he was our quarterback, but he is gone. I wish him the best whether he becomes a Viking or stays retired. Although, if he becomes a Viking it will leave a "bad taste" in the mouth as some of you have put it, he will always be a hero to true Packer fans everywhere. He took this team from nowhere to the favorite up and coming team in the '90s. Even during the years when the Pack finished below .500 they were always feared by opponents and never considered a weak opponent because of Brett Favre.
With that said I'd like to move on from Brett Favre talk (by the way EJ great article) and talk about our current starting quarterback Bret...I mean Aaron Rodgers (still getting use to that after 16 years) Although A-Rood had a great year statistically the team performed at a sub-par level last year. Although the Pack didn't make any major roster changes last year we forget about the major injuries they suffered throughout the year. That is what I consider to be the reason for the let down.
James Jones was bothered by a knee injury all year, Atari Bigby was limited to seven games with ankle and hamstring injuries, Nick Barnett was done for the season after nine games with a torn ACL, Cullen Jenkins was gone after playing in only the first four games, our center Scott Wells was troubled most of the season with a few different injuries, and, although it didn't cause him to miss any games, Ryan Grant was bothered by a hamstring injury most of the season.
With that said I don't believe it is a debate of whether Brett or Aaron would have been better for the team last year. Perhaps Brett would have made them better but ultimately I think they would have still come up short with those injuries plaguing them.
This year looks to be a promising year, though. All of those guys mentioned earlier are now healthy and ready to improve. Now Aaron Rodgers is being discussed as one of the top five QB's in the NFL and rightfully so I believe. With a stellar statistical year last year considering it was the first time he was a starter, he will definitely improve this year. He is our guy and I like him. He doesn't have the fun personality that Brett played with, but he does have the competiveness.
I was browsing around the internet trying to find someone else who was talking about Aaron Rodgers instead of Brett Favre and found this great article on yahoo sports.
"Most would consider there to be a big three with the quarterback position this year – Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. While I won’t argue that, I would contend Aaron Rodgers makes it a big four. Because of his weapons on offense and ability to run the ball (207 rushing yards with four scores last season), I actually think he has more upside than Manning, but because Rodgers is a much bigger health risk, he remains outside the big three for now. Still, this is a QB who got 7.5 YPA with a 63.6 completion percentage and 32 touchdowns in a season he entered having never started a game in the league. Over his final four games, Rodgers got a staggering 8.6 YPA while tossing eight touchdowns. Donald Driver may be aging, but Greg Jennings has established himself as a star, Jordy Nelson impressed as a rookie, and James Jones is an overlooked talent who will finally be healthy after a knee injury limited him throughout 2008, so the Packers are loaded at wide receiver. Rodgers could blow up." (by Dalton Del Don)
I'm not entirely conviced that Donald Driver is slowing down or that Aaron Rodgers is a "much bigger health risk," but I really agree with the comments. Aaron Rodgers is one big season away from being an elite quarterback. I hope that big season is this year.