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Senior NFL Columnist

NFC North

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Why are the Green Bay Packers an NFC Super Bowl favorite? Take a look at the All-NFC North team. The Packers have 11 players on the team, highlighted by Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the best player in the league.

It is a division with two other good quarterbacks in Matt Stafford and Jay Cutler and a rising one in Minnesota's second-year passer Christian Ponder.

In addition to Rodgers, the Packers have six other players on the all-division offensive team, which shows just how good they can be on that side of the ball.

Rodgers and Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson, two of the NFL's 10 best players, were the two easiest choices on either side of the ball.

The defensive side was tougher to pick. With three of the four teams in the division playing a 4-3 front, it was easy to decide on the look of the defense. The only team that uses a 3-4 is the Packers, but there were a lot of tough choices in terms of players.

Offense

TE LT LG C RG RT
J. Finley M. Kalil T. Lang J. Sullivan J. Sitton B. Bulaga
WR QB WR
C. Johnson A. Rodgers G. Jennings
RB FB
A. Peterson J. Kuhn

QB -- Aaron Rodgers, Packers: How do you stop him when he gets it going? He is just scratching the surface, which is scary.
RB -- Adrian Peterson, Vikings: I put him here even coming off the knee, because he has made great strides already. He might not be the same, but he will be close.
FB -- John Kuhn, Packers: He made NFL Network's Top 100 list. That's a bit much, but he is a heck of a fullback.
WR -- Calvin Johnson, Lions: Is there a better receiver in the game today? He is a freak.
WR -- Greg Jennings, Packers: I give him this spot over Brandon Marshall and Jordy Nelson. When he's on the field, he's dynamic.
TE -- Jermichael Finley, Packers: He didn't have the type of season many expected in 2011, but has 75-catch ability.
LT -- Matt Kalil, Vikings: He's a rookie, but he gets the spot in a bad position in the division. I think he will be special.
LG -- T.J. Lang, Packers: He is coming off his best season for the Packers. He even played some tackle.
C -- John Sullivan, Vikings: He is a smart, heady center who had his best season in 2011.
RG -- Josh Sitton, Packers: He's a tough guy who has improved in pass protection. He has battled injuries.
RT -- Bryan Bulaga, Packers: He was very good last season before getting hurt late. He might be the Packers' best lineman this season.

Defense

LE DT DT RE
C. Avril/J. Peppers (T) H. Melton N. Suh J. Allen
OLB MLB/ILB OLB
C. Matthews B. Urlacher L. Briggs
CB FS SS CB
C. Tillman L. Delmas C. Woodson T. Williams

LE -- Cliff Avril, Lions / Julius Peppers, Bears (tie): Avril had his best season as a pass rusher last season, emerging as a real force off the left side. Peppers plays on both sides, which is why he's here with Avril. He's a better player, but not as good as Allen on the right side.
DT -- Henry Melton, Bears: He is an underrated as an inside player on a good line. He is a former running back, which is why he is so athletic.
DT -- Ndamukong Suh, Lions: He wasn't as good as some expected last year, but he remains one of the better young inside players.
RE -- Jared Allen, Vikings: Allen led the league in sacks and showed he remains one of the game's best edge rushers.
OLB -- Clay Matthews, Packers: He had a bit of an off year in 2011, but he remains one of the best edge 3-4 rushers.
MLB -- Brian Urlacher, Bears: His health is a concern, but when he is on the field, he is one of the best in the league.
OLB -- Lance Briggs, Bears: He has been one of the best 4-3 outside linebackers for a long time.
CB -- Charles Tillman, Bears: The man they call Peanut had a good season in 2011. He is one of the better cover players in the division, where they are lacking.
CB -- Tramon Williams, Packers: He was bothered by injuries last season and he didn't play as well. But he should be poised for a bounce-back season.
Nickel -- Chris Carr, Vikings: He will be a heck of a pickup as the nickel corner in the Vikings defense.
SS -- Charles Woodson, Packers: He moves inside to safety, where he will be a Pro Bowl player. He has played a lot like a nickel safety the past couple of years anyway.
FS -- Louis Delmas, Lions: He has range, which you need, but he has to stay on the field.

Special Teams

KR K P
D. Hester M. Crosby A. Podlesh

K -- Mason Crosby, Packers: He barely gets the nod here over Robbie Gould of the Bears. It was close.
P -- Adam Podlesh, Bears: He was a heck of a pickup as a free agent from Jacksonville last year.
KR -- Devin Hester, Bears: Since moving to receiver, he doesn't get as many chances, but he can still get it done.

Honorable mention: Bears RB Matt Forte; Lions DT Nick Fairley; Lions QB Matt Stafford; Packers WR Jordy Nelson; Bears WR Brandon Marshall; Bears QB Jay Cutler.


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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