NFC North Preview

It has been a bumpy off season for Rodgers, but expect him to have a solid season and have the Packers in contention for a division title.

Chicago Bears

Like it seems every season with the Chicago Bears, you never know what you’re going to get with this team from year to year. After starting 7-1 last year, the Bears finished 3-5 down the stretch costing Lovie Smith his job. Quarterback Jay Cutler is in a contract year so I expect him to do well. Their new head coach is Marc Trestman who is a two-time Grey Cup champion in the Canadian Football League in 2009 and 2010. Trestman has kept the Bears defensive plays intact so I’m sure with a successful season, he will credit Smith along the way for that. He is very detail oriented and there are numerous practices and meetings so it’s with that organized methodology that the 2013 Bears will hope to thrive. The key to this season will be if Jay Cutler can realize his full potential and be a quality starter in the NFL. The Bears also have Brandon Marshall who has been tough to deal with in the past and while a great receiver at times has shown he can be another headache for this team to deal with. The organization shown under Trestman and how his players have bought into his ideas so quickly is encouraging. All that time spent with practices and meetings should help the Bears come together and make them a good team. . Dan Sohler

This is a make or break season for Jay Cutler in Marc Trestman’s new offense.

Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions took a massive step backwards in 2012 and 2013 is a big year for just about every player on the team and a coaching staff that may be on it’s last legs. Everyone knows that Matt Stafford is going to throw to Calvin Johnson, however that hasn’t cut down on the effectiveness of the Megatron centered offense. The Lions should be expected to get the ball around to more targets throughout 2013 with the addition of Reggie Bush and Ryan Broyles becoming more of a #2 receiver. The defensive side of the ball has been line focused for the past 3 years and while the back 7 is better in 2013 they still will depend heavily on the line. Ziggy Ansah has a tremendous opportunity to be a complement to Ndamukong Suh and to make this a premier unit in the NFL. In 2012 the Lions piled up drives that fizzled within the red zone by turnover and by ineptitude. Mistakes on and off the field have hurt the development of a number of players. The Lions are more talented in 2013 and can make the playoffs, but if the frequency of mistakes doesn’t come down it’s likely that Jim Schwartz will have seen the last of his time in Detroit. Michael Bedard

The Lions may have found their running back in Reggie Bush.

Green Bay Packers

After being gashed by Colin Kaepernick in the playoffs the Packers knew they needed to improve their defense. They drafted Datone Jones, a defensive tackle for UCLA to join B.J. Raji up front. The linebackers are led by the sack machine Clay Matthews and a healthy Nick Perry, their 2012 first round pick who missed most of last season. Tramon Williams is a solid corner who can force turnovers and Morgan Burnett is a hard hitter at safety. Greg Jennings leaves the offense but Rodgers still has Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones returning. They added bruising runner Eddie Lacy to make the offense less one dimensional. We all know that the offense can light up the scoreboard, but if the defense doesn’t get stops down the stretch this team will not compete for a Super Bowl. Scott Boutcher

The Packers took Jones in the first round to beef up their defensive line.

Minnesota Vikings

2012 was a nearly record breaking year for RB Adrian Peterson who came within mere yards of the single season rushing mark.  The Vikings will need him to offer a repeat performance if they hope to threaten in a loaded NFC.  QB Christian Ponder will need to up his game to improve a passing attack that was among to worst in the league.  WR Greg Jennings joins the Vikings after spending 8 seasons with NFC North rival Green Bay. Glenn Coyle

Greg Jennings head to Minnesota after 8 years in Green Bay.

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