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 MY NFC North Rankings 
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Post MY NFC North Rankings
The NFC north

Every off-season there is a re-construction process for every team in the NFL. Teams scramble to load up on free agent talent and ready themselves for the NFL draft. Then teams scramble to pick up undrafted talent and await the June 1 cuts. Finally it is up to team general managers and head coaches to make final decisions on which 53 players represent their respective teams, all while balancing a salary cap, an offense, and a defense. It is a seemingly large task to assemble an NFL team in the off-season that moves as fast as the NFL during the Regular season.

The NFC North teams are all at turning points this off-season. The Minnesota Vikings look to make the leap from an average team to a championship team. The Detroit Lions are looking to go from a below average team, to a respected organization. The Green Bay Packers have lost there edge and are expected to take a nose dive to the lower tier of the NFC North. The Chicago Bears are seemingly looking to transcend a team in a very tough NFC north division.

Each team has different areas of strengths and weaknesses. From different coaching philosophies and techniques to players and general managers each team has its own personality. Each team is more than one of its players or positions, and to adequately dissect what each team is capable of in a division it is important to look at as many variables as possible to draw accurate conclusions. The NFC North is more talented as a whole than any time in recent memory. Comparing team by team and position by position is one way to get a feel for where every team in the NFC North stands or falters.

How do the Detroit lions size up?

Quarter Back

1. Green Bay
.... a. Brett Favre
.... b. Aaron Rodgers
2. Minnesota
.... a. Dante Culpepper
.... b. Brad Johnson
3. Detroit
.... a. Joey Harrington
.... b. Jeff Garcia
4. Chicago
.... a. Rex Grossman
.... b. Chad Hutchinson

Until Brett Favre decides to retire he is the best in the NFC north, and one of the best in the League. He has more starts and accolades than the rest of the quarterbacks in the NFC North combined. He is also one of the toughest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Dante Culpepper has had a very successful career to this point in Minnesota. Having Chris Carter and Randy Moss around him might have helped, but this season will be his biggest test yet as he is without both. Joey Harrington has had three losing seasons in Detroit. There has been a learning curve but being successful and leading a young team loaded with potential is vital to Harrington at this point in his career. Rex Grossman will be the signal caller in new surroundings this season for the Bears, as Chicago rebuilt there offense from the ground up.


Wide Receiver/Tight End

1. Detroit
.... a. Charles Rogers
.... b. Roy Williams
.... c. Mike Williams
.... d. Marcus Pollard
2. Green Bay
.... a. Javon Walker
.... b. Donald Driver
.... c. Robert Ferguson
.... d. Bubba Franks
3. Minnesota
.... a. Troy Williamson
.... b. Nate burleson
.... c. Marcus Robinson
.... d. Jermaine Wiggins
4. Chicago
.... a. Muhsin Muhammad
.... b. Justin Gage
.... c. Mark Bradley
.... d. Eddie Berlin

Everyone involved in the NFL world has noted the mounting talent of the Detroit Lions young receivers. They are the biggest and most physically gifted bunch in their respective division. Veterans Kevin Johnson and Marcus Pollard give detroit one of the most capable groups in the League. Green Bay has one of the more established group of wide outs in the league, and when healthy and playing well they are very effective as a whole. The loss of Minnesota's star Wide-out Randy Moss really hurts the group and puts a lot of pressure and expectations on Rookie Troy Williamson who was drafted 7th overall in the 2005 draft. If Williamson can step up and play at the NFL level he has the speed to be dangerous. The Chicago Bears could not have found a more complete wide out than Pro bowler Muhsin Muhammad. With the below average supporting cast and a quarter back still learning the system Muhammad will have to step up and show everyone why he was a pro bowler last season for the bears to have any success this year.

Full Back/Half Back

1. Green Bay
.... a. Ahman Green
.... b. Najeh Davenport
2. Detroit
.... a. Kevin Jones
.... b. Shawn Bryson
3. Minnesota
.... a. Michael Bennett (*Onterrio Smith?)
.... b. Moe Williams
4. Chicago
.... a. Cedric Benson
.... b. Thomas Jones

The possible loss of Onterrio Smith hurts the Vikings. If Onterrio is not charged with his third offense for violating the NFL drug policies (thereby losing the entire season to penalty), than Minnesota would have the best trio of backs in the division in terms of depth. Green Bays one-two punch of Ahman and Najeh have been very effective in the past, and they are two very solid Running backs. Detroit's Kevin Jones has turned quickly from heralded rookie, to a feature back, however Detroit still lacks depth at Running Back. Thomas Jones did decent in Chicago but will likely be losing his starting job to the 4th overall pick in the 2005 draft Cedric Benson. As always there will be a learning curve for Benson, but if he lives up to expectations Chicago will finally have what they really need... A one-two knockout punch at running back.

Offensive Line

1. Detroit
2. Minnesota
3. Chicago
4. Green Bay

The Offensive Line is the biggest key for every team's Offense. To establish a running game or passing game teams need an offensive line there that can dominate the oppositions Defensive line long enough to accomplish the run or pass. Detroit has 5 solid starters in place and a backup that can cover every position. Minnesota has a solid O-line as well, but really lacks depth at this position. Chicago has an average Offensive Line for an NFL team that is more run oriented. Green Bay who has dominated at this position for years has lost two fantastic starting guards. The loss of their starters will affect every aspect of the Packers offense.

Defensive Line

1. Minnesota
.... a. Darrion Scott
.... b. Pat Williams
.... c. Kevin Williams
.... d. Kenechi Udeze
2. Detroit
.... a. Cory Redding
.... b. Shaun Rogers
.... c. Dan Wilkinson
.... d. James Hall
3. Chicago
.... a. Adewale Ogunleye
.... b. Tank Johnson
.... c. Rob Droege
.... d. Alain kashama
4. Green Bay
.... a. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
.... b. Cletidus Hunt
.... c. Grady Jackson
.... d. Cullen Jenkins

Line Backers

1. Chicago
.... a. Marcus Reese
.... b. Brian Urlacher
.... c. Joe Odom
2. Minnesota
.... a. Napoleon Harris
.... b. Sam Cowart
.... c. Dontarrious Thomas
3. Detroit
.... a. Boss Bailey
.... b. Earl Holmes
.... c. Teddy Lehman
4. Green Bay
.... a. Na'il Diggs
.... b. Kurt Campbell
.... c. Nick Barnett

Secondary

1. Minnesota
.... a. Fred Smoot
.... b. Corey Chavous
.... c. Darren Sharper
.... d. Antoine Winfield
2. Detroit
.... a. Dre Bly
.... b. Terrence Holt
.... c. Kenoy Kennedy
.... d. Fernando Bryant
3. Green Bay
.... a. Ahmad Carroll
.... b. Nick Collins
.... c. Arturo Freeman
.... d. Al Harris
4. Chicago
.... a. R.W. McQuarters
.... b. M Brown
.... c. J shivers
.... d. A Marshall

As a whole Minnesota is bringing in six new starters including Fred Smoot and Pat Williams. There will definitely be a period of adjustment in the beginning of the season for the vikings but they have the potential to be as good as any other defense in the league. Detroit easily has the second best defense in the NFC North. The addition of Kenoy Kennedy and return of Boss Bailey cant be overlooked. Chicago has had a strong defense and they will be tough again this season. They did not make solid off-season additions to keep up with the Vikings and Lions. They will still harbor a very tough defense though. Green Bay is clearly in the lower tier of this division. While they may have solid starters they lack the play-makers on the defensive side of the ball they are going to need to keep up with all the Play-makers on the other side of the ball on teams in this division.

Special Teams

1. Detroit
2. Chicago
3. Minnesota
4. Green Bay

Coaching

1. Green Bay
.... a. Mike Sherman
.... b. Jim Bates
.... c. Tom Rossley
2. Detroit
.... a. Steve Mariucci
.... b. Dick Juaron
.... c. Ted Tollner
3. Minnesota
.... a. Mike Tice
.... b. Ted Cottrell
.... c. Steve Loney
4. Chicago
.... a. Lovie Smith
.... b. Ron Rivera
.... c. Ron Turner

Green Bays Coaching staff is one of the winningest in the league and by far tops the NFC North. Detroit, Minnesota, and Chicago changed Offensive Coordinators this off-season. Aside from the Head coaches there are some big names on each teams staff. Tom Rossley for Green Bay, Ted Tollner for Detroit, Ted Cottrell for Minnesota, and Ron Turner for Chicago.

Nucleus

1. Green Bay
2. Detroit
3. Chicago
4. Minnesota

A teams nucleus is the team that stayed together through the off-season from the previous year. They are graded by how well the nucleus played together and how many starters are returning. Green Bay edges every one easily as most of there roster will be returning this season. Detroit made upgrades to a couple of positions but overall most of Detroit's players are returning this season. Chicago made some huge changes to the offense, and Minnesota made even bigger changes to the defense.


Draft

1. Minnesota
.... a. Troy Williamson
.... b. Erasmus James
2. Detroit
.... a. Mike Williams
.... b. Shaun Cody
3. Chicago
.... a. Cedric Benson
.... b. Mark Bradley
4. Green Bay
.... a. Aaron Rodgers
.... b. Terrence Murphy

Overall every team has highlights and "steals" from this years draft. Minnesota had 2 first round picks in the top 17 and edges out Detroit. Detroit had two excellent picks in Mike Williams and Shaun Cody. Chicago had a solid draft throughout and picked up what they needed. Green Bay picked a Quarter Back in the first round which makes it obvious that Brett Favre does not intend to play much longer.

Free Agency

1. Minnesota
2. Detroit
3. Chicago
4. Green Bay

Minnesota is the obvious choice considering they had almost double what the closest team in the NFL had in cap space had with 32 million. The Vikings made a dent in the free agents picking up several marquee free agents. Detroit had a solid free agency period gaining more than they lost. Kenoy Kennedy and Marcus Pollard were great additions on their respective sides of the ball. Chicago had some success in free agency with the addition of Muhsin Muhammad. Green Bay seemed to have the worst time during the free agency period losing both starting Guards Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera. The also lost Free Safety Darren Sharper to the Minnesota Vikings.

Overall

1. Minnesota
2. Detroit
3. Green Bay
4. Chicago


.................... ranked 1 .. ranked 2 .. ranked 3 .. ranked 4..
Minnesota: ....... 4 ......... .. 3 ......... .. . 4 ........ ... 1
Detroit:.............. 5 ........ .. 5 ........ .. . 2 ......... ... 0
Green Bay: ...... 4 ........ .. 1 ......... .. . 2 .......... ... 5
Chicago:.......... 1........ .. 1 ......... ... 4 .......... ... 6


What exactly does win Championships? some people speculate that a great defense wins championships, some say a great offense. But data compiled over the past decade shows one similarity between every superbowl team. Balance! Some have had a better Defense like the New England Patriots, and some have had a better offense like the St. Louis Rams, but all have had a well balanced attack of offense and defense. The most well balanced team in the NFC North is the Detroit Lions. The best defense would have to be the Minnesota Vikings. The best offense is most likely the Green Bay Packers. The Chicago bears are a defense heavy team and the youngest offense in the NFC North.



Record Predictions:

1. Detroit Lions 11-5
2. Minnesota Vikings 10-6
3. Green Bay Packers 6-10
4. Chicago Bears 5-11


May 27th, 2005, 10:50 am
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http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/sportsnat ... nt_id=1353

Heres a link to vote on the NFC north happenings on ESPN

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multim ... ent.7.html

A link to KJ voted to have a breakout year by Sports illustrated


May 27th, 2005, 11:28 am
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SAFETY GRADES PER SPORTSLINE! -------LIONS------ B Minus




Unit analysis: Safeties
Posted: May 26, 2005


Offseason rankings for safeties across the NFL.

AFC

Patriots: A Rodney Harrison hits like a truck. Eugene Wilson excels in coverage. Both are smart. Steelers: A-minus
Troy Polamalu and Chris Hope are young, athletic and fast and hit like linebackers.

Bills: B-plus
Lawyer Milloy and Troy Vincent are intelligent and physical. The depth is good.

Jaguars: B-plus
Donovin Darius provides a presence over the middle; Deon Grant is reliable.

Ravens: B
Ed Reed is one of the NFL's best players, but Will Demps can be a liability in coverage.

Broncos: B
John Lynch and Nick Ferguson lack speed but excel against the run.

Chargers: B-minus
There are high hopes for Terrence Kiel and free-agent pickup Bhawoh Jue.

Titans: B-minus
Tank Williams makes big plays -- when healthy. Lamont Thompson is effective.

Bengals: C-plus
Madieu Williams is a blossoming star, but the run defense needs an enforcer.

Colts: C-plus
Bob Sanders and Mike Doss are big hitters with big futures, but they are green.

Jets: C-plus
Five have been drafted the past three years, but only Erik Coleman has worked out.

Texans: C
The starters are set with Marcus Coleman and Glenn Earl, but the depth is shaky.

Chiefs: C
Sammy Knight provides a fearsome presence, but Greg Wesley lost his fire in '04.

Browns: C-minus
Brian Russell is the only experienced starter; Brodney Pool and Sean Jones offer hope.

Dolphins: C-minus
Tebucky Jones and Travares Tillman both are suspect in coverage.

Raiders: C-minus
Even with a healthy Derrick Gibson, this group has plenty of room to improve.

NFC

Eagles: A
Brian Dawkins and Mike Lewis form the best combination in the league.

Cardinals: B-plus
Adrian Wilson is coming off his best season; Robert Griffith brings experience.

Vikings: B
Darren Sharper is an upgrade; Corey Chavous must hold off Willie Offord.

Seahawks: B
Michael Boulware is a ballhawk; Ken Hamlin has a lot left to prove.

Buccaneers: B
Dexter Jackson and Jermaine Phillips are strong, physical defenders.

Redskins: B
Sean Taylor's concentration must match his talent; the run support is good.

Lions: B-minus
Kenoy Kennedy is a big hitter, and Terrence Holt has a lot of potential.

Bears: C-plus
SS Mike Brown and FS Mike Green have switched spots; they should fit better.

Saints: C-plus
Dwight Smith brings talent and playmaking ability; Jay Bellamy is underrated.

Giants: C-plus
Shaun Williams is trying to come back from injury; Gibril Wilson is promising.

Panthers: C
Much will depend on whether Thomas Davis plays here or at linebacker.

49ers: C
SS Tony Parrish creates turnovers but lacks a veteran complement at free safety.

Falcons: C-minus
Bryan Scott is recovering from surgery; everyone else is old and slow.

Rams: C-minus
There are few sure things at the team's most unstable position.

Cowboys: D
Roy Williams is a star, but there is no depth and no proven starter at free safety.

Packers: D-minus
Darren Sharper is gone, and it will be a while before Nick Collins can fill his shoes.


May 27th, 2005, 11:46 am
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ST Coordinator – Danny Crossman

Joined: March 22nd, 2005, 8:42 pm
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I like your breakdown Ferris.

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May 27th, 2005, 12:39 pm
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Play by Play Announcer - Al Michaels

Joined: April 27th, 2005, 3:26 pm
Posts: 1775
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Great stuff. Let's hope hope your prediction becomes reality. We do have a pretty tough schedule this year.

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May 27th, 2005, 1:15 pm
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