During the NFL offseason, speculation abounds about which teams will do what and which division will emerge as the powerhouse of the league.
There are many great divisions that stand to emerge in the league, including the NFC West, home to the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. However, many signs this year point to the NFC North becoming the dominant division in the upcoming NFL season. Be sure to get setup with the fastest internet this offseason so you can keep up with all of the changes in the NFC North.
The Reemergence Of The Green Bay Packers
In recent years, league observers might contend that the Packers have lost their standing as one of the best teams in football, a position they held solidly from 2009 through 2012. This stretch included the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2010 season and starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ MVP season of 2011.
Unfortunately, Rodgers broke his collarbone in week 9 of the 2013 season and could not return until the final game of the season. With Rodgers back to full health and the addition of 8-time Pro Bowl linebacker and defensive end Julius Peppers, the Pack looks poised to make some noise in the 2014-2015 NFL season.
The Cap Space Of The Chicago Bears
Earlier this year, Bleacher Report wrote that between the NFL’s salary cap increase and the release of several notable personnel, the Chicago Bears could be as much as $26 million below the salary cap. This extra salary room combined with the 14th pick in this year’s NFL draft means that the Bears are poised to strengthen their defense.
If the Bears are able to add a few key defensive pieces through free agency, they may be able to improve their defense enough to complement their dynamic offense, which had an excellent year in 2013 highlighted by the breakout season of third-year wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and a strong showing from two-time Pro Bowl running back Matt Forte.
The Potential Of The Detroit Lions
Detroit has arguably the best wide receiver in football in Calvin Johnson. Johnson had a stellar 2013 season: his 329-yard performance in week 8 against the Dallas Cowboys broke the Lions’ franchise record for receiving yards in a single game as well as the NFL record for most receiving yardage in a regulation-length football game. The Lions are expected to re-sign defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh. With a new head coach and the tenth pick in the NFL draft, the Lions have a chance to do great things.
High Draft Pick For The Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings had a disappointing 2013 season with a 5-10-1 record, but they have the eighth pick in the 2014 draft and one of the best running backs in the league in Adrian Peterson.
ESPN’s Ben Goessling writes that one of Minnesota’s biggest questions is at the quarterback position.
With highly-regarded prospect Christian Ponder not working out well and mid-season signing Josh Freeman proving to be a complete disaster, the Vikings’ only current hope may be in Matt Cassel, who closed the season with a few strong performances and signed a two-year extension worth $10 million earlier this year. However, if the Vikings can find a stable quarterback, they may be able to truly unleash the power of their offense, which includes the explosiveness of Peterson and wide receiver Greg Jennings.
There is still plenty of time left in the offseason for new developments and changes to team rosters. Only time will tell what happens to the four teams that compete in the NFC North and whether or not they will get what they need this summer before the regular season begins. However, with a strong pool of talent and some good draft picks, the NFC North is shaping up to be the best division in the NFL this year.