1. The Green Bay Packers. Expect the Packers to ride that discount double check all the way to January, they look just about the same as they did last year. There isn't much I can say that hasn't already been said. They are a bit week at running back, but number 12 under center(or in the shot gun most of the time) makes up for it. Nick Perry from USC and Jerel Worthy from Michigan State will help the D. At linebacker they are very strong with Mathews, Hawk, and D.J. Smith, adding Perry can only help. Look at the Packers to go (13-3) (14-2).
2. The Chicago Bears. Here is my surprise pick, I love these Bears. This year Jay Cutler will be able to drop back 7 steps, which will be refreshing considering the awful state of the offensive line in the last few years. I am very high on Jay Cutler, but when you are staring at stadium lights every other play, it's not easy to throw much less find some consistency. Hey look who go their contract Matt Forte! Brandon Marshall is joining the squad, Devin Hester is returning kicks, and Alshon Jeffery from South Carolina is any quarterbacks dream. At 6'3 he is a cornerback's nightmare. If this line can hold up, which I think it will, Chicago will be able to find offensive balance. A healthy dose of Matt Forte and some play action will have defenses on their toes. It is a veteran defense that is very stingy against the run, and can be exploited against the pass, but a veteran defense nonetheless. I like the Bears to go (10-6) if they stay healthy.
3. The Detroit Lions. Matt Stafford continues to improve. Megatron is going to do his thing. Ryan Broyles from Oklahoma was a great pick in the second round as he is another option in the passing attack. I look for Stafford's numbers to improve if that's even possible, but this team cannot run the football at all. I said the same thing about the Packers, but Stafford isn't Rodgers yet, and the Packers defense is better. Kevin Smith is pedestrian at best when it comes to RB's and that is this team'a downfall. On defense this front 4 needs to begin producing like we all thought it would. Suh, Fairley and Vanden Bosch, and Avril. They are not doing enough against the run. They gave up 130 yards a game last year. If you are going to step on people and act like badass defensive lineman, you can't finish 23rd against the run.... unless the D preforms up to snuff, this team will not make it to the playoffs. 22nd against the pass isn't much better (9-7)
4. The Minnesota Vikings. This Vikings team does have a lot of potential with a pretty solid looking offense. Christian Ponder is the only big question mark in terms of production, Adrian Peterson's health could also be an issue, but when he is on the field and healthy he is one of the best in the league. Jerome Simpson is a nice addition to the receiving core, giving the young Ponder another good target. The offensive line looks good. Besides Jared Allen on defense they lack standout players and this defense really struggles against the pass. There are too many holes on this defense, and with Christian Ponder at quarterback, nothing is guaranteed (5-11)-Josh Neighbors