X-Factors (IMO) for each team:
Packers: Eddie Lacy - Somebody has to step up and give the Pack a running game. Aaron Rodgers' arm can't last all season.
Vikings: Christian Ponder - He how has some WR weapons, but will he be able to settle down and overcome his (so far) sloppy preseason?
Bears: Mark Trestman - Will a new, offensively-minded coach work to their advantage, or will Jay Cutler cry to mommy again?
Lions: Offensive Talent - It's all there, but can it stay healthy?
MY "THE VIKING FAN THAT I AM" PREDICTIONS
blah blah blah...
Huge Vikings fan here. But until somebody proves otherwise, the Packers are the best team in the North, and it really kills me to say that. 2nd through 4th are all up for grabs, but Green Bay is the top dog. That said, I hope Rodgers sets the record for sacks taken by a qb, and the defense is the bottom of the league.
Over the history of the NFL (since 1932), the leading rusher has averaged 1350 yards, with the 20 year average being 1772. The 10 year average is 1802. Not a single time in NFL history has someone rushed for 2000+ yards two seasons in their career. In the last 20 years, we've only had 3 players repeat as the NFL's leading rusher in consecutive years. Adrian Peterson has a career rushing average of 1475 (1576 if you eliminate his injury season the year before last). Ignoring his injured season, Adrain Peterson's rushing average before last year was 1446.
So, the numbers point to several things. 1) 2000 yard rushing seasons are not regular. Only 8% of NFL seasons produce 2000 yard rushers. 2) 2000 yard rushing seasons are not repeatable. No one has gotten two in their career. 3) Adrian Peterson rushing for 2000 yards was a drastic increase in his rushing output based on history. His 2097 yards last season was 45% higher than his previous non-injured season output average.
So, to answer your question as to why we think it was a fluke? Math, maybe?
People really watched that QB play in that vikings game and think that's an above 500 team?
As a Packers fan, I always worry about defense and need for a backup quarterback. O line also kind of dicey.
Oh yeah and Greg Jennings can EABOD
My hope is that an improved passing game will take some pressure off him. Ponder was definitely adequate, and the Vikings were winning games before Harvin was injured, and before Peterson went on his tear the 2nd half of the season.
But the question was "why do you think it was a fluke?" in response to a poster saying that AP's rushing output was, in fact, a non-repeatable fluke. I replied by showing why it is logical to think that AP's rushing numbers from last year are, in fact, a fluke.
The Vikings need to have an offense that can take advantage of a work horse that can give you 1500 yards per year, rather than an offense that needs that 1500 yards per year to hit 2097 yards a second year in a row.
Threads like this get me pumped for the NFL season to start. What makes this division great is that all teams have had success within the last few years, and are certainly capable of being playoff teams.
That being said, I think it's still the Packers division to lose. They have the most proven QB in Rodgers and should have an actual running game with the additions of Lacy and Franklin. If the young talent in their defense can continue to improve, GB should be a legit Super Bowl contender...but I'm not completely sold on that happening yet.
Another concern I have as a Packers fan is GB's schedule outside of the division. They'll have some tough road tests at SF, CIN, BAL, NYG, and DAL to go along with those NFC North games. I'm thinking somewhere between 10-13 wins for the Packers, and until another team can consistently perform, I don't see how anyone else would be considered the favorite.
You could definitely make a case that this is the best division in the NFL right now. Should shape to be a very interesting season regardless of what ends up actually happening.
Not a fan of any teams, but here is my prediction
1. Green Bay (12-4). Aaron Rodgers, enough said.
2. Chicago (10-6). Defense, defense, defense. Plus, they have made a couple slight upgrades at O-line.
3. Minnesota (9-7). I think AP had a flukish season last year, and I do not think Ponder improves enough, even with all the weapons.
4. Detroit (9-7). Reggie Bush is a good addition, but Detroit cannot keep up with the others in the North.