The Falcons exceeded expectations last year but this year they play a tougher schedule. Their inexperience is likely to show more.
The Panthers have all the potential with Jake Delhomme at QB, Steve Smith at wideout, and the dynamic running back tandem of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Julius Peppers and Chris Gamble are both top performers who could lead the defense to a strong season performance. However, Carolina can never seem to put it all together.
Tampa is in a rebuilding year with a new coach and new quarterback. Their defense is aging and not as fearsome as it once was.
1. Minnesota Vikings
2. Green Bay Packers
3. Chicago Bears
4. Detroit Lions
The reasoning for this is simple. Minnesota won this division last year. This year Minnesota has the second easiest schedule in the league and Brett Favre has been added at QB. Favre makes the Vikings receivers better instantly. Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the league and Favre’s presence takes a lot of pressure off of him.
The Packers will finish behind the Vikings this year and be in the playoff hunt. Aaron Rodgers is proving to quite a capable quarterback, throwing for over 4,000 yards last year. He has two dangerous threats in Greg Jennings and Donald Driver. If Rodgers continues to progress so will the Packers.
There has been a lot of noise about Jay Cutler coming to quarterback the Bears, but that ultimately does not solve the team’s problems. They did nearly nothing to improve their below average defense and there are no true receiving threats on the team.
The Lions had the worst season in NFL history last season. This year they have rookie QB and number of new defensive players. They almost have to improve this year, it would hard for them to get any worse. But they will not have improved enough to compete in this division.
1. Arizona Cardinals
2. San Francisco 49ers
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. St. Louis Rams
The Arizona Cardinals had a quite a playoff run last year and proved that they are one of the best teams in the league. The defense may not be great but Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin will win the games for them. No one other team in the division is very good at all.