1. Minnesota Vikings: 10-6
The Vikings could have had the best offseason in the NFL. Through free agency they picked up star receiver Gregg Jennings, linebacker Desmond Bishop, and quarterback Matt Cassel, who very well could start at any point in the season. Their draft was just as good, as they had three first round picks. They took receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, cornerback Xavier Rhodes, and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd with the trifecta. Add these players to Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, and game-manager Christian Ponder on offense and Chad Greenway and Erin Henderson on defense, and you have a pretty serviceable team. The Vikings take the third seed in the NFC.
2. Detroit Lions: 9-7
When you have gunslinger Matthew Stafford throwing the rock to the best receiver in the game in Calvin Johnson, you don't need much more help on offense. Adding Reggie Bush was a pretty good move, but you have to wonder if his situation will be a lot like when he was with the Saints; not a lot of carries, not a lot of results. The Lions let both Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch leave in free agency, which will hurt, but they eased the pain by drafting Ezekiel Ansah. Add him to a front four that includes Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley and you shouldn't have any problems rushing the passer. The Lions are just a couple of pieces away from being a dominant team.
3. Green Bay Packers: 9-7
The Packers had a pretty terrible offseason. They lost Gregg Jennings, Donald Driver, Jeff Saturday, and Charles Woodson and really did nothing to replace them. They have some good in house talent at receiver in Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, and James Jones, but nothing from the outside? That's risky. The Pack did draft defensive end Datone Jones and running back Eddie Lacy, but Jones likely won't play much this year and the Packers really aren't a running team. That isn't saying Lacy won't be a monster, though. The defense is strong with B.J. Raji, A.J. Hawk, Clay Matthews, and Tramon Williams. In my opinion, though, the Packers are a little overrated. I definitely don't see them having as much success as they have in the past few years.
4. Chicago Bears: 9-7
The Bears are another team that is difficult to predict, especially after their monumental collapse last season. Their offense is pretty good, but certainly isn't anything to get excited over. Jay Cutler is a Tony Romo-esque thrower and Matt Forte is good when he wants to be. Receiver Brandon Marshall is the only consistent offensive weapon on the team. The defense has two great corners in Tim Jennings and Charles "Peanut" Tillman. Julius Peppers and Henry Melton anchor the front line. Lance Briggs will try to hold the weight for the linebackers. Give this Bears team another year before they are dangerous.
What are your thoughts on the NFC North?