Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Guys You Don't Know (But You Should) NFC North Edition

The NFC North may be the toughest division in football.  With the Packers bringing back most of their number one seeded team, the young Lions finally making the playoffs, the Bears only getting better on offense with the addition of Brandon Marshall, and the Vikings leaders getting a year of experience under their belt, this could be a barn burner all the way to the end of the season.  Plenty of big names all around with Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson, only to name a few.  A division that was once know as a mostly defensive division, NFC North finally has some offensive firepower.

This division is so close, that one up and comer can decide who is the division winner.  Breakout candidates are all over the NFC North and picking one per team is difficult.  There are many question marks when it comes to returns from injury (Forte, Cutler, Peterson) where maybe some backups can become future starters.  Guys will become known and they will provide a future big payday in the division everyone will have their eyes on.

NFC North
Chicago Bears- Chris Conte
The Bears were a little thin at safety last year.  Brandon Meriweather was a complete disaster.  Major Wright was decent but still gave up big plays.  The only bright spot is Conte showed some definite promise.  A third rounder out of Cal, Conte showed promise in limited work.  He played against some of the most prolific passing offenses in the NFL, and seemed like he never got beat.  Looking at the 2012 schedule, outside of the division they aren't playing the best of passing offenses.  This could help Conte get some confidence coming out of his first season as a starter.  Conte was so good that he was picked to the all rookie team even though he missed the last two games.  Conte will never be the ball hawk like some safeties, but he will be a big hitter and can break up passes with the best of them.  He forces fumbles and covers like glue, expect this guy to bring the Bears defense back to prominence.

Detroit Lions- Kyle Vanden Bosch
The Lions defense is known as Ndamukong Suh and everyone else.  Well everyone else is why Suh is so dominant.  Cliff Avril and Vanden Bosch anchor a line that could be the best in football.  It is between them and the New York Giants for that crown.  Vanden Bosch is the veteran of the line and he has been good for a long time.  He never really got the credibility that he has deserved.  That all changes this year.  Vanden Bosch doubled his sack total to eight last year, and he is going to get to double digits this year.  I feel like the Lions are ready to make the leap and get far in the playoffs.  Vanden Bosch will show his veteran prowess and become known for what he does in the run.

Green Bay Packers- Jermichael Finley
Finley did get a good amount of coverage to start off the year.  He was named as one of the great young tight ends in the league.  He seemed to fade as the season went on and so did the talk of his rising star.  The world was enamored with Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham as the future for tight ends.  Look for Finley to trump those names this year.  With all the added weapons in New England and all the turmoil in New Orleans, Finley will once again hear his name in the conversation for the leagues best tight end.  In his fourth season Finley hauled in eight touchdowns, expect him to go over double digits this season.  Rodgers and Finley started to click at the start of last season.  Now that the receiving core is one year older, Finley's 25 year old legs will be called on that much more.  The Packers are going to claw their way to another division title, and it will be Finley's emergence as the new best thing at tight end that will push them over the top.

Minnesota Vikings- Toby Gerhart
The former Heisman trophy candidate is proving to be a good draft pick for the Vikings, if only they would use him correctly.  Gerhart was limited last season to only five games with more than seven carries.  Obviously its hard to crack the starting line up when you have Adrian Peterson ahead of you, but as it was  mentioned before, Peterson is coming into this season recovering from a torn acl.  Looking at the stats in games Gerhart got decent playing time, three out of the five he had over ninety yards total in the game and in four out of the five he averaged well over four yards per carry.  For the season, he averaged just under five yard per rush.  This season the Vikes will be leaning heavily on him to take the load off of Peterson's knees.  Gerhart is also a decent receiver out of the back field, a true double threat.  The past two years, the Vikings have been holding Gerhart back because they had the best running back in the league.  Now that he is hurt it will force their hand into finally giving this guy the ball more often.  Gerhart is a stud, and we will finally get to see it in 2012.

No comments:

Post a Comment