The NFC North is one of the two most contentious divisions in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of work to do for every team in this division. From top to bottom, every team has the potential to be one of the best in the NFL. Despite significant talent, though, every team has at least one glaring weakness to correct not only for the rest of this season but in years to come.
Minnesota Vikings- They have so much talent but need to find a way to overcome their glaring deficiency at running back. Oh, whoops, this isn’t the Packers. Anyways, the Vikings have the best RB on the planet and need to find a way to get this offense going around it. With a reliable passing game it would be hard to imagine an easy way to stop this Minnesota squad, but the answer to this problem isn’t so clear. It has been documented in this column that Christian Ponder has had his share of struggles, but he has also showed signs of efficient quarterbacking. The jury is still out on Ponder, so assuming that he will stay, the Vikings could use a reliable threat opposite Percy Harvin. Jerome Simpson is a freak athlete with great speed and quickness but he doesn’t have the skillset at this point to start in the NFL.
Green Bay Packers- As noted above, the Packers have had real struggles running the ball. Getting Cedric Benson back will help, but over the offseason this team could do themselves a service by emphasizing the run in their offense. Having to respect the run on a play action makes Aaron Rodgers look very scary to opposing defenses. On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers have seen a recent and troubling decline. Green Bay’s defense is decimated with injuries (the word decimate was clearly created solely to describe injured units on professional football teams), but even before Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews went down this was not a great defense. The Packers could use a young linebacker to reignite this unit, and it may be something they look to correct in the offseason.
Chicago Bears- They have their quarterback, they have their running backs, they have their wide receivers. If only there were a group of strong men who had the capability to protect this group so that the Human Sack, aka Jason Campbell, didn’t have to step in and ruin any chance of a Chicago victory.
Detroit Lions- Despite a depleted secondary that when healthy, isn’t very good, this is not even the Lions’ principal concern. If they corrected that problem with new personnel over the offseason, it still wouldn’t fix the up-and-down offense and the bonehead plays. The Lions need an organizational/structural overhaul, and that means turning this professional football team into a professional football team. Matthew Stafford needs to seriously commit himself to the fundamentals so that he can be consistent throughout games and stop the inaccurate sidearm flings. Oh, and if there weren’t 25 arrests this offseason maybe that could help, too.