Tag Archive | NFC North Preview

Go For Two: NFC North 2016 Preview

The 2016 NFL football season is here!!

minions yay

Since I’m a Packers fan, let’s do a NFC North Preview. This year, the NFC North pulled the NFC East and the AFC South. Here are their respective standings from 2015.

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What does this all mean for the Packers and the NFC North this year? Just looking at the graphics above can make the Packers, Bears, Vikings, and Lions see Super Bowl rings in their future …

yus

Six of the eight teams didn’t even have a winning record!

The NFC East division champ, the Washington Football Team, had 9 wins, but those wins were in a division in which the competition didn’t break 500. That’s not saying a lot about those 9 wins …

for shame

As for the Cowboys, 2016 isn’t looking great. Tony Romo went down in the preseason and won’t be expected back until the middle of the schedule or until he meets the requirements for a do not resuscitate order. The Giants have a new coach, so maybe that’s something to look forward to … but getting rid of Tom Coughlin? A wise person once said, when thinking about getting rid of a coach, you always have to ask yourself, who are you going to get that’s better? Apparently, the organization thinks Ben McAdoo is the answer. Hmmm.

Eagles have a new coach in Doug Pederson. He is a disciple of Andy Reid, so maybe it is a return to better times for the Eagles??? According to SB Nation, don’t get your hopes up. They did an article about the poor clock management Mr. Pederson coached during his Kansas City Chiefs playoff game against the Patriots (see link). So maybe not such a good thing?

As for the AFC South, what is there to say? I never watch them, there is no need to watch them, and I don’t care. I mean, really … what’s the incentive? Let’s take a gander at the recent past of the amazing Jacksonville Jaguars.

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Seriously, that’s just impressive.

The only thing to be lukewarm to moderately excited about in the AFC South is the Houston Texans. A new quarterback, Lamar Miller from the inept Dolphins (perhaps he will actually get utilized this year), and DeAndre Hopkins round out the inner circle. It must be thrilling to be a Texans fan and realize you are perhaps the only competent team in the AFC South. Well, unless the Colts get their shit together. However, I give zero fucks about investigating why they were so bad last year.

bored not interested shrlock

 

Now, for the real meat and potatoes of this post … the NFC North.

Here is how the NFC North wound up last year.

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Chicago Bears:

Oh, the Bears. What to say …

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Really, there isn’t much to say. Langford might be the only ray of light (Go Green!). Miller has never really met expectations and Jeffrey isn’t the same threat after Marshall left. After these mediocre facts, I just really want to add this gif …

don't care jay cutler

Detroit Lions:

I feel so bad for the Lions. In a division where Cutler is the best hope for the Bears, and the Vikes just lost Teddy Bridgewater, this year should be easy breezy for the Lions. Yet, the Lions have the worst luck ever. Without Megatron, I just don’t see how they compete. Number 81 drew double and triple coverage — Matt Stafford is in for a lot of unopen receivers in 2016.

eminem shrug

I do have to say though, mad props to Stafford who might be the toughest QB in the league. Each year he takes beating after beating and still gets up. He does nothing but impress me in this regard, but only in that regard.

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Green Bay Packers:

This is our year. Honestly, if we don’t win the Super Bowl this year it’s a catastrophic failure.

Reasons why:

  1. Strength of schedule
  2. Jordy Nelson’s return
  3. No Megatron
  4. No Teddy Bridgewater
  5. No Beastmode
  6. No nemesis team, i.e., Niners
  7. Jay Cutler
  8. Hopefully a more motivated Eddie Lacy (who should be helped by the presence of Jordy)
  9. Play calling experiment over — McCarthy has taken back the reigns
  10. Jake Schum — okay, this is a weak one, but only because of the individual, not the concept. We needed a better punter, badly.

Here is our depth chart thanks to Ourlads.com:

Screen Shot 2016-09-03 at 12.32.24 PM

Our window isn’t closing, but it’s not wide open either. We have so many things going for us this year. This is the year we need to get it done.

So yay! Let’s do it Packers!

yay chris hemsworth

Minnesota Vikings:

Poor Vikings. They were the NFC North division champs last year with a bright, shiny 2016 ahead of them. How fast things can change. Teddy Bridgewater dislocated his knee along with an ACL tear in the preseason. That is devastating.

Fortunate for the Vikings (as of Sept 1st), the general manager was quoted as saying this in an NFL.com article:

“The one thing that I will not do, and I promise you this, is put our organization in a situation where it’s going to inhibit us or hurt us going into the future,” Spielman told reporters before the Vikings played the Rams in their preseason finale .

That sounds good, right?

Hmmm. Just wait for it …

Sam Bradford traded from the Eagles!

chris pratt mind blown

Here is what the Vikes gave up:

  • 2017 1st round draft
  • 2018 4th round draft pick (could be a 3rd round if win NFC championship or a 2nd round if win the SB)
  • $7 million

Yeah, you know, just what Spielman said, no impact on the future …

Here is what Bradford brings:

  • A somewhat shiny QB for the Vikes grand opening of their new stadium
  • 2016: 3, 725 yards, 19 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
  • 2015: Missed two game due to concussion, missed two other games for sprained shoulder
  • 2014 Left ACL reinjury (preseason) – out for season
  • 2013 Left ACL tear (week 7 of season)
  • 2009 A/C joint surgery

Oh, man. Good luck Vikes. I mean, wow. Just … wow …

Veep wow

I hope this blog was informative, maybe got you up to date, or at least got you pumped for the season.

As always, GO Pack GO!

Until next time!

** If you would like to read my other blogs, please find them at:
http://www.my-thoughts-blog.weebly.com.
http://www.ihatemyback.com.

**** Madeline Fresco is a novelist who lives in San Diego. She is the author of CROSSED THE LINE, available for Kindle at Amazon.com, for Nook at Barnes & Noble, and as an ePub at other eBook retailers. You can also listen to her novel as a free, serialized audiobook at http://www.madelinefresco.com. Her second book THE CHOICE, is available on Kindle at Amazon. Her third book ANGUISH, is available for Kindle at Amazon.com

NFC North 2015 Preview — NFC North vs AFC West

This week is my NFC North preview of the AFC West.

This year, the NFC North pulled the AFC West and the NFC West as their divisions to rotate through.

Everyone in the NFC North (Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, and Vikings) will play everyone in the AFC West (Denver, Kansas City, Oakland, and San Diego).

Let’s preview that in alphabetical order.

Denver (2014 standing 12-4. Won Division.):

There was a lot of coaching turnover for Denver in the off-season. John Fox left for Chicago, so look to see that as a big game this season. John Fox will almost certainly have something to prove.

Instead of John Fox, Denver hired Gary Kubiak as their new head coach.

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This is the guy they get to replace John Fox? Ugh.

It must be due, in part, to the relationship between John Elway and Gary Kubiak. Kubiak was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Denver between 1995 and 2005. The Broncos won the Super Bowl twice in 1997 and 1998 when Elway was the quarterback for Denver.

However, it wasn’t just John Fox that left. Fox took with him to Chicago (and I post their names here because it effects Chicago):

  • Defensive Backs coach Same Garnes
  • Special Teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers
  • Defensive Line coach Jay Rodgers
  • Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase
  • Offensive Line coach Dave Magazu
  • Assistant Special Teams coordinator Derius Swinton II
  • Assistant Strength and Conditioning coach Jason George
  • Offensive Quality Control coach Bo Hardegree

Umm … okay? I list these as well because WOW! Talk about a turnover of staff.

Kubiak hired (the more important ones):

  • Defensive Coordinator Wade Phiilips
  • Tight-Ends coach Brian Pariani
  • Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison
  • Defensive Line coach Bill Kolar
  • Linebackers coach Reggie Herring

 

Current Roster:

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A key position Denver lost in the off-season was Julius Thomas at tight-end. That will be critical to watch what happens there. Thomas went to the Jags to get paid. That’s all he will be doing in Jacksonville — winning will not be on the agenda.

2015 Denver Broncos schedule:

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Kansas City (2014 standing 9-7. 2nd place in division):

The Chiefs are a team that we always think are going to be better than they are. Coach Andy Reid is still there, as is Alex Smith, Jeremy Maclin, Jamaal Charles, and, well … that’s it.

Here is their depth chart:

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I really just have nothing to say about this team.

 

Oakland (2014 standing 3-13. Last place in division):

Come on, guys! You can do this! Raider Nation needs you!

I must admit, outside of Charles Woodson, I know nothing of this team.

Well, lookie-loo! The Raiders have a new head coach in Jack Del Rio. Here is JDR’s record as a head coach:

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Not super impressive, eh?

From 2012 to 2014 he was the Denver Broncos Defensive coordinator and he served as interim head coach in 2013 when John Fox was out with heart surgery. Let me just say this. Do you hire someone who was fired as the head coach of Jacksonville?

JDR will have as his Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave and Defensive Coordinator is Ken Norton, Jr. Of particular note is that Ken Norton, Jr. was previously the Seattle Seahawks Linebackers coach.

Derek Carr is the quarterback and this will be his second year with the Raiders. Unfortunately, he did not shine as much as other rookie QB’s last year, as in Teddy Bridgewater. He played for Fresno State in college. Let’s hope he does not have a sophomore slump.

As for receivers, it looks like Michael Crabtree left SF to go to Oakland. The Raiders released James Jones (one-year deal with NYG) to pick up Crabtree and apparently draft Amari Cooper. Okay, I guess.

Running back is Trent Richardson (is he ever going to do good?) and Latavius Murray. Um. Sure, why not.

Here is the rest of the depth chart:

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Here is the schedule:

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Good luck Raiders, I hope you do well this year, just not against my Pack.

 

San Diego (2014 standing 9-7. 3rd place in division):

Ugh. I live in San Diego now and I really, really need to learn about my home team. More importantly, I need to find someone on the team I can root for…

Okay. Let’s investigate.

Head coach is Mike McCoy. Who the heck is that? Here is his resume:

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Mike McCoy has been the head coach since 2013. The Chargers went 9-7 both years. Okay, fine then.

The quarterback is still the mega-annoying Philip Rivers. I just puked a little in my mouth at the thought of having to follow him. I refuse.

I need a good running back or wide receiver to root for. Let’s see, Keenan Allen is not a bad, well, not a great choice. He had 77 receptions last year for 783 yards. Meh. The tight-end is Antonio Gates and he had 69 receptions for a total of 821 yards. He gets my thumbs up approval as he was born in Detroit and attended Michigan State University which is my alma mater.

Well, hopefully their draft pick works out in regards to running back. Melvin Gordon, per NFL Network, is not impressing.

Here is the rest of the roster:

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As for defense no names pop out to me besides Manti Te’o, but not for football reasons. It will be interesting to see who stands out to me as a newbie Chargers watcher. I won’t say fan yet. Last season, the Chargers had the 9th overall defense, so there is that.

Here is their schedule:

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As of note, I had to look what the asterisk was for. Apparently, this season, the NFL can start flexing as early as October 18th? That’s a bit premature. Must be Goodell’s idea …

Well, that’s my preview. As always, GO Pack GO!

NFC North 2015 Preview – Green Bay Packers

This week is my NFC North preview of the Green Bay Packers.

Last year we finished first in the NFC North, one game ahead of Detroit at 12-4. We earned a bye the first week in the playoffs, but did not secure home field advantage in the NFC Championship game which was one of the multiple factors effecting our loss in the game.

Here is how 2014 shaped up:

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Here is the post-season:

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As you can see, the loss to the Saints and Bills were killer, costing us home field advantage in the NFC championship game. Home field advantage was critical to the Packs success last season as we won every game at home. Perhaps a Lambeau crowd could have helped the disastrous slide into a loss during the 4th quarter of that NFC championship game.

Here is the box score from the championship game:

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I really don’t have much more to say about it. If you want to know more, you can read my recap from last year. I’m still way too upset about it. I thought I had let it go, but as I’ve been recapping the Packers 2014 season, I’m just getting madder and madder.

Let’s move on to this season.

Here was our draft:

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I’m happy that we took two corners. Our defense certainly needs to improve, however, I worry about developing them in the douchebag Dom Capers system.

Speaking of coaches …

Mike McCarthy is no longer in charge of offensive play calling. It seems even his head was on a platter after the NFC Championship game meltdown. The working theory is that if McCarthy didn’t have play calling duties in the championship game, perhaps he would have seen the bigger picture. That picture being the need for more aggressive play calling. It seemed McCarthy was in don’t lose mode, not finish them mode.

I, for one, am not so sure. Anyone watching the game could see the scoreboard. McCarthy is not a dumb man. He was perhaps dumb for not being more aggressive, but that was the strategy he went with the whole 4th quarter. The last 4 minutes of the game were unheard of. It has literally never happened in the playoffs before to lose that big of a lead in that short of time. Perhaps, we should be looking at the defense as well for not shutting the Hawks down just as much as the non-aggressive play calling. Also, there is some merit behind not turning the ball over when you have that big of a lead. Unfortunately, the real problem arose when those 4 minutes went into overdrive. We did not recover at any point, offense, defense, or special teams to stop the bleeding.

The offensive coordinator is still Tom Clements – he has been since 2012. He just now takes on play calling duties. His new label though is associate head coach.

The defensive coordinator remains Dom Capers. I swear to f’ing God. How is he not demoted? How is he still here!?!?! I think he is blackmailing somebody. How does Mike McCarthy lose title but this ass-clown remains defensive coordinator?

Also, Mike McCarthy having less play calling responsibility is also assigned to provide more focus on special teams. I feel like we made a big leap last year. In 2013 I felt like we were constantly pinned down before the 20- yard line. It’s hard to get a drive going when if you just took a knee in the end zone you would be better off.

I feel like, and have been saying this for years, we need to improve our defense, and not just through the draft.

Our special teams coordinator is Ron Zook. Previously he was assistant special teams coordinator. Shawn Slocum was fired.

In case you forgot, he was fired over the fact that during an onside kick, Brandon Bostick, a tight-end with little playing time, decided to go up and retrieve the football despite the fact that directly behind him, Jordy Nelson waited with his hands to collect the ball. Bostick essentially intercepted a perfect opportunity for Jordy to catch the ball. We would have won if that had not happened.

Here is our upcoming schedule:

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It’s not easy. The bit in the middle is brutal. It has the potential of being catastrophic if there is an injury. Detroit, Minnesota, Chicago, then Detroit. Two of those are Thursday games. To lump that many division games in a row, if there are any injuries … ugh. It could be lethal to the season.

I’m not super happy about that.

FYI, I guess in 2016 we will be going to London, too. I’m beyond not a fan of London games. It’s ridiculous. Greedy f’ing NFL owners.

I digress.

We also play a brutal division in the round-robin scheduling of the NFL. The NFC North has received the NFC West.

Here are their 2014 standings:

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Yikes.

We also pulled the AFC West. Not as bad.

Here are their standings:

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We still have to face Peyton, which is never, ever something that a team wants to do. It will be the talk of the town with the two elite QB’s going head-to-head.

Lastly, we get the Panthers. This is because each team from the NFC North has to face their equivalent opponent in standings from the previous year’s NFC division matchup. GB had the best record in the NFC North, so we get the best in the NFC South.

Here is how that division ended up last year:

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Hm. There is nothing good to say about that division.

All-in-all GB faces 4 opponents who were in the playoffs last year.

Awesome.

Here is our roster for the year so far:

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Good luck Green Bay Packers. Love you and can’t wait for the new season!