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Chicago Bears Predictions

2015 Chicago Bears Predictions: 4th NFC North (2014 record: 5-11) Head Coach: John Fox NFC North Division Odds: +1550 Super Bowl Champion Odds: +11,000 Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 6.5 (-105), Under 6.5 (-125) Key Additions: Eddie Royal (WR), Kevin White (WR), Eddie Goldman (NT), Pernell McPhee (OLB/DE) Key Losses: Brandon Marshall (WR), Stephen Paea (DT), Lance Briggs (LB) The toxicity that is Jay Cutler spread even further last season. If he doesn’t care about winning football games then why is he even still around? New coach John Fox shouldn’t be quite the pushover that Marc Trestman was; perhaps he’ll have the stones to make Cutler take some accountability for his actions, or lack thereof. Defense OK, so the Bears failures weren’t completely Culter’s fault. The defense seemingly took another step backwards and allowed a horrid 28 points per game. Fox is switching to a 3-4 alignment, so a few growing pains could appear, but the personnel appears to be better suited for it. Goldman and incumbent DT Jay Ratliff should hold the interior of the line just fine. A return to health from DE/OLB Lamarr Houston is paramount to the pass rush, as fellow end Jared Allen’s game isn’t really suited for this shift. McPhee will be getting his first shot at a full-time roll, and was tutored nicely by the likes of Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil. There are worse mentors to have. He’ll be a nice addition to the pass rush. The secondary needs a healthy pass rush, as they were tested often last year. The safety spot is the biggest concern, and Giants import...

Minnesota Vikings Predictions

2015 Minnesota Vikings Predictions: 3rd NFC North (2014 record: 7-9) Head Coach: Mike Zimmer NFC North Division Odds: +650 Super Bowl Champion Odds: +4700 Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 8.5 (+140), Under 8.5 (-170) Key Additions: Mike Wallace (WR), Trae Waynes (CB), Adrian Peterson (RB-Back from suspension) Key Losses: Greg Jennings (WR), Matt Cassel (QB) If you thought that the Vikes could be competitive and win seven games without Adrian Peterson for 15 games, then you’re either a fibber or a savant. Either way, this was a different team when they handed the offense over to rookie Teddy Bridgewater. While he didn’t set the world on fire, he was poised and limited his mistakes in most games, giving the team a glimpse into a promising future. Defense Mike Zimmer’s defense improved greatly year over year – slicing nearly nine points per game off of their average (21.4 allowed in 2014). The secondary play was a big reason for the improvement, as safety Harrison Smith blossomed in Zimmer’s scheme, excelling in every facet of the game. Corners Xavier Rhodes and Captain Munnerlyn were outstanding in coverage, and the Vikes made this an even deeper position by drafting one of the top corners available in Trae Waynes. There are some concerns amongst the front seven, though. Linemen Sharrif Floyd and Everson Griffin are solid and will provide good pressure on opposing QBs, but the other spots are lacking as Linval Joseph and the combo of Brian Robison (if healthy) and Scott Crichton have been disappointing. The linebacking corps has one glaring weakness, and that’s the steady and mysterious decline of...

Detroit Lions Predictions

2015 Detroit Lions Predictions: 2nd NFC North (2014 record: 11-5) Head Coach: Jim Caldwell NFC North Division Odds: +615 Super Bowl Champion Odds: +3800 Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 8.5 (+115), Under 8.5 (-145) Key Additions: Haloti Ngata (DT), Ameer Abdullah (RB), Tyrunn Walker (DL) Key Losses: Ndamukong Suh, CJ Mosley, and Nick Fairley (DT), Reggie Bush (RB) The bad news for Lions fans? They lost their top three defensive tackles in the offseason. The good news for Lions fans? They no longer need to deal with the selfishness of Ndamukong Suh or the laziness of Nick Fairley. Coach Jim Caldwell believes in disciplined play and team first attitude – neither of which was displayed by those two players, despite the world of talent that they possess. Defense Signing Ngata was a fantastic move by the Lions. While not as dominant as Suh, he still plays at a very high level and won’t stomp on anyone’s head in the process. Fellow import Walker was brought over from New Orleans to man the other tackle spot. He was a part-timer with the Saints, and a good one, but it remains to be seen whether or not he can be a full-timer. Behind them, the team is dangerously thin as last year’s backup (Mosley) departed as well. The rest of the defense returns basically intact, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Ziggy Ansah and Jason Jones will continue to provide solid backfield pressure form the end spots, though there aren’t any solid backups should either get hurt. The LB unit will be better with Stephen Tulloch returning from a...

Green Bay Packers Predictions

2015 Green Bay Packers Predictions: 1st NFC North (2014 record: 12-4) Head Coach: Mike McCarthy NFC North Division Odds: -300 Super Bowl Champion Odds: +500 Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 10.5 (-180), Under 10.5 (+155) Key Additions: None Key Losses: None It was proven again; Aaron Rodgers is more valuable to his team than any single player in the NFL. The Pack was coasting to a potential championship until Rodgers got hurt in the final game of the season. It was evident that he wasn’t the same player in the playoffs, looking especially hobbled in the loss against Seattle. Forget Brady, Luck, and whomever else the NFL tries throwing at us; Rodgers is the best player in the league, bar none. Defense The defense remains largely unchanged and, for the most part, that’s OK. The biggest issue, however, wasn’t addressed; inside linebacker. Clay Matthews was forced to fill the role due to a lack of talent at the position, and unless a couple of youngsters like Jake Ryan or Carl Bradford can step up, Matthews will play out of position yet again. Moving Matthews back to his outside spot would force the underwhelming Nick Perry back into the reserve role he belongs in. The line and the secondary should be just fine. DT BJ Raji returns after missing all of last year with a biceps tear; he’ll go back to anchoring the interior of the line just fine. The draft added quality depth behind a good secondary; Damarious Russell will be solid in dime packages, while Quinten Rollins will be a solid back up at the CB spot....

Washington Redskins Predictions

2015 Washington Redskins Predictions: 4th NFC East (2014 record: 4-12) Head Coach: Jay Gruden NFC East Division Odds: +1500 Super Bowl Champion Odds: +22,500 Season Win Totals Over-Under Odds: Over 6.5 (+135), Under 6.5 (-165) Key Additions: Terrance Knighton (DL), Chris Culliver (CB), Preston Smith (OLB/DE), Brandon Scherff (OL) Key Losses: Brian Orakpo (LB), Roy Helu (RB) The Redskins organization, at some point, has to believe that the problem with Robert Griffin III isn’t his staff or the players surrounding him; but it’s Griffin himself. Another year, another season of sniping with his coaches and underperforming, despite the immense talent that he possesses. Griffin’s mind and ego appear to be his own worst enemy. DEFENSE: The Redskins improved on this side of the ball last year – though ‘improved’ might be a bit misleading. They went from allowing 30 PPG to 27. Still wretched. While some solid additions were made, an overhaul was necessary and not done. Knighton is one of the rare NTs who can both stuff the run and get to the QB – he’s a solid, mountainous addition to the line. He’ll be joined by fellow imports Stephen Paea and Ricky Jean-Francois, who will both be misused in a 3-4 alignment. The ILB position was problematic last year and there were zero improvements made, meaning even less support against the run. Rookie OLB Smith should be a fine replacement for Orakpo and should team nicely with Ryan Kerrigan forming a solid pass-rushing duo. The secondary looks to consist of Culliver and not much else. D’Angelo Hall is coming off of a torn Achilles – rarely are...