Best Division a Surprise

By Zack Cimini

Coming into the 2004 season there were plenty of divisions that looked up for grabs. But as week two has concluded there is one division in particular that looks very interesting. That division is the NFC North, which will not just be a two headed race as once thought. The Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings will have tough competition with the up and coming Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions.

Everyone knew that the Lions have plenty of talent and will be the future of this division. But that was figured to happen once Brett Favre retired and Joey Harrington got another few years under his belt. It is still extremely early in the season, and who knows both the Lions and Bears could fall off at any given time. The big thing though is that both of these teams will cause chaos to the Vikings and Packers.

The Packers were already shocked last week when the Chicago Bears came into Lambeau Field and beat them with ease. Here is a team with a new starting quarterback in Rex Grossman and a new running back in Thomas Jones. Jones was never given an equal opportunity in Arizona or Tampa Bay, and Chicago brought him in letting him know that he will be the fire in this offense. They want him to be a factor like Priest Holmes, and so far he is living up to those expectations. He has learned to hit the hole better instead of dancing behind the line. This is the type of play the Cardinals expected from him when they used the seventh pick in the draft for him.

Jones could easily be a top eight running back in the league this time next year. The Bears have had a solid young defense throughout the struggles of the last few years, but it has always been the offenses inability to convert any points. Though that could change now that the defense was hit hard the past week with injuries. They lost their starting cornerback in Tillman for seven to ten weeks and Mike Brown for the season. So the offense may need to pick up the defense the rest of the year, but you can bet that Brian Urlacher will have his unit ready to play.

Another player on the Bears team that deserves talk is David Terrell. He has had two solid opening weeks, and is also finally living up to expectations. The main thing with the Bears is they have came in with a new philosophy that all started when the Bears got a new coaching staff. Rex Grossman and company will probably struggle to win six games, but you can bet a lot of their losses will be by seven points or less.

The Lions on the other hand could vie for the division title if Joey Harrington keeps playing like a poised third year starter. He really has surprised a lot of people this year in the way he has been patient in the pocket and his ability to read defenses. A lot of it has to do with his new rookie wide receiver Roy Williams who has been able to get open with ease. You?d think defenses would be able to cover him better with the loss of Charles Rogers but that hasn?t been the case. One thing that?s a big concern about the Lions is they?ve had a couple of easy games against the Chargers and Texans.

You can just see the takeover in this division starting to happen overnight, even though it?ll likely be a season or two.


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