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Sunday, August 31, 2008

NFC North Preview Part Two

Here is part two of the NFC North preview. To see part one of the NFC North preview or both parts of the NFC East preview just scroll down.

3. Detroit Lions-Projected Record 7-9, third in NFC North.

Quarterback: Jon Kitna is similar in my mind to Jeff Garcia. The guy is good, but by no means great. The difference between him and Garcia is that Kitna will put up better fantasy numbers because he has a couple of great weapons to throw to. But while Jon Kitna may lead your fantasy team to victories, I sincerely doubt Kitna leads the Lions to enough wins stay at 500.

Running Back: Kevin Smith is a guy I am extremely high on for fantasy purposes because he is a rookie so you can draft him late, and rookie running backs are the most likely position players to succeed in their rookie year. Plus, Smith only has to compete with Tatum Bell, who is a talented guy but not a threat to steal many carries. After Bell the team doesn't have another true running back on the roster, so they must think highly of Smith. However, he is still a rookie so this could be a position of weakness for the team.

Wide Receivers: With the amount of draft picks spent on this position by the Lions over the last few years they should have about five pro bowlers. While that isn't the case, I truly believe they will have two this year in Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson. If this team makes the playoffs it will be because of these two. Shaun McDonald and Mike Furrey are both decent as well.

Tight End: Michael Gaines is a journeyman that has been around the league for awhile, and that is not a good thing. He'll make a few good blocks here and there, but he's not going to catch many balls and he isn't going to win the team any games.

Offensive Line etc...: Honestly, their offensive line could really struggle this year. I truly don't think they have the right mix of guys up front to be competitive against even average defensive lines. As far as their defense, they were better before they got rid of a few players, now they are average at best. As far as special teams, Mike Furrey is expected to return kicks, and he is like a poor mans Wes Welker.

4. Chicago Bears- Projected Record 4-12, last in NFC North.

Quarterback: Rex Grossman and Kyle Orton. Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman. Yeah, need I say more?

Running Back: Cedric Benson was their leading rusher (which isn't saying much) and he's gone, which means.... Another rookie running back, as the teams in this division seem to all hoping for the Adrian Peterson experience to work for them. Matt Forte is a decent back, but I'm not as sold on him as Kevin Smith. Fantasy wise he is in a similar situation, there just isn't anyone to compete with him, but I'm just not sure he is as talented. I will admit I still drafted him in a league or two because I am a risk taker, but he is really a wild card at this point.

Wide Receiver: Not only did they lose their leading rusher, but they also lost their leading receiver in Bernard Berrian. Again, that's not saying much, but unless Devin Hester becomes an All Pro (don't count on it, there is a reason he is a corner back) this team is severly lacking options.

Tight End: Here could be the lone bright spot on this offense. I do believe Greg Olsen will do well this year, and he could be the guy that is the key to any type of offense they may muster. Right now he is behind the somewhat talented Desmond Clark, but I don't expect that to stick.

Offensive Line etc...: They have a decent offensive line, but it's getting old. It won't matter much with the talent positions being as weak as they are. Their special teams may outscore their offense this year, it really wouldn't surprise me. That being said, I'm going to say something that will shock and awe here. Devin Hester is overrated as a kick returner. Sure, he makes a few electrifying plays, but he also fumbles away way to many kicks. As far as defense, they are still one of the best, but they are getting old and this could be the year they start to decline.

White Hat Sports fantasy league drafts tomorrow night, stay tuned for the coverage of it. I'll also try to get out the beginning of the NFC South preview this coming week.

~Aaron Jackson

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