So the 2008 regular season is in the books and only one NFC North team is still alive to tell the tale.
I'm pretty confident heading into the 2009 season. In 2008, the Packers outscored their opponents by 39 points but managed a losing record. Teams with similar scoring differentials, such as Chicago and Tampa Bay, finished with 9-7 records. The Packers played better than their record would indicate, and did it with an awful run defense. There is no need to shake up the front office or the coaching staff. Just reload on the defensive line, rebuild the run defense, and take another shot at 13-3 in 2009.
Chicago will be competitive next season, but there is no guarantee that they will get any better:
The reason why I point this out is due to the numerous holes we have on our team. As I sit here writing, I can count QB, backup RB (no, AP is not the answer), WR, OL, NT, SLB, CB, S. Unfortunately, Lovie and Jerry have also established quiet offseasons at Halas Hall. Remember when we signed Moose? It was considered a big acquisition. That’s a problem with a team that has so many holes as we do...
I’m happy that our team did so well compared to expectations, but now I want to see management bolster our roster and get rid of waste. Hopefully Jerry and Lovie will make some drastic changes over the offseason. At this point, I just want to see some action. Here's hoping, anyways.
In Detroit, the end of the season ended with a lot of disappointing news. First the 0-16 record, then the announcement of the new management team:
The Detroit Lions fired head coach Rod Marinelli today and promoted Tom Lewand and Martin Mayhew...
I'll obviously have more on all of these moves in the future, but until then I will just say that I am furious with the promotion of Lewand and Mayhew. Both are from the Millen era and need to be relieved of their duties as well. No offense to Mayhew especially, but it's time to get some new faces in the front office. Does anyone honestly believe that he and Lewand will be able to turn Detroit into a contender...
Obviously things are sunny in Minnesota this week:
THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS ARE THE 2008 NFC NORTH DIVISION CHAMPIONS!!
And they earned it by going out and doing what they needed to do. They didn't "back in," and they didn't wait for Chicago to lose (even though it was pretty nice that they did). . .nope, they won their game, and they got into the post-season.
And as a Packer fan, I'm here to throw a little rain on their parade. The NFC North title almost guarantees that QB Tarvaris Jackson will be the QB next season, and Brad Childress will return as head coach. I don't expect either of them to have any long term success. Also, RB Adrian Peterson has been pushed dangerously close to the Curse of 370. More about it here. Since he's currently at 363 carries, he will obviously blow through the mark when you include playoff carries, but the curse is about what happens to a running back after he has over 370 carries during 16 regular season games. It's no guarantee that Peterson will fall off a cliff in 2009, but there is a legitimate reason for concern.