In week one, the Packers have the stiffest test of any NFC North team, taking on the San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau. But just what should we expect from the other teams around the division? Here's a quick preview of each of the division rivals' games.
Indianapolis Colts @ Chicago Bears (-10), 12:00 PM Central, CBS
Andrew Luck gets his first real taste of the NFL against the Bears' strong but aging defense. It will also be our first chance to see if Chicago's improved receiving corps gels with Jay Cutler, as the Colts' pass defense is less than stellar (31st in the NFL last year in passer rating allowed). The ten-point spread is the second-largest of any game this weekend, behind only the Texans who are favored by 12 at home against the Dolphins.
St. Louis Rams @ Detroit Lions (-7.5), 12:00 PM Central, FOX
This will be another battle of a very good passing offense against a middle of the pack defense. I'm confident that Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and their associates will be able to carve up the Rams. What I'm curious about is whether Sam Bradford can do the same against the Lions' defense, who will likely be missing a starting safety in Louis Delmas and a starting corner in Chris Houston.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Minnesota Vikings (-3.5), 12 PM Central, CBS
This game pits two teams projected to finish near the bottom of the league on week one. Both second-year quarterbacks left much to be desired in their rookie seasons, but Christian Ponder did develop some chemistry with Percy Harvin in the second half. Adrian Peterson isn't 100% and Maurice Jones-Drew is still getting up to speed after his holdout, so the running games will see a heavy dose of Toby Gerhart and Rashad Jennings, respectively. The Vikings have a brutal second half this season, so they'll need to take advantage of every winnable game early on their schedule.
All three of us (me, Kevin, and Devin) picked the Bears and Lions to win their games this week. Kevin and I took the Vikings, while Devin has the Jaguars coming out on top.
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