Willwerth: Breaking Down the NFC

Can Aaron Rodgers lead the Green Bay Packers to five more wins? (Photo Credit: Zimbio.com)

By Brian Willwerth 

A quick overview of the division races in the NFC with five games remaining…


This is a two-team race between the Cowboys and Giants. As of now, Dallas has a one-game lead, but these teams still have to play each other twice down the stretch: the first matchup is in two weeks, the second is the season finale. It will ultimately be those two games that decide the division winner. The other note from the East: Philadelphia [4-7] gets my vote for biggest disappointment in the NFL, at least for the moment.


You know the headline here: will the Packers go undefeated? Their five remaining games are against the Giants, Raiders, Chiefs, Bears and Lions. Three of them are at home. Four of those teams are over [.500], (KC being the exception) so it’s hardly a given that Green Bay will fly through them. The Lions are Bears are both in the thick of the wild card race at [7-4]. They split the head-to-head meetings this season. But Chicago has questions at quarterback, while Detroit will have to play the next two games without Ndamukong Suh, thanks to his “stomping” job against the Packers on Thanksgiving Day.


Here’s another two-team race. The Saints and Falcons are separated by one game. Both teams are peaking at just the right time. New Orleans has already beaten Atlanta in the Georgia Dome (in the “Mike Smith 4th Down Gamble” game.) The second meeting is the day after Christmas on Monday Night Football.

That game could be for the division title.


The 49ers can wrap up the division with a win at home Sunday against the Rams.  San Francisco also has the inside track to a first-round bye. The one game that sticks out on their remaining schedule is a Monday night game against the Steelers on December 19thJim Harbaugh gets my vote for Coach of the Year, though it might be hard to bypass Mike McCarthy if the Packers go undefeated. Remember that tremendous game between the Saints and Packers on opening night? Wouldn’t you love to see a rematch in the NFC Championship game? I hope I’m right.

Thanksgiving Football Prediction: Detroit-Green Bay

Can the Lions hand the Packers their first loss of the regular season on Thursday? We'll see!

By Matt Noonan 

Nobody probably imagined that this would be the game to watch on Thanksgiving. Over the past few seasons, opponents have demolished the Lions on National Television, but this year, I expect quarterback Matthew Stafford to lead his team to victory.

The Lions have registered 25 touchdowns through the air, and have compiled 1,011 rushing yards, while Calvin Johnson leads the receiving core with 974 yards and 11 strikes to the end zone.

Detroit’s offense shouldn’t experience too many problems against a Packers defense that has allowed opponents to rack up at least 22 points per game, and roughly 391 yards of offense. Yet, the biggest issue facing the Lions will be containing quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who leads the league with 31 touchdowns.

FUN FACT – Green Bay’s most recent regular season loss came against Detroit last year when the Lions defeated the Packers, 7-3 at Ford Field. However, I doubt the Lions will hold the Packers to just three points this time around, right?

PREDICTION – Expect the Lions to “get-up” for this one, and even score first. Stafford should toss two touchdowns, while the Lions defense will most likely record one turnover. Detroit 34 – Green Bay 27  

Noonan: The Pack Continue To Impress

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers picked up an impress victory on Monday against the Minnesota Vikings!

By Matt Noonan 

It’s official, Week 10 of the NFL season is in the books, and now, we’re left with seven significant weeks to go. It’s been a topsy-turvy season, but once it’s over, I’m expecting a few more surprises, as well as a title game that should certainly live up to its hype.

Of course, the front-runner at the moment is the Green Bay Packers, a team that has flattened their opponents, and made it look too darn easy. They have a quarterback by the name of Aaron Rodgers, who’s technically on pace to shatter Tom Brady’s record of 50 touchdowns, along with a group of “cheese-heads” that posses speed, endurance, quickness, as well as a defensive linebacker that needs a haircut, (sorry, Clay Matthews, but it’s the absolute truth).

The Packers are destined to win their remaining seven matchups, but against the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, anything’s possible, right?

America won’t be too happy if this season’s Thanksgiving clash between Green Bay and Detroit doesn’t live up to its hype, especially since many thought both squads would enter Ford Field with undefeated records.

However, if the Packers finish the season undefeated, what’s their chances of winning the Super Bowl?

Well, again, they’re the number one squad in the NFC, and I doubt any team could truly challenge or beat them, but again, that’s just an educated guess. I’d presume New Orleans or San Francisco might have the best shot of dethroning the former NFC champs, but again, that’s just a thought.

I’d consider mentioning Chicago, Detroit, Dallas or New York as contenders, but I’m not entirely sure if any of those squads could play consistent football against Green Bay. Sure, they might pressure Rodgers or force the Packers to make a few mistakes, but in the end, Green Bay would most likely prevail.

No one probably assumed that the Packers, excluding themselves, would experience this much success. Green Bay has outscored their opponents this year by a score of 320-186, and leads the conference with 39 touchdowns. They’ve won seven conference matchups, two AFC meetings, three divisional contest, and five road games.

They’re also on pace to shatter Bill Belichick’s ’07 records, and become the second NFL team to cap off a season with no losses, (the Miami Dolphins in ’72 finished their season, 17-0, as well as beat the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl VII), but again, nothing is certain, especially in the NFL.

The Packers have been a great story, but what would make their magical season even more memorable would be winning Super Bowl XLVI, and stretching their current winning streak, which started on December 5, 2010 to 28 games.

NFL 2011: NFC North Predictions

Can Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers win another Super Bowl?

By Matt Noonan 

One of the toughest divisions in the NFL just got a tad bit better. In fact, all four teams will compete against one another, but when it’s all said and done, Chicago and Minnesota should rue the day, while Detroit leaps past them in the standings. Green Bay is most likely the favorite, however, any injuries or Super Bowl hangover could allow the Lions a chance to sneak into the top spot.

1.) Green Bay Packers [11-5] – It’s hard to think that the Packers won’t experience a “Super Bowl” hiccup, but then again, anything’s possible. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is primed to improve this year, as well as build off the success he experienced last year. The Packers also get a few key components back to their offense, tight end Jermichael Finley and running back Ryan Grant, who sustained serious season ending injuries last season. Expect the defense to ramp up their intensity, as well as support their offense too, especially if they’re in trouble, but all in all, the Packers are certainly a lock to make a run toward Super Bowl XLVI.

2.) Detroit Lions [9-7] – The key for the Lions is to remain healthy. Quarterback Matthew Stafford hasn’t finished an entire season, so here’s hope that he, as well as running back Jahvid Best can overcome any bumps and bruises this year. Also, expect their defense to provide loads of pressure on opposing quarterbacks, especially defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.

3.) Chicago Bears [8-8] – Does anyone truly believe that Jay Cutler is a legit quarterback in this league? Seriously, who thinks he’s amazing? Cutler isn’t exactly a leader or Mr. Clutch, but this season, expect him, as well as his Bears teammates to take a step backward. There are injuries and other issues, as well as linebacker Lance Briggs’s “trade drama.” Also, does anyone expect Roy Williams to make a major impact on offense? Overall, it should be another typical year in the “Windy City” for the Bears and their fans.

4.) Minnesota Vikings [6-10] – Who truly believes that Donovan McNabb is the answer for this team? Anyone else believe that Christian Ponder will earn the starting job mid-way through the season? The Vikings have a lot of questions marks on offense and defense, but hopefully first year head coach Leslie Frazier can salvage six or seven wins.