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Nov 7, 2012 10:06pm
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There are three very good teams and one not so good team in the NFC North. Ryan Clark Jersey . The Packers, Lions and
Bears were a combined 35-15 and as long as Jay Cutler can say healthy, all three
could make the playoffs in 2012. The Packers must improve on defence, the Bears
must get results from Brandon Marshall and the Lions need to focus on football
and stay out of trouble both on and off the field. I think the best QB in
football resides in the division and thats Aaron Rodgers, but the others are
close behind. GREEN BAY PACKERS:  The Packers won 15 times last year, and they
did that even though the defence gave up more yards in the air than any defence
in NFL history. Now to be fair, you have to realize that in many games the
Packers jumped out to such dominate leads that teams had no choice but to pass
the ball constantly. But it is also clear after watching Detroit light them up
in the last game, and the Giants doing the same in the divisional playoff game,
that improving the pass defence was the top priority here in 2012. The Packers
have two tough home games to start the season; against San Francisco and their
physical style of play, and just four days later against the improved Bears, who
play their opener at home against a weak Colts team and should be riding high.
If Green bay can go 2-0 they will be well on their way again.  An excellent
indicator of an organizations health is continued success in free agency. Teams
that sign a lot of free agents do not believe in their existing personnel. They
do not think they have the players to win, so they seek others. Teams that sign
very few free agent do believe in the present roster and feel the current
players will master the system that is being coached and taught. That is Green
Bay. Only Anthony Hargrove (to help the pass rush) and Jeff Saturday (to replace
Scott Wells on the offensive line) were signed this off-season. That is an
indication of the teams confidence that its problems can be fixed with the
pieces already present, and that kind of continuity is a winning formula. When
Green Bay won its last Super Bowl, they had only 10 regular season wins.  After
15 wins last season, they fell in the playoffs to the Giants. If the Packers
make the playoffs, and they should, they will remember 2011. This is still a
first place team to me, with the potential to go far.  CHICAGO BEARS:  I always
tell people when the questions of money and football are discussed, the starters
on NFL teams are always paid significantly more than back-ups because they are
significantly better football players. Often the drop-off in ability is extreme,
with Player A on top of his game, and Player B still developing as a back-up.
That bit the Bears last season. Without their high-paid starters, they were not
able to effectively compete in what may be footballs toughest division, the NFC
North. After a 7-3 start, the Bears lost five in a row with no Jay Cutler and no
Matt Forte. The Bears have since made good free agency moves to bring in some
insurance on the two star players, with Michael Bush at RB and Jason Chambell at
QB. Bears fans are hoping they dont play much, but if they have to play, they
should be able to keep the Bears competitive. I have two key thoughts about the
Bears.  First, can Brandon Marshall make an impact over 16 games and stay calm
emotionally? Second, is Gabe Carimi the answer at offensive tackle? A number one
pick from two years ago, the Bears need Carimi to emerge as a dominate pass
blocker to handle the pass rush skills of Jared Allen in Minnesota,
Kyle Vanden Bosch in Detroit, and Clay Matthews  in Green Bay. Remember, Cutler
is a pass rush aware QB, so protection is a top issue. The window is closing on
Chicago. Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are all one year older,
and this could be “the year.”  The problems is that the Packers are in the same
division, so I see the Bears finishing second. DETRIOT LIONS:  The Detroit lions
had a very good year last year, not just in winning 10 games,but in how they won
those games with key personnel. Matthew Stafford is for real as a QB. After two
injury-plagued seasons, last year he played in all 16 games and became only the
fourth QB in NFL history to throw for over 5,000 yards.  He joined a class that
includes Dan Marino, Drew Brees and Tom Brady, so that is impressive  and
Stafford is only 23 years old. I was really impressed during the playoff game
against New Orleans on January 7 when the Lions prevailed 45 to 28.  You could
not tell the difference between Stafford and Brees.  Detroit did not have the
defence to compete for a championship, but with the ball they were the equal to
the NFLs No. 1 team on that day. Of the six loses endured by Detroit last year,
five were against playoff teams and one was against the Bears in Chicago when
they still had Jay Cutler at QB. And they have Calvin Johnson signed up for
years to come. At 65” and 235 lbs., Johnson is the most physically intimidating
receiver to play in a long time. Hes like Terrell Owens with maturity and a
better attitude. One on one, maybe only Larry Fitzgerald can compare. The other
major strength on the team is at defensive line. Detroit has eight defensive
linemen that could be starters on other teams. Thats an unmatched level of depth
anywhere in the NFL. Run defence, pass defence, scoring defence and overall
defence are all problems, but the pass rush and creating turnovers (+11) are
not. Trying to pick between Detroit and Chicago is a coin flip.  The noise in
the Ford Field Dome is good for a win or two on its own, but the Bears have
Matt Forte, and the Lions have … well, we dont know yet. But if the Lions can
stay clean in terms of on field injuries and off field idiocy, they could be a
surprise team like the Arizona Cardinals that reached the Super Bowl a few years
go. But, I will say with trepidation, they will finish third in the NFC
North.                                        MINNESOTA VIKINGS:  The key
question with the Vikings is simple 
is this really a bad team or just a bunch
of good players playing badly?  Every team that finished last has to ask that
question. The good news in Minnesota is that last year they lost nine games by
seven points or less. Thats an amazing number of one-touchdown games and the
ultimate Vikings fan would say the team could have been11-5 instead of 3-13. Its
just not that simple.  Christian Ponder is still an unknown element at
quarterback after the Vikings finished 28th in passing offense. 
Adrian Petersons health is another unknown. Even if he is back by mid-season, it
usually take two years two years to regain explosive ability after an ACL
injury.  Without him, there is no 1,000 yard runner on the team, with apologies
to Toby Gerhart. And Percy Harvin is an unknown due to migraine headaches. Last
year they had no 1,000 yard rusher, no 1,000 yard receiver, and Ponder finished
with under 2,000 yards passing. With another 3-13 season, Leslie Frazier may be
the only change considered as you cant fire all the players. It would be tough
to be a veteran Vikings football player.  Antoine Winfield with 13 years,
Kevin Williams with nine years, or Jared Allen with eight.  There has been a lot
of losing and they know the AFC North, with Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and
Jay Cutler, is a tough division. Chances of them ever getting to the Super Bowl
in the next few years before they retire are, well, lets say unlikely.  The
Viking are definitely re-building, and rebuilding teams generally finish
fourth.  Thats where I see the Vikings at the end of the season. James Harrison Jersey . The slugger hit a
tying solo homer with two out in the seventh inning and the Red Sox rallied to
beat the Blue Jays 5-1 on Tuesday night. Ike Taylor Jersey . Catch Manchester City v.
QPR live on TSN2, Sunday at 9:30am et/6:30am pt. City and United are level on
points going into the final round on Sunday, though Citys superior goal
difference means a home win against relegation-threatened Queens Park Rangers
will almost certainly clinch the title for the first time in 44 years. http://www.nikepittsburghsteelersjerseyssale.com/rashard-mendenhall-jerseys
. Its a busy June for the Canadian mens soccer team, starting with Sunday at
Torontos BMO Field when they face the U.S. in a friendly. Ben Roethlisberger Womens Jersey . MacKay,
who originally signed with the Montreal Alouettes, spent two seasons with the
Tiger-Cats before being released this season. Kent, who has spent three of his
four CFL with the Blue Bombers, appeared in 16 regular-season games as well as
the East Division final and Grey Cup last season, finishing third on the team in
tackles (56). Mike Wallace Womens Jersey . Hamilton edged
the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 26-25 in the last pre-season game for both teams.
Ticats quarterback Henry Burris used the first half to make a statement,
marching 81 yards on his first drive while setting the tone and carrying the
ball himself for the touchdown. CALGARY —Renan Barao ran his winning streak to
19 with a unanimous decision over Urijah Faber at UFCs debut in Calgary on
Saturday night. The Brazilian bantamweight outlasted his opponent in the
five-round main event of UFC 149 in front of a sellout crowd at the Scotiabank
Saddledome. “I was well prepared,” said Barao through an interpreter right after
his victory. “Im very happy. Faber is a great athlete.” With the win, Barao now
holds the interim bantamweight title and has put himself in position to take on
current belt holder Dominick Cruz. “Im going to train as hard as I can once
again, as I did for this fight, to have another win,” said Barao (31-1), who ran
his unbeaten streak to 32—he had one fight declared a no contest during that
span—since losing his first professional fight back in 2005. Earlier this
month at UFC 148, Faber was supposed to fight Cruz, who had to bow out due to a
knee injury. Instead, Faber accepted the fight against Barao. “Barao fought a
smart fight,” said Faber, who added that he may have suffered a broken rib early
in the fight. “I also was a little (shaken) up. He got me with a knee.” In what
was billed as the co-main event, middleweight Tim Boetsch earned a
split-decision victory over Hector Lombard, who was making his UFC debut. “I was
glad to give him his first loss though I wasnt too thrilled with how things
went,” Boetsch said. “I landed a few strikes. My foot is a testament to that.
Hector is heavy-handed and a tough fighter. Hes a power striker but I knew that
and was able to put together a good strategy to beat him.” Matthew Riddle kicked
off the main card with a submission win over Chris Clements of London, Ont.
After Riddle executed a perfect arm triangle, Clements tapped out at 2:02 of the
third round. “I tried to give it all I could but I could hardly breathe,”
Clements said. “I couldnt catch my breath and it hurt me in the end.” For his
efforts, Riddle earned Submission of the Night and earned a bonus of US$65,000.
Also on the main card, welterweight James Head won a split decision over Brian
Ebersole, while Cheick Kongo earned a unanimous decision over Shawn Jordan in a
battle of heavyweights. Fans at the SSaddledome expressed their displeasure of
both bouts by reigning down a chorus of boos several times during the action. Ziggy Hood Jersey. During the post-fight
press conference, UFC president Dana White said he wasnt pleased with many of
the fights, especially the one between Kongo and Jordan. “I think that Cheick
Kongo and Jordan pushed against the fence for three rounds and I think that the
ref let them do it,” White said. “This isnt the ultimate clinching championship.
Its the fighting championship.” Edmontons Ryan (Big Deal) Jimmo made a
spectacular statement with his right fist earlier in the night, taking just
seven seconds to knock out Anthony Perosh in their light heavyweight preliminary
round. The quick KO was just one second off of tying the UFC record held by
Duane Ludwig, and it earned Jimmo US$65,000 for Knockout of the Night. In the
main bout of the preliminary card, Calgarys Nick (The Promise) Ring didnt
disappoint his supporters in the capacity crowd, earning a unanimous decision
over Court McGee. “I never felt so much support in my life. I cant thank the
fans enough for cheering me on and giving me that extra bit of energy I needed,”
Ring said. “I gave everything I had out there. Even when I was hurting I kept
going and put it all out there. I was going to keep fighting until the end.” In
other preliminary-round action, Antonio Carvalho of Oshawa, Ont., scored a TKO
victory over Daniel Pineda at the 1:11 mark of the first round of their
featherweight fight. “I guess I do have some fights left in me,” said Carvalho,
who had thought about quitting leading up to his first-ever UFC victory. “Two
weeks ago I thought I was overtraining and I had to stop training for four days.
I asked myself if I wanted to do this and if I had fights left in me.”
Meanwhile, bantamweight Mitch Gagnon of Sudbury, Ont., lost by submission in the
third round to Bryan Caraway. However, it was deemed as Fight of the Night and
both fighters earned $65,000 for their efforts. Also, Edmontons Mitch Clarke
suffered a split-decision loss to Anton Kuivanen in their lightweight fight,
while Winnipegs Roland Delorme was knocked by Francisco Rivera at 4:19 of the
first round of their bantamweight bout. ’ ’ ’ 

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