Bears will lean on running game, defense
The Bears are the clear favorites in the NFC North, but a refocused Vikings team could emerge as a threat.
New Minnesota coach Brad Childress has a great roster on paper and the Vikings were very active in free agency. But will they jell? New Detroit head coach Rod Marinelli is a tough guy who will bring discipline to a non-disciplined team. But will that be enough, even with a pretty talented roster? Green Bay still has Brett Favre, but the Packers also have a rookie head coach and marginal personnel on both sides of the ball.
This division should be dominated by the talented Bears and 2005 NFL Coach of the Year Lovie Smith. We will know early how the NFC North will shake out as Chicago opens the season with Green Bay, Detroit and Minnesota. The Bears should win the division, but Minnesota is very dangerous and Detroit and Green Bay are capable of playing better than expected, which adds up to a very competitive race in 2006.
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Scouts Inc. goes inside the offseason for each team, looking at key additions and losses and predicting the order of finish in each division.
• AFC East: Dolphins closing on Pats
• AFC South: Colts remain on top
• AFC North: Palmer key for Bengals
• AFC West: Broncos clear favorites
• NFC East: NFL's toughest division?
• NFC South: Pieces in place for Panthers
• NFC North: Defense should lift Bears
• NFC West: Seahawks still soaring