Commentary

ESPN The Magazine: NFC North preview

Jay Cutler could help the Bears become an 11-win team in 2009

Updated: September 1, 2009, 8:05 AM ET
By ESPN The Magazine staff
Getty ImagesIt could be another playoff appearance for Brian Urlacher and the Bears this season.

These division previews appear in the Sept. 7 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

Check out each division previewed here:

NFC

EAST | NORTH | SOUTH | WEST

AFC

EAST | NORTH | SOUTH | WEST

Projected order of finish

1. Chicago Bears (11-5)

Even with Jay Cutler's arrival, the offense is average at best. But that's enough to make the Bears Super Bowl contenders, as long as the special teams stays excellent and the 22nd-ranked pass rush improves (new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli should help there).

2. Minnesota Vikings (9-7)

No matter who starts at QB, the Vikings are contenders, thanks to a stout offensive line and a guy nicknamed "All Day." The defense can dominate (24.3 yards allowed per drive in 2008, ranked No. 4 in the NFL) but winning the NFC North hinges on when or if the four-game suspensions of the Williams Wall (Pat and Kevin) go into effect.

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