Holes for potential NFC contenders

Weaknesses that Bears, Cowboys and Giants must fix in 2013

Originally Published: January 8, 2013
By Vince Verhei | Football Outsiders
Brandon Marshall Leon Halip/Getty ImagesBrandon Marshall needs some help at wide receiver for the Chicago Bears.

When the final Sunday of the NFL's regular season began, the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants all held out hope that they might win a playoff spot. Alas, it was not meant to be, as all three squads missed the postseason, yielding to the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins. As the disappointed trio approach free agency and the draft, it's time to look at the biggest holes on their rosters, the spots that cost them a playoff berth in 2012 and/or where a key player could leave in 2013. For two of these clubs, the biggest hole is on defense, but we'll start with an NFC North team that could really use some playmakers.

Chicago Bears

Biggest need: All the receivers they can find

How much do the Bears lean on Brandon Marshall? The team had 493 pass attempts in 2012 (not including spikes or throwaways), and Marshall was targeted on 198 of them. That's more than 40 percent of the team's targets to one man. No other receiver in the league collected a bigger share of his team's targets, and only Indianapolis' Reggie Wayne (32 percent) and Cincinnati's A.J. Green (30 percent) topped the 30 percent threshold.