The NFC North is an interesting division and one that I can say I know very well (as a fan of one of it's residents). Green Bay has been the toast of the division ever since Aaron Rodgers emerged as the starting QB of the Packers. The Chicago Bears have had a few playoff "glimmers" during that time as have the Lions and Vikings respectively. All 4 teams made off season moves that give their fans reason for hope. Let's tackle the questions that exist.
Can Green Bay's defense step back to the front of the cart and help Aaron Rodgers and the offense pull the proverbial wagon to the top of the NFC "Norse"? There is no coincidence that the Packers don't strike the same fear in the hearts of the opposition as they use to. There is NO question that Aaron Rodgers is not amongst the Top tier quarterbacks in the game today but does his team rely on him to do TOO much? The emergence of Eddie Lacy gives Green Bay a reliable rushing threat to take some of the weight off of Rodgers but he is still asked to compensate for a defense that has fallen off of the table since their Super Bowl run of 4 years ago. They are now a team that can be had if Rodgers isn't playing absolutely out of his mind. They do have some talented young players that can improve and should improve but I won't buy into the Julius Peppers hype like he's the 2nd coming to the Reggie White signing (God rest his soul). Peppers does add another pass rushing element (though he's expected to play outside linebacker at the age of 34 after having his hand in the dirt his entire football life) to go alongside Clay Matthews but the question is will he disappear for stretches of games like he did with Chicago the past few seasons? The secondary has been a mess and rookie safety Ha-Ha Clinton Dix should help and possibly give a playmaking element that's been missing since injuries ran Charles Woodson out of town. I still think Green Bay can be a threat to win the division but it would have to be a perfect storm of them doing everything right and their improved division foes absolutely collapsing. The loss of Aaron Rodgers almost cost them their season and I'm not sure how confident fans are about the guys competing to back him up. Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien don't exactly strike fear in the hearts of opposition so Green Bay's shaky offensive line play will have to make sure to keep #12 safe for 16 games (even more if they make the playoffs).