Three Cups Deep: The NFC North, Rampant

>> 1.17.2011

27 September 2010: Green Bay Packers WR, Greg Jennings(85) leaps but can't catch an Aaron Rodgers pass during their 20-17 loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago, IllinoisGoing into the season, we knew the Lions had to climb a taller mountain than 28 other NFL teams. That mountain wasn’t their lack of talent, but their division: the NFC North.  With the young, talented Packers set to explode, the Vikings returning the quarterback that got them within a play of the Super Bowl, and the Bears spending millions on new coaches and players in a last shot to save Lovie Smith’s job, the Lions’ quest to improve was a mighty task, indeed. Of course, the Vikings’ season didn’t go quite as expected—but the Bears’ mad scientistry catalyzed, and the Packers survived a rash of injuries. Now, two NFC North teams will meet in the NFC Championship game, for the right to play for the Lombardi trophy.

It kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? The Lions went 1-3 against these two teams—but had one win taken away from them by the referees, and the other two were heartbreaking fourth-quarter losses.  Now, we see that they’re two of the NFL’s “Final Four.”  It’s hard to put into words just how much better these Lions were this year than last, and than the squad from two years ago.  Just imagine if the Lions were as lucky with injuries as the Bears—on whose roster not a single player was listed as hurt . . . maybe the Lions would be playing this week, instead of the Packers or Bears.

. . . on a meta note: we’re rounding the corner into full offseason mode here, which DOESN’T mean less output, but output of a different sort.  CBA stuff is going a mile a minute right now; I’m writing as fast as I can stay on top of it.  There’ll be an important post later today about what the NFLPA is up to.  For year-end stuff, I’m trying to chop up tape for a new, improved, Old Mother Hubbard

What I’m getting at here is that there’s a lot of stuff coming down the pipe, so stay tuned to this space.  Also, stay tuned over at Press Coverage, for non-Lions writing of mine.


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