After having two teams in the NFC championship game in 2010, the NFC north for the second consecutive season will not have a member in the championship game again. In a season when all-time team and NFL records were approached or broken it was a silent and disappointing ending for all the teams with high aspirations in the NFC North.
The Detroit Lions were dead in the water before the season began with their non stop off season arrests. Calvin Johnson broke the all-time record for receiving yards with 1,964 yards but his goal was 2,000 yards but he can thank Peanut Tillman for shutting him down in both games against the Bears in both games for not being able to eclipse that milestone. Jim Schwartz seemingly never has regained control of his team since the infamous Harbaugh back slap and yet somehow he still has a job after a finishing 8 game losing streak and 4-12 record.
The Bears problems have been well documented on our site from the offensive line, offensive coaches and offensive execution, but if you had to put your finger on one reason the 10-6 team missed the playoffs would be that their defense couldn’t stop Russell Wilson in the fourth quarter and overtime of the Seahawks game. That result flipped the momentum of both teams sending the Seahawks to the playoffs and the Bears to the offseason and head coaching search.
The Minnesota Vikings were the surprise of the division by far. Most experts and even yours truly had the Vikings at 4-12 at best, but two things happened Christian Ponder started and finished the season stronger than expected even if he was a little shaky in the middle. The real reason as all people know was the incredible recovery from ACL surgery by Adrian Peterson and the really incredible season he had coming just yards away from Eric Dickerson all-time rushing record finishing with 2,097 yards. The Vikings defense was very stubborn all year, but there bug a boo that would seal their demise was the QB position. Ponder was good enough to pull out a season ending win to clinch their playoff spot, but when he was inactive for the Wild Card game Joe Webb proved that he still isn’t ready to lead a franchise at QB and helped to quickly end any and all life of the 2012 Vikings.
The Green Bay Packers have been the class of the NFC North for years even though it’s hard to say that it’s true. Whether it was Farve or Rodgers they have had the best offense in the division for over a decade now, but you can’t win championships when your defense is swiss cheese against every team in the league except the Bears. Somehow the offensive brain trust of the Bears couldn’t figure out a game plan to beat the weak Packers defense, but no fears everyone else did and the final nail in the coffin came last night when after a first quarter INT return for touchdown the Packers had no answer for the 49ers. Aaron Rodgers is great but he cannot single handily carry the Packers every season to the Super Bowl.
All four NFC North teams home before the NFC championship again and they can they only thank themselves for again not addressing their fatal flaws that sent them home for another off season. RIP NFC North you all knew your weakness and never addressed it or overcame them.