Why the Vikings are still the favorites in the NFC North

I really want to believe that the Bears, powered by the strong arm of Jay Cutler, will win the NFC North this year.

It’s hard to force myself to believe this, though. Yes, it’s a fairly weak division. But I still think the Vikings, though they’re certainly not Super Bowl contenders, are still the smarter choice to win the division.

Here’s why: The Vikings have a good, tough defense. They have arguably the game’s most explosive running back. And if Brett Favre plays for them this year, they’ll have a quarterback who is just good enough.

The Bears meanwhile, still have a lot of question marks. Yes, Jerry Angelo did fill some holes, most notably with Cutler, finally acquiring a quarterback that defensive backs will fear. But remember, that Bears defense has been lousy since the SuperBowl year. Brian Urlacher appears to be winding down. Mike Brown is gone, with not much talent to replace him.

I’m still not sold on Matt Forte, either. Yes, he had a solid rookie season. But he wore down terribly as the season went on. And he’s more of a solid back when he’s on. He’s not a gamebreaker.

Then there are the receivers. Simply put, this is a terrible group. Devin Hester is not a number-one receiver, no matter how many times Lovie Smith says he is. And we’re relying on Earl Bennett? The same Earl Bennett who caught exactly zero passes last season?

I’m sorry, but there are too many holes on these Bears.