Who knew that a throw-away line Tuesday would spark such debate over what kind of "top secret and highly explosive" project I was working on. I thoroughly enjoyed your suggestions and only wish I had read them before I started.
Alas, Tuesday's project will publish Wednesday: A midseason Stock Watch that is sure to capture your attention for at least several minutes. We'll examine the performance of each NFC North team during the first half of the season and assess their outlooks for the remainder. I would like this week's "Have at It" to serve as a companion to the project.
Simply put, who will win the NFC North this season? The Green Bay Packers (6-3) and Chicago Bears (5-3) are separated by a half-game after nine weeks of action. The Minnesota Vikings have stumbled to a 3-5 start but have consecutive games upcoming against the Bears and Packers. We shouldn't totally rule out the Detroit Lions at 2-6, but the clouded future of quarterback Matthew Stafford makes it difficult to include them in this discussion.
There are any number of ways to consider the possibilities. Below, I'll toss out one compelling statistic per team to get the conversation going.
Chicago Bears: Although they have played one less game than some NFL teams, the Bears rank second overall with 20 takeaways.
Green Bay Packers: Thanks to a shutout of the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys' seven-point output Sunday, the Packers are giving up an average of 15.9 points per game. That ranks second in the NFL.
Minnesota Vikings: After committing 19 turnovers and creating 10 takeaways, the Vikings have the NFL's second-worst ratio at minus-9. Imagine how much different their first half could have been, or their second half could be, if they protect the ball better.
Give me your thoughts in the comments section below. I'll publish a representative sample, along with my own take, by the end of the week.