How will the QB influx change NFC North?

July, 24, 2009
7/24/09
11:00
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Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

While catching up on the past week, I came across this Sunday Conversation with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers. During an interview with ESPN's Ed Werder, Rodgers noted the arrival of Jay Cutler in Chicago and Matthew Stafford in Detroit -- as well as the possibility of Brett Favre signing with Minnesota -- and suggested a sea change could be coming to the NFC North.

"Having those guys in the mix, and myself, maybe gives us more of an aerial attack, kind of flashy, attractive division instead of the grind-it-out black and blue division," Rodgers said.

Heresy! Blasphemy! The influx of quarterback talent has no doubt changed the dynamic of this division, the extent to which will be one of the most interesting themes of the 2009 season. Chicago coach Lovie Smith, after all, has said he still plans to be a run-first team even after the acquisition of Cutler. The Vikings aren't likely to stray from their reliance on tailback Adrian Peterson, and the Lions aren't certain to start Stafford -- let alone allow him to air it out.

The Packers were the only NFC North team last season that ranked among the NFL's top 20 passing offenses. Chicago was No. 21, Detroit No. 24 and Minnesota No. 25 based on total yards. But the Black and Blue still put up a fair amount of points. In fact, the teams' combined total of 1,441 points in 2008 ranked fourth among the eight divisions.

Do you think we'll see a notable stylistic difference this season? And will in translate into substantially more points? Now's the time to start making projections, and we'll continue this theme throughout the season. Have at it.

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