NFC North: Home of the best players in the world — Part 1

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Updated: February 28, 2013
They don't come much better than Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, who together with his partner Tim Jennings has dominated the league in recent years.

They don’t come much better than Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, who together with his partner Tim Jennings has dominated the league in recent years.

There’s an old saying that no matter how beautiful a woman might be, some man somewhere is sick of taking her crap. I’m still waiting for Justin Verlander to break it off with Kate Upton so that we both can can play with something new and shiny for a little while.

Whether we like it or not, familiarity breeds contempt. Nowhere is this more true than among football fans.

We have a tendency to take for granted the amazing feats we have the privilege of witnessing on the NFL gridiron. As we plop ourselves down on our plush furniture and turn on our overpriced big screen TVs to watch the teams we’ve been talking about for the past five months, it’s easy to forget just how talented these players are. Because we are accustomed to seeing our team’s players week in and week out, we end up feeling more impressed with the exploits of the opposing teams’ players than our own.

Fans of the NFC North may be more prone to this affliction than fans of any other division, because the North is arguably the only division so packed with talent that, no matter which team we watch, we are probably seeing at least one player on the field who is among the best at his position.

That may sound like an audacious claim, but just take a look at the players these teams are stocked with.

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears are loaded with above-average talent at multiple positions. Quarterback Jay Cutler, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, running back Matt Forte, and kicker Robbie Gould are all very talented players but may not be ranked in the top five at their positions.  Nevertheless, Bears fans are spoiled, in that they get to see the best in the game at three positions every Sunday.

Lance Briggs

In my opinion, Lance Briggs is the best 4-3 outside linebacker in the entire NFL. His myriad accomplishments include being selected to the Pro Bowl seven times and the All-Pro team  three times. That is no mean task.

Julius Peppers

A premier 4-3 defensive end, Julius Peppers might not be the best in the NFL, but there is no doubt that he is still a key target on every opposing teams’ offensive game plan. They constantly have to account for his location and limit his abilities. He produced a quiet 12.5 sacks last season.

Tim Jennings/Charles Tillman

I think that Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman are a top-three cornerback tandem. Jennings lead the league in interceptions last year and Tillman punched so many balls out of offensive players’ hands that Lance Armstrong became insanely jealous.  On top of their superior ballhawking skills, they were also great in coverage all season.

Although they are by no means the best-liked players in the league Detroit Lions defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley continue to terrorize opposing offenses.

Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions have been an extremely inconsistent team over the past three to five seasons. They tease their fans into believing they’re close to becoming perennial playoff contenders; then they finally make the playoffs, only to drop back to a top-ten draft position the following season. Every season fans endure the pain of realizing they overestimated the talent on this roster. Even so, there is at least one Detroit player who is unquestionably the best at his position and a few others who are in the discussion.

Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson is the obvious choice because he is, in fact, the best wide receiver in the game today. He demands more coverage every Sunday than an albino redheaded stepchild at the beach in Mexico. He has every tool that could possibly be desired in a receiver — the height, the speed, the jump skill, the route running, the big-play ability, the game-closing moves, the awareness, and most importantly, the passion. Even if his contract does cripple their salary cap, Detroit doesn’t have a choice but to pay this man.

Matthew Stafford

Fans love to take shots at quarterback Matthew Stafford because he needs a bra and he acts like a “bro.” What cannot be taken away from him is the fact that he is a gunslinger. He very much reminds me of Brett Favre in that he doesn’t always have the best accuracy, but he does have a cannon, the ability to make any eligible receiver look good, and infectious fourth-quarter charisma. Stafford has fired the pigskin 1,390 times in the past two seasons for 10,005 yards. I am sure that about 28 other teams would love to have a quarterback who averages 7.19 yards per attempt.

Ndamukong Suh/Nick Fairley

The defensive tackle duo of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley could be one of the top-three in professional football. No matter how much fans may hate them, they get the job done every Sunday. They intimidate, they dominate, and they punish the offensive lines in front of them. I don’t know how often a pair of defensive tackles combines for 13.5 sacks (B.J. Raji and Cullen Jenkins of the Green Bay Packers did so in 2010), but I do know that I do not look forward to Suh and Fairley having 60 or more chances per game to end Aaron Rodgers’ career.

To be continued

Tomorrow we’ll round out this series by profiling the amazing players who stock the rosters of the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings.

About the author

Himself a veteran of the gridiron, Water Cooler Sports Network columnist Jacob Vincent is noted for his fiery, passionate writing style when analyzing the triumphs and foibles of players on the football field. A lifelong Green Bay Packers fan, he has been forced to live with his wife and children in the state of Iowa. He can be reached for questions, comments, or suggestions for articles at .

372 comments
El Oso Blanco
El Oso Blanco

I just got a hook up on official Falcons gear from the Dome! I got a rug that was in the players lounge, some flags and banners that were hung around the dome, and some Falcons t-shirts. This day is awesome!

thebaskett
thebaskett

Also the Williams Bros made it to consecutive Pro Bowls together in 2006-2008 (not that probowls mean much anymore)

thebaskett
thebaskett

this is going back but Johnny Randle and Mr Ball and 18.5 sacks in 95

JVince 11
JVince 11 moderator like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Well gentlemen.... Tomorrow morning at 6:30 am... my wife is being induced and my 2nd child and 1st son will be born at some point.... I am taking all of next week off of work so I won't be on here...


Wish me luck gentlemen... 


and most of all... You are dick leafs.

Borderline Football Brilliant
Borderline Football Brilliant

 

I let you know if woody comes up with any new arguments.

JVince 11
JVince 11 moderator

  I have like 5 articles in the que too.. my OL article will blow everyone's mind and everyone will respect OL instantly.

JVince 11
JVince 11 moderator

  Jaxon Vincent... We are going to call him Jax for short...


my wife has no idea that it is actually my favorite Mortal Kombat character.

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused moderator like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

 

I expect to see pictures of your newborn son in an Affliction Onesie.

Buhlitz
Buhlitz like.author.displayName 1 Like

ROFL

JVince 11
JVince 11 moderator like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

 Is that Rourke?

LambeauOrWrigley
LambeauOrWrigley

  A pot gun?  Not bad.  This is pretty smart.  No fucking way Rourke is this smart!

___pb___
___pb___

 Hell, no. I'd get someone else to fire the cannon.

adambballn
adambballn like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

   No... that guy is wearing a shirt.

adambballn
adambballn

     Awh... so the cops don't recognize him!  Smart!

adambballn
adambballn

 I don't quite understand this article... I had a roommate that is a pilot in the Navy here in San Diego.  He had explained to me that all pilots have a certain amount of flight they are required to do on a monthly basis to keep their skills fresh.  I asked him about the flyovers once and he told me they were at no additional cost to the military because the pilots just used the time during the flyovers towards their already mandated training hours?

Maized and Confused
Maized and Confused moderator

 

That's a lot of Jet fuel burned up, though.

adambballn
adambballn

   But either way they're burning it up... they have to fly.  He's a helicopter pilot and he would tell me stories about how he'd fly up to Black's Beach (nude beach here) at night (lot's of the gays gather there...) and turn on his spot light to fuck with the people on the beach... what's a bigger waste?

adambballn
adambballn

    He had his whole crew on the helicopter... you can't fly those things with one guy.

JVince 11
JVince 11 moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

 I just think of Behind Enemy Lines... bad ass plane scene being chased by the missiles. 

Buhlitz
Buhlitz like.author.displayName 1 Like

Wow. I've been a PC gamer all my life and I just learned today, on a football website, that madden is available for the PC.

That being said, fuck that shit. Madden is meant for consoles.

JVince 11
JVince 11 moderator

 I think 08 might have been the last year... I cna't find any newer ones than that... Vince Young killed the PC Madden games.

Buhlitz
Buhlitz

Anyone got borderlands 2 for the PC here?

nvm, you're all poor console gamers. I'm sorry I asked

trololol

JVince 11
JVince 11 moderator

 for the PC?


whoa... you are one of those guys?


I had a college roommate who had Madden for he PC every year.. and would play with a joystick...


it completely fucked with my mind every time I saw it.

Buhlitz
Buhlitz

  Lol there is madden for the PC? Dafuq

Bro Montana
Bro Montana like.author.displayName 1 Like

 No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Bro Montana
Bro Montana

Which explains why you talk about him incessantly