It's always a long summer in anticipation of the new NFL season, but "SportsCenter" has come up with a way to keep your attention aimed between the end zones.
SportsCenter's Ultimate Depth Chart series is debating the best offenses and defenses in each division and picking the best team in each division (Monday through Thursday), then identifying the conference favorite (Friday).
Watch "SportsCenter" and check back each day to see the expert picks as well as the results from SportsNation.
Best offense in the NFC North?
Merril Hoge: Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota has an amazing running game with the addition of Adrian Peterson to a backfield that already featured 1,000-yard rusher Chester Taylor. This team has the potential to have the best rushing attack in the league. Peterson is a special running back who will impact this league from his first game until his last.
Joe Theismann: Green Bay Packers
The Packers were starting to do some good things offensively at the end of last season. That will continue this season with Brett Favre knowing the end is near on his career. His young offensive line is a year older and should be a year better after last season's surprising success protecting Favre. If he gets time, Favre is still one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the league.
Best defense in the NFC North?
Hoge: Chicago Bears
Talk about easy, the Bears are comfortable playing this defense and won't miss defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. Luckily for Chicago, there are several intelligent players on this defense who are mini-coaches on the field, up to and including Brian Urlacher. This is one of the few defenses in this league that is a true difference maker.
There's no question the aggressive Bears defense is tops in this division and possibly in the NFL. This offense knows that if it can put 17 points on the board, the team probably is going home with a win.
Best team in the NFC North?
The Bears will win this division going away. As good as I believe the Vikings rushing attack will be this season, it's still not ready from a quarterback or defensive standpoint. The Packers and the Lions are simply not ready for prime time.
Despite the issues Rex Grossman has had, the Bears are the best in the division. He should be a better quarterback than last season as he got rid of a lot of rust from his injuries and learned how to be an NFL quarterback. The big question mark for this team is at running back: Can the Bears be as successful with Cedric Benson as the lone ball carrier?