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Who will Jay Cutler throw to in 2012?
2011 record: 8-8
Biggest need: Big-play receiver
The Bears' 2011 season tanked due to unlucky, late-season injuries. Their offseason approach shouldn't be affected by bad luck. The passing game needs to be a focus, however, by way of capitalizing on Jay Cutler's strong, accurate arm and creating more "chunk" plays off play action. Offensive coordinator Mike Tice has openly prioritized acquiring a No. 1 receiver, and the Bears may need two new starters with Johnny Knox returning from surgery to stabilize his vertebra.
Paul Sakuma / AP
Detroit's main priority should be protecting Matthew Stafford's blind side.
2011 record: 10-6
Biggest need: Franchise left tackle
The Lions have seen the best of Jeff Backus, and it's time to address the future of the left tackle position as Detroit's long-time starter rehabs a torn biceps muscle while entering what would be his age-35 season. (Backus is also a free agent.) Quarterback Matthew Stafford was lucky to make it through 16 games in 2011; he suffered a midseason high ankle sprain and late-year broken finger. The Lions will also attend to their secondary, which has been an ongoing weakness.
Green Bay Packers
Jeffrey Phelps / AP
Can any Packer except Clay Matthews provide a consistent pass rush?
2011 record: 15-1
Biggest need: Pass rush
The Packers had the NFL's best regular season record, but late-year losses to the Chiefs and Giants exposed deficiencies. Clay Matthews is Green Bay's only legitimate pass rusher, and on offense the running game's performance could be described as pedestrian at best. An explosive playmaker in the backfield would diversify the Packers' offense and restore it as the most dangerous in the league. G.M. Ted Thompson's team also must find a weak-side edge rusher.
Jim Mone / AP
If Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder is to have any chance as an NFL starter, he needs a better line.
2011 record: 3-13
Biggest need: Left tackle
Dating back to Florida State, Christian Ponder has been injured in some form in each of the past three seasons. While solutions at wideout, cornerback, safety, and linebacker are necessary for Minnesota to compete in the NFC North, the Vikings' No. 1 priority must be to upgrade Ponder's protection. Incumbent left tackle Charlie Johnson can transition smoothly to guard. The Vikes will give USC's Matt Kalil and Iowa's Riley Reiff long looks before they pick No. 3 overall in the draft.
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