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Sports Illustrated's Don Banks previews NFL, discusses Aldon Smith suspension

Aug 28, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy (left) and general manager Ted Thompson (right) talk to Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid (center) before game at Lambeau Field. Image by Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Sports Illustrated's Don Banks previews NFL, discusses Aldon Smith suspension

By Matt Trebby. CREATED Aug 29, 2014

Don Banks covers the NFL for Sports Illustrated, which means he is about to get even more busy.

There has not been a shortage of news this off-season, and that has continued to this point with the regular season looming.

The biggest news from Friday was the nine-game suspension of 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith. Banks explained Smith isn't the only significant loss suffered by San Francisco's defense.

"It's certainly going to bee a challenge for San Francisco, because it's certainly compounded by the loss of Navarro Bowman," Banks said. "When you take Smith and Bowman out of the lineup for at least half the season now, that's a blow."

While many say the Seahawks are unlikely to repeat as champions because of the difficulty of the task in the NFL, Banks admits Seattle looks like the class of the league still.

"It certainly didn't look that way from the preseason," Banks said. "They look like a machine when they were really trying to play this preseason."

If the Packers are going to win the NFC this season, Banks said fans will have to hope it's because the reigning champions become content.

"If you're a Packers fan, the best hope you have is history, and that it's very difficult to get up to the same motivational level," Banks said.

In the NFC North, Banks does see the Packers finishing on top of the division.

"I do not like Detroit. I think the Lions are going to underachieve once again," Banks said. "I struggle every year believing in the Bears. I like the offense, but I see that secondary as a real weak spot."

Listen to the rest of the interview in the audio player above the story.