To Win NFC North
Picks and Preview
If Aaron Rodgers plays in all 16 Games, there’s no question who is going to win the NFC North. That’s evident in the odds listed below. The Packers were just -120 last year, while the Bears actually had the second-best odds at +320. Considering the Packers are expected to be as good, or even better, than a year ago, it’s up to the other three teams to dethrone Green Bay, who has now won Four straight division titles.
Odds to win NFC North
Green Bay Packers -300 (field wins +260)
Detroit Lions +600
Minnesota Vikings +600
Chicago Bears +2000
There isn’t a lot to say about the Green Bay Packers this year, other than that if they miss the Super Bowl again, it will be a major disappointment. This team didn’t have to do a whole lot in the offseason – outside of re-signing their players – and for good reason. The Packers finished with 12 wins last year and they should be around that number again with a dominant passing attack led by Rodgers and Eddie LAcy beasting through defenses. Their defense got the job done as well last season, although that area can still improve for this team. If they can stay healthy on defense, especially at nose tackle, it’s hard to see them giving up this division to any of the other teams.
The Detroit Lions have been in the hunt for the NFC North the last couple years, but they just haven’t been able to get over that hump and overtake the Packers. And right now, it doesn’t look like they’ll have that needed edge yet again. Their offense remains mostly the same, and should improve after a disappointing 2014 campaign, as long as Calvin Johnson stays healthy. The differeNCe is that the Lions probably won’t be as good on the defensive end after allowing 282 points in 2014. They lost both NDamukong Suh and Nick Fairley and that impact changes the entire look of the defense. Teams should have an easier time running on them and that could also hurt the secondary, which isn’t a strong suit. Detroit did pick up Haloti NGAta, but he has some big shoes to fill and is already at the end of his career. The Lions may be better on offense, but with a worse defense, this doesn’t look like the team that can take down the Packers.
The Minnesota Vikings are a hot ticket to make the playoffs this year and are looking like a solid bet, given their odds. While they may not win the NFC North, this is a team that can grab a wild-card spot. Teddy Bridgewater should be improved and with Adrian Peterson in tow, they are set to be a real contender in the NFL. The Vikings defense was already a solid unit in 2014 and they should be even better this season. If linebacker Eric Kendricks can pick up the Game quickly, there are pieces at the other positions to make this group a viable force. Now it only depends on what Bridgewater can do in his second season.
There isn’t much that needs to be said about the Chicago Bears. Their offense can Scorepoints, but Jay Cutler will always be a gunslinger that turns over the ball too much. Not to mention losing Brandon Marshall won’t be easy for him. Throw in one of the worst defenses in the league and the odds are long for the Bears. It’s funny because they were +320 with the second-best odds to win the division last season with close to the same team.
The Packers were at -120 in a similar spot last year, but that number is now at -300 for good reason. It’s hard to see any other team winning the NFC North unless Aaron Rodgers gets hurt. And even then, it’s not a given the Lions or Vikings will be able to grab that opportunity.