The NFC North has had a different winner in the last three seasons and the trend could be set to continue this year, with the division shaping up to be one of the closest in the NFL. The Green Bay Packers reached the NFC Championship Game in January, but there’s precious little feel-good factor in Wisconsin, amid rumors Aaron Rodgers was upset by the team’s decision to use its first-round pick to draft a quarterback. The Minnesota Vikings, who also reached the playoffs last season, are the bookmakers’ favorites to wrestle the NFC North title away from Green Bay, while the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions will be looking to rebound after a largely disappointing 2019 season.
Here’s what to expect from the NFC North ahead of the upcoming NFL season.
All odds are courtesy of DraftKings.
The Vikings offseason began disappointingly with the loss of star wideout Stefon Diggs to the Buffalo Bills, but general manager Rick Spielman bid his time brilliantly to land Yannick Ngakoue in a trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Pairing Ngakoue with star defensive end Danielle Hunter should give Minnesota’s defensive line a huge boost, while in Kirk Cousins Minnesota has the only quarterback to throw at least 25 touchdowns in the last five straight seasons. The Vikings have enough talent on both sides of the ball to reach the playoffs again and even clinch a first NFC North title since 2017, particularly if they can improve on the woeful 0-4 record against divisional rivals they put up last season.
- Odds to win the NFC North: 8/5
- Odds to win the Super Bowl: 25/1
Green Bay Packers
Will the Packers go one better than last season and reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2010 or is trouble brewing in Green Bay after the Packers risked upsetting Aaron Rodgers by trading up to draft quarterback Jordan Love? Selecting the former Utah State alumnus has started the countdown clock on Rodgers’ spell in Green Bay—of the 41 quarterbacks selected in the first round since the Packers drafted Rodgers in 2005, 40 were named starters within two years—and the veteran quarterback, who turns 37 in December, has already admitted he may not retire as a Packer. Adding insult to injury, the Packers didn’t draft a wide receiver in the draft, failing to provide Rodgers with the help he’s been crying out for in a position where Green Bay lacks depth. Will Rodgers carry the team on his back to prove the Packers front office wrong or will it all unravel in spectacular fashion?
- Odds to win the NFC North: 9/5
- Odds to win the Super Bowl: 28/1
Having declined to pick up the fifth year option on Mitchell Trubiksy’s contract, the Bears have stuck with the second overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft as their quarterback heading into the 2020 season. After a difficult 2019, however, Trubisky will be looking over his shoulder, particularly after Chicago signed Nick Foles to be his back-up and there is a feeling the Super Bowl LII MVP will eventually get the starting job at some stage this year. On the defensive side of the ball, Chicago remains a potential top-5 team but success this year hangs on its quarterback.
- Odds to win the NFC North: 19/5
- Odds to win the Super Bowl: 40/1
Last season highlighted how reliant on Matthew Stafford the Lions are. With its quarterback in the team, Detroit went 3-4-1 in the opening half of the season, before an injury ended Stafford’s season and the Lions went 0-8. Stafford is back under center this year and keeping him healthy will be crucial to Detroit’s hopes of improving a record that stands at just nine wins in 32 games in two seasons under Matt Patricia, under whom the Lions have looked like lacking a sense of direction. On a more positive note, rookies Jeff Okudah, the third overall pick of the draft, and D’Andre Swift could have an immediate impact.
- Odds to win the NFC North: 11/2
- Odds to win the Super Bowl: 60/1
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