After successive mediocre seasons, the Green Bay Packers decided to end its relationship with head coach Mike McCarthy. In came Matt LaFleur in 2019 who subsequently led the Packers to 13 wins and the team’s sixth NFC North title in the last nine seasons.
Green Bay won the division but lost in its first playoff game. The Packers bring back most of their 2019 roster, including future Hall of Fame QB Aaron Rodgers yet Green Bay is not the betting odds favorite to win the NFC North.
That would be Minnesota.
Betting Odds Favorite: Purple Reign
Minnesota qualified for the postseason last year as a wild card finishing the regular season with a 10-6 record. Head coach Mike Zimmer’s teams are always very good defensively. Last year’s Vikings were fifth in scoring defense allowing 18.9 points per game.
The strong defense will continue in 2020 and the offense remains in the very capable hands of QB Kirk Cousins. Many laughed at the Vikings for giving Cousins such a huge guaranteed contract, but the move is starting to pay off. In addition, RB Dalvin Cook was finally healthy and even led the NFL in rushing yards at one point in the season.
WR Stefon Diggs was traded away, but Adam Thielen is ready to take over as the Vikings No. 1 receiver. To make up for the loss of Diggs, Minnesota drafted LSU star Justin Jefferson in the first round. He should make an immediate impact.
For all of these reasons, the Vikings are the +145 favorite to win the NFC North.
Betting Odds Contender: The Pack Is Back
It’s almost hard to believe the reigning division champ without much roster churn is not the favorite to win in 2020. For Packers fans and those looking for more in terms of payout, Green Bay is given +165 betting odds to win a second consecutive NFC North title.
Even at 36, Rodgers is still one of the elite quarterbacks in the league. He is a big reason why the Packers came within one game of a Super Bowl last year. RB Aaron Jones went over 1,000 yards (1,084) and scored 16 touchdowns. Davante Adams returned from an injury and caught 83 passes for 997 yards in 12 games.
The big question for Green Bay is can they get it done defensively? The additions of Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith last year made a big difference, but the Packers defense was still inconsistent at times.
Betting Odds Long-Shot: Bear Market
It might be a stretch, but a wager on the Chicago Bears to win the NFC North is worth consideration. Remember, it was just two seasons ago that the Bears won the division crown with a 12-4 record.
Yes, the Bears stumbled their way to an 8-8 mark last year, but defense wins championships and Chicago has a very good one. LB Khalil Mack (8.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles) is one of the league’s best pass rushers and LB Roquan Smith (101 tackles) is a tackling machine.
Betting on the Bears at +300 to win the division comes down to one thing – quarterback. Can Mitch Trubisky prove that he is capable of leading the Bears to championships? Or does LaFleur go with former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles who was acquired via an offseason trade?
If you believe in one of those guys to lead Chicago to the Promised Land, the schedule is in the Bears’ favor. At first glance, there are two games against the Lions, Atlanta, Jacksonville, the Giants, Carolina, and a home game against Houston. That could be seven wins right there.
Outside Looking In
The bet on Detroit to win the NFC North at +650 is tempting, but it simply doesn’t have much value. The Lions have not won a division title since Bill Clinton was president. That was back in 1993.
Detroit seemingly suffers from a fair amount of Murphy’s Law. You know the one. It says that anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That happened in 2019 as the Lions watched QB Matthew Stafford miss eight games.
Detroit wound up 3-12-1 losing their last nine straight games. While they may improve from last year’s disaster, there is simply not enough on the roster to even think about action on the Lions.