The NFC North seems to continue to be the Green Bay Packers’ to lose this season, but there are some interesting upstarts in this division as well, but is it worth the risk of betting against Green Bay?
Green Bay Packers (-150 NFC North, +500 NFC)
The Packers are easily one of the better teams in the NFC, and with the North dealing with some rebuilding right now, the Packers are still well below even money to win this division. Not only do they have the best chance to win the North, they are behind only the Panthers and Seahawks in almost every book's future odds this offseason.
Green Bay didn't have much to do in free agency this summer, but they did make a solid move to move up to draft Jason Spriggs to add to their offensive line. They will of course have Jordy Nelson coming back this season, which is basically like adding a big tie free agent, and to go with Randall Cobb and the emerging Richard Rodgers, the Packers could own the best offense in the game. Eddie Lacy has reportedly lost weight this summer, so if he can start reaching his potential, the Packers and Steelers might be the best two offenses in football.
Minnesota Vikings (+200 NFC North, +1200 NFC)
The Vikings are moving into brand new US Bank Stadium this season, and after another good offseason they are looking like a team that might be able to make a huge leap this season. They finished with 11 wins last season, so just repeating that might be enough for Minnesota, but while they do have appealing NFL odds, I'm not ready to label them value in either of the future odds listed at bet365.
Minnesota spent the summer beefing up their offensive line, and now with able bodies to protect Teddy Bridgewater and bust holes for Adrian Peterson, the Vikings' playbook is about to widen substantially for Norv Turner. I think they are one big receiver away from being a contender in the conference, but as it stands now they are only a wildcard play for my NFL Picks with the Packers still well in front.
Detroit Lions (+1200 NFC North, +2800 NFC)
The Lions had arguably the worst free agency period of any team when they lost Calvin Johnson to retirement. That arguably set them back a year or two, and now they are faced with pretty much a full rebuild on offense. They panicked and paid Marvin Jones way too much money after Megatron retired, and they lost Isa Addul-Quddus this summer too.
They will have Haloti Ngata back after re-signing him, and they beefed up their o-line as well this summer, but Matthew Stafford is already an average quarterback at best, and without Johnson in the lineup, I think more people are about to find that out this season.
Chicago Bears (+1400 NFC North, +3300 NFC)
Speaking of rebuilding, the Chicago Bears spent the offseason doing exactly that. They traded away Martellus Bennett after some reported locker room issues, but they did franchise Alshon Jeffery which was one of the more obvious moves for them this offseason. While they will still struggle on defense and probably on the offensive line, Chicago did make some nice moves which could move them to third in this division.
Chicago made some nice moves in the draft grabbing Leonard Floyd and Jonathan Bullard to their defensive line. They also beefed up their linebacking with Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan, so while their secondary might still be a mess, at least they might not get beat up so much at the line of scrimmage next season. They might have six or seven wins in 2016.
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