- The Chicago Bears won the NFC North handily last season, but currently are just co-favorites to win in 2019
- The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers also have +200 to win the division next year
- Heading into the NFL Draft, which team is the best value at the moment?
If only this author was familiar with Game of Thrones, he could make references about being the King of the North. Instead, I’ll just say that the NFC North has some of the most interesting NFL Divisional odds at the moment.
Even though a major part of the offseason story is still yet to be written, oddsmakers are looking at a three-horse race in the black and blue division between the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers.
Odds to Win 2019 NFC North
|Team||2019 NFC North Odds|
|Green Bay Packers||+200|
The North is tight at the top because Chicago and Minnesota have hyper-talented teams, but the Packers still have the only quarterback worth trusting. At this point, which team is worth backing?
Chicago’s Division Title Defense Will Be Tough
Their first draft pick won’t be until 86 other names are called, so the Bears won’t have much of an opportunity to add impact players to last year’s 12-4 squad.
Of course, the biggest area this team needs to improve is kicking the ball through the uprights, not into them.
Beyond that, concerns around this year’s Bears remain under center.
While Mitch Trubisky made strides last year under Matt Nagy, he averaged over a turnover per game and went long stretches without moving the offense. Chicago is also playing a first-place schedule that sees them host the Saints and visit the Rams.
Playing the Rams is particularly noteworthy, considering the Bears have been compared to Sean McVay’s team from the moment Chicago hired a young offensive mind to lead the franchise.
They said the Bears were the next Rams before this season started. Rams made Super Bowl the 2nd year under McVay. Nagy’s 2nd year next year. Bears going to the Super Bowl next year. It’s not a coincidence. It’s gonna happen.
— Chicago Bears Nation (@Bears__Nation) January 20, 2019
A Super Bowl appearance is not an unrealistic goal for this bunch, if Trubisky can improve like Jared Goff did between Year 2 and 3.
Can The Vikings Take Back Their Crown?
Turns out, paying for that franchise quarterback doesn’t really help if he gets all the protection you’d expect from a Trump-brand condom. Kirk Cousins and the Viking offense were so disappointing, the team axed offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after just 13 games.
Kirk Cousins would have gotten sacked. https://t.co/5QI1fuDHIc
— Jim Isaacs (@Jim_Isaacs13) January 14, 2019
Adding Josh Kline in free agency wasn’t enough to restore any optimism about this team in the trenches. If the Vikes don’t make some more additions to the o-line in the draft or free agency, it’s hard not to see next year playing out in a similar fashion.
Are the Pack Back?
After Tyler Dunne’s article chronicling the dysfunction of the Mike McCarthy era, there’s a few different ways to look at Green Bay’s chances this year.
Perhaps Aaron Rodgers goes all scorched earth on the league to shut up those that believe he’s an entitled, high-maintenance player. Perhaps he will have leadership issues in a new offense that keeps relying on young players to step up.
"You know what Tom Brady has the ability to do that Aaron Rodgers doesn't? Get over it quickly. It's called maturity, it's called being an adult, not holding grudges. That's what separates Brady from Rodgers: Leadership, not talent." — @ColinCowherd pic.twitter.com/RJfgJQlvO1
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) April 5, 2019
But while Rodgers relationship with his new coach will be heavily scrutinized, so too will the offense Matt LaFleur deploys.
LaFleur is one of the first hires from the McVay tree and it seems to be mostly based on reputation rather than past performance. Last year, he did nadda to help the Titans offense and now he’ll be under the microscope as the first branch of everyone’s new favorite redwood.
This infatuation with McVay links is absurd. He’s done a great job, but doesn’t mean his tree won’t have rotten branches. Signed, Bill Belichick
— Pete Prisco (@PriscoCBS) January 11, 2019
Considering Green Bay’s offense consists of DaVante Adams and a bunch of other receivers you don’t know (partly because their names are so long) this team will need to make big strides on the defensive side of the ball as well if they want to contend again.
What’s The Play?
Once again, the Pack, as a public team, are being way overvalued here. They’re a combined 13-18-1 over the past two seasons. Maybe wait and see if they completely blow the draft before crowning them again?
Of the four teams that won their division by three or more games last season, the Bears are the only ones getting plus odds to win their division the moment. There’s your value.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.