NFL: Detroit Lions favoured to win first NFC North division title in franchise history

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NFL: Detroit Lions favoured to win first NFC North division title in franchise history

Now that Aaron Rodgers is in the AFC East, the Minnesota Vikings, Detroit Lions, and Chicago Bears should have a much easier time winning the NFC North than they had over the last 10 years. Since the 2012 season, the Packers have won this division seven out of 11 times. The Vikings won the division three times during that stretch, second most. The Bears won the division once, and the Lions have never finished first in the NFC North. 

Quick Take

  • Lions have never won the NFC North division
  • Lions favoured to win the division
  • Packers and Bears tied for worst odds

The betting favourites

The Lions are the betting favourites to win this division. They have +141 odds to finish first on Bet99. This team finished with a 9-8 record last year. The Lions had one of the best offenses in the league last season, finishing seventh in passing yards and 11th in rushing yards. The offense will look a little different this season because they traded RB D’Andre Swift to the Philadelphia Eagles and lost RB Jamaal Williams to the New Orleans Saints in free agency. Rookie RB Jahmyr Gibbs, drafted in the first round, will replace them.

The Lions had one of the best offenses in the league last season statistically. They could not win more than nine games because of their defense. Their defense allowed the third most passing yards and fourth most rushing yards last season. If their defense improves slightly, this team could give the Vikings a run for their money in this division. 

Notable Additions: CB Cameron Sutton, RB David Montgomery, S C.J. Gardner-Johnson, CB Emmanuel Moseley, WR Marvin Jones

Draft picks

  • RB Jahmyr Gibbs
  • LB Jack Campbell
  • TE Sam LaPorta
  • CB Brian Branch
  • QB Hendon Hooker
  • DT Brodric Martin
  • OT Colby Sorsdal
  • WR Antoine Green

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings won this division last season with a 13-4 record. They have the second best odds to win the NFC North on NFL betting sites. The Vikings have +290 odds on Bet99. The Vikings lost a couple of their better players this offseason, losing DE Dalvin Tomlinson, WR Adam Thielen, and CB Patrick Peterson to other teams. They also released RB Dalvin Cook. Their defense allowed the second most passing yards in the league and the 13th most rushing yards. They added a couple of players on that side of the ball, but no one on the level of new Miami Dolphins CB Jalen Ramsey.

Heading into the season, it looks like Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, and the offense will need to carry this team to success this year. Without Dalvin Cook and Thielen, it’s hard to imagine the Vikings offense getting much better than they were last year unless Jefferson has a historic season. They finished second in passing last season. The Vikings do not look like a great team on paper, but they have a good shot at winning this division because there is no juggernaut standing in their way.

Notable Additions: TE Josh Oliver, CB Byron Murphy, LB Marcus Davenport, DE Dean Lowry, WR Brandon Powell

Draft picks

  • WR Jordan Addison
  • CB Mekhi Blackmon
  • S Jay Ward
  • DT Jaquelin Roy
  • QB Jaren Hall
  • RB DeWayne McBride 

Can the Pack win the division in their first year without Aaron Rodgers?

The Packers are tied with the Bears for the worst odds to win the NFC North. The Packers have +400 odds on Bet99. They finished third in the division last year with an 8-9 record. It is safe to say the Packers are tied for the worst odds because they traded Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. With Rodgers, the Packers were almost always among the favourites to win the NFC over the last few years.

If not the Bears, the Packers are probably the biggest unknown in this division. It is tough to predict how this team will perform now that Jordan Love is at QB. With Rodgers, the Packers were one of the most consistent teams in the league and a playoff team nearly every season. The same is true when Brett Favre was the QB. This organization has shown it can be successful with decent QB play. If Love has a strong first season as a starter, there is a chance for the Packers to steal this division. 

Notable Additions: S Tarvarius Moore, LS Matt Orzech, S Johnathan Owens

Draft picks

  • LB Lukas Van Ness
  • TE Luke Musgrave
  • WR Jayden Reed
  • TE Tucker Kraft
  • DT Colby Wooden
  • QB Sean Clifford
  • WR Dontayvion Wicks
  • DE Karl Brooks
  • K Anders Carlson
  • CB Carrington Valentine
  • RB Lew Nichols
  • S Anthony Johnson Jr. 
  • WR Grant DuBose

Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears are tied with the Packers for the worst odds in the division at +400. The Bears finished with a 3-14 record last season. There are not a lot of reasons to bet on the Bears to win this division outside of Justin Fields and the rest of the young players’ potential. The Bears allowed 15th most passing yards and second most rushing yards last season. They also had the worst passing offense in the league, throwing for a league worst 2598 yards. This is the NFL, so anything is possible. But for the Bears to win this division, a lot of players on this roster will need to take their games to the next level.

Notable Additions: WR D.J. Moore, LB Tremaine Edmuns, G Nate Davis, DE DeMarcus Walker, LB T.J. Edwards,

Draft picks

  • OT Darnell Wright
  • DT Gervon Dexter Sr.
  • DB Tyrique Stevenson
  • DT Zacch Pickens
  • RB Roschon Johnson
  • WR Tyler Scott
  • LB Noah Sewell
  • DB Terell Smith
  • DT Travis Bell
  • RB Kendall Williamson