Handicapping NFL Football
Well, the Green Bay Packers are still heavy favorites in the NFC North, despite GB losing Jordy Nelson (WR1) to injury for the season. Is now the time to target the Vikings or Lions in the division?
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Green Bay Packers:
Super Bowl 50 Odds: +550
NFC North Odds: -220
NFC North Overview
Last season was a close race in the NFC North. The Packers (12-4) won the division, but the Lions (11-5) were close behind. The Vikings (7-9) and Bears (5-11) were both out of the race relatively early.
I expect the Vikings to improve, but not nearly enough to contend for the NFC North crown. Chicago could be worse in 2015 than they were in 2014, especially if Alshon Jeffrey misses any amount of time.
Detroit will likely regress now that Ndamukong Suh is gone. The #1 rushing defense in the NFL in 2014 will now have a huge hole to fill – literally. That leaves the Packers, there’s little value, but GB is the best bet.
Why Green Bay Will Have the Most Wins in the NFC North
Nelson may be on the shelf, but the Packers are still led by Aaron Rodgers in the NFC North.
Green Bay are actually favored at most betting shops still to win the NFL Super Bowl in 2016. This team is loaded on offense still. Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery and James Jones are all solid WR’s.
Eddie Lacy has turned into a great catching RB too. He had 43 receptions for 437 yards and 4 TD’s in 2014 – he added 1313 rushing yards and 9 TD’s on the ground too. Expect Lacy to be a major part of the offense.
GB scored more points than any other team last season (30.4 PPG).
Sure, it’s likely that they won’t average 30.0+ PPG again without Nelson, but they’re still going to have one of the highest scoring offenses. So, the offense is fine, what about the Packers defense in 2015?
A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones are gone, but the bigger losses were Tramon Williams and Davon House. The CB position is a work in progress now, but the Packers did draft Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins.
Casey Hayward and Sam Shields are listed on the depth chart as the starters to begin the season.
Clay Matthews should get to move back to outside in 2015 at LB with Julius Peppers on the other end. The d-line is in tact again this season. B.J. Raji and Letroy Guion were both resigned to clog up the middle.
Green Bay allowed 346.4 PYPG (15th) and 21.8 PPG (13th), so there’s room for improvement.
With an improved defense and a potent offense – the Packers will have the most wins in the NFC North.
Packers 2015 Prediction: 12-4
It actually wouldn’t surprise me if the Packers exceeded 12 wins, but the schedule does start tough.
You can bet the Packers regular season win total at over 11 games (+120).
Green Bay went 8-0 at Lambeau Field and 5-1 in the NFC North last season. I believe they’ll replicate the success they had within the division and I have them pegged to win seven games at home.
They host the Bears, 49ers, Broncos, Panthers, Vikings, Lions, Raiders and Cardinals. I believe they may lose to either Denver or Arizona, but it’s entirely possible the Packers go undefeated at home again.
The Packers play away to the Seahawks, Chiefs, Rams, Chargers, Lions, Bears, Cowboys and Vikings.
The Seahawks in week 2 and Chiefs in week 3 will be a good early test for this Packers team.
St. Louis are tough at home too, but the Packers should win that game. GB should also beat the Chargers, Lions, Bears and Cowboys. The week 17 game is tough to predict, as GB may be sitting players by then.
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