NFL Handicapping: The NFC North
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NFL Handicapping Insight
It’ll be a two-horse race in the NFC North once again this season, with the other two looking as desperate as ever to climb back into the ranks of the relevant.
Fittingly, let’s start with those two afterthoughts and get them out of the way.
2017 NFC North Predictions: Chicago Bears
Bears Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +10000
Bears Odds to Win 2017 NFC Conference: +4000
Bears Odds to Win 2017 NFC North Division: +1200
The Bears needed to move on from Jay Cutler and they did. His tenure wasn’t as bad as people want to remember – don’t forget they went to the NFC title game in his first season with the team.
But moving on to Mike Glennon was a good move. Trading a boat load of assets to move up one spot in the draft to select Mitchell Trubisky was not.
For this year, Glennon won’t have Alshon Jeffery to throw to as he signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. It wasn’t that long ago that the Bears had one of the best one-two punches at receiver in Jeffery and Brandon Marshall.
Now they’ll field Cam Meredith and Kendall Wright. Running back Jordan Howard will be the lone bright spot on offense.
And there won’t be many good days for the defense.
2017 NFC North Predictions: Detroit Lions
Lions Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +6600
Lions Odds to Win 2017 NFC Conference: +2800
Lions Odds to Win 2017 NFC North Division: +425
The Lions’ offense looks pretty similar from the group that took some time to get going in 2016. Matthew Stafford remains in town to run the show, with Golden Tate and Marvin Jones remaining as his go-to options.
The running back situation remains a question mark with Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick towing the load.
They could still go out and sign a veteran to help shore up that group, but that seems unlikely at this point. And the defense is as uninspiring as ever.
2017 NFC North Predictions: Green Bay Packers
Packers Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +900
Packers Odds to Win 2017 NFC Conference: +500
Packers Odds to Win 2017 NFC North Division: -140
The Eddie Lacy experiment in Green Bay is finally, mercifully over.
He just couldn’t stay in shape and be a consistent contributor to their high-powered offense. Ty Montgomery will step in after having a ton of success season ago.
They also drafted three running backs in an effort to solidify that group.
The front office did something it doesn’t often do, going out and signing one of the most coveted free agents in Martellus Bennett, giving Aaron Rodgers a pair of reliable hands at the position a year after Rodgers made Jared Cook some money.
The receiving corps has a lot of recognizable names, but this is a team that will go as far as Aaron Rodgers drags that group – and he’s proven capable of carrying them pretty far.
2017 NFC North Predictions: Minnesota Vikings
Vikings Odds to Win 2017 Super Bowl: +3300
Vikings Odds to Win 2017 NFC Conference: +1400
Vikings Odds to Win 2017 NFC North Division: +225
The Vikings have established themselves as the top contender to the Packers. They’ll have a drastically different look this season with the face of the franchise, Adrian Peterson, having moved on to the New Orleans Saints.
They shouldn’t have too much of a drop off with Latavius Murray and rookie Dalvin Cook taking over the helm.
Laquan Treadwell was not a good choice in first round in 2016, and that leaves the team with a thin receiving corps. Kyle Rudolph did have a mini breakout last season, showing he can contribute to the team on a more consistent basis, and not just around the goal line.
Teddy Bridgewater is expected back in the near future which will be a huge boost.
But this team needs to win with defense, and that group needs to get its mojo back after falling apart following a strong start to last season.
Cappers Picks 2017 NFC North Predictions
Once again, this is a two horse race between the Packer and Vikings. Minnesota has what it takes to be a dominant force defensively and can really make noise if their defense plays like it did to start last season.
But the more likely outcome is that Aaron Rodgers plays like Aaron Rodgers for 16 games and the Packers take the division crown once again. From a betting perspective, the division is priced accordingly.
Go with the Packers for the safe play, or roll the dice on the Vikings for the bigger payout.
More 2017 NFL Division By Division Gambling Previews
- 2017 AFC East Predictions
- 2017 AFC West Predictions
- 2017 AFC South Predictions
- 2017 AFC North Predictions
- 2017 NFC East Predictions
- 2017 NFC West Predictions
- 2017 NFC South Predictions
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