During the offseason, there was a brief moment where it looked like the Green Bay Packers would lose their stranglehold on the NFC North. But then Aaron Rodgers and the front office reached an understanding, he returned to the team, and the expectation is what it always is in the NFC North.
|Odds On NFC North Division Winner: 2021/22 Season||PointsBet||BetMGM||FanDuel|
|Green Bay Packers||-170||-165||-145|
As long as the Packers do have Rodgers at quarterback, they will be favored to win the NFC North. However, that does not mean betting on the Bears, Vikings, or Lions lacks value.
There is one thing that is safe to say about the Chicago Bears—their problem is not defensive. Despite not getting much help from the offense, the defense ranked in the league’s upper half in total yards and points allowed. Had the offense been more productive, the Bears may have finished better than 8-8.
Fans are likely hoping the defense can become a top-five unit again (like it was in 2019). As for the offensive side of the ball, there is a reason for hope. But how much hope depends on which quarterback the team goes with.
So far, the plan appears to be to roll with the veteran, Andy Dalton. But it is hard to ignore how well rookie Justin Fields has looked in the preseason.
However, in the second preseason game, Andy Dalton made a much better statement than Fields. While Fields may have more upside, it may be better for his overall development not to put him out there yet.
Chicago does not look like a team ready to give the Packers a run for their money in the division. But if the defense can return to form and Andy Dalton can make the offense productive, there might be hope for the Bears in 2021.
It would be nice to say that this could be the year for the Detroit Lions—but it probably is not. The team hit the reset button again and got rid of the head coach, general manager, and longtime starting quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Theoretically, that could make the Lions a more dangerous team since we have no idea what they will look like under new head coach Dan Campbell. Again, theoretically, that could make them more challenging to prepare for in the first few weeks.
However, unless Campbell has a magic wand, it is hard to imagine the Lions rising up this season. Having a top-ten offensive line (according to PFF) will help stabilize the offense. But Jared Goff is not an upgrade at quarterback, and there is not much talent at wide receiver.
Defensively, the Lions will need a lot of guys to play better than they look on paper.
With so many question marks on both sides of the ball, it is hard to see the Lions becoming competitive this season. But that should come as no surprise, with their odds being as high as they are.
— Two TeacherZ (@askteacherzcom) August 22, 2021
With the Vikings’ potential on offense, it is hard to ignore the possibility of them winning the NFC North. Dalvin Cook has become one of the premier running backs in the NFL. Justin Jefferson emerged as a definite threat, and Adam Thielen is still one of the better receivers in the league.
But how well the offense looks this season will depend on the offensive line and Kirk Cousins.
Over the years, Cousins has proven he is capable and can generate offense. But he seems to struggle in big games and with his consistency. It does not help that the offensive line projects to be one of the worst in the league (27th according to PFF).
On the defensive side of the ball, the Vikings tried to rebuild on a budget last season— and it did not work. To remedy that, the Vikings added a lot of young talent in the draft, along with some veteran talent in free agency.
The defense looks promising on paper. But its overall success may depend on how quickly the unit can gel and key players remaining healthy. Should the defense do so, and the offense remains as productive as it was last season, the Vikings could pull off an upset and win the NFC North.
The key to the success of the Green Bay Packers in 2021 was getting Aaron Rodgers to come back to the fold. With Rodgers leading the way, the Packers will likely have one of the most productive offenses in the NFL once again.
It would be nice to have another proven talent, other than Davante Adams, at wide receiver. Bringing back Randall Cobb may help, but they let him go for a reason (and only brought him back to appease Rodgers). Their best bet for another weapon is for rookie Amari Rodgers to emerge.
How well the Packers do, beyond winning the division, may depend on what they can get out of their defense. Last year, the unit finished ninth in total yards allowed and 13th in scoring.
If they can build off the strong finish they had in the second half of the season last year, the defense could become a top-five unit this season. Assuming the offense does not miss a beat, the division may not be the only thing the Packers win this season.
Take a look inside Green Bay's joint practices with the Jets in this edition of Packers Daily ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/tlbEOALPSj
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) August 19, 2021
NFC North Betting Recommendation
When a division is dominated by one team like the NFC North is, it takes away some of the fun and excitement from a viewing perspective. But from a betting perspective, it is hard to see anyone other than the Packers winning the NFC North.
There is an outside chance the Vikings could be competitive this season. But there is not enough value at their odds to warrant placing a bet.