Packers, Vikings, and Bears … oh my. According to a recent update by the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings are 7/4 odds co-favorites to win the NFC North division in 2020. With that in mind, the question becomes, which starting quarterback do you want to back — Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, or Nick Foles?
After winning four-straight NFC North titles between 2011 and 2014, no one has won the division in consecutive seasons. Could this be the year that the Green Bay Packers re-establish themselves as the premier team in the NFC North? The Packers won the division last season with a 13-3 record.
If you’re expecting a bounce-back season from the Chicago Bears after they acquired Nick Foles, then Da Bears offer up “da best value” on the board at 7/2 odds.
The lowly Detroit Lions are bringing up the rear once again in the NFC North at 6/1 odds. Since the inception of the NFC North during the 2002 realignment, the Lions have never won the division.
2020 NFC NORTH ODDS
Green Bay Packers 7/4
Minnesota Vikings 7/4
Chicago Bears 7/2
Detroit Lions 6/1
The Westgate also lists the Packers and Vikings at 30/1 odds to win the 2021 Super Bowl. The Bears are 50/1 odds to win the Super Bowl, while the Lions are one of the long shots on the board at 80/1 odds to win a title.
The Lions won four titles, including three during their halcyon days in the 1950s, but all that glory happened pre-merger. Since the creation of the Super Bowl, the Detroit Lions have never won it. Don’t expect the Lions to come close in 2020.
Last Chance for A-Rod?
After Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy had a well-publicized divorce, everyone in Cheeseland wondered how Rodgers would handle his new head coach, Matt LaFleur. The two quickly flourished and the Packers returned to their winning ways.
After an ugly 6-9-1 season in 2018, the Packers failed to qualify for the playoffs for two consecutive years, and McCarthy got axed. In 2019, the Packers exceeded expectations and went 13-3 to win the NFC North outright. Lambeau Field became one of the most difficult places to play as an opposing team. The Packers went 7-1 at home last season. In the playoffs, the Packers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, but lost to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship.
Rodgers, 36, is now on the back-nine of his 30s. At this point in the rough and tumble life of the NFL, quarterbacks in their late 30s are one injury away from ending their careers. With the clock ticking and a hot new QB ready to take his job, Rodgers has a small window to win one more Super Bowl.
Aaron Jones has emerged as the go-to guy in Green Bay. The third-year running back out of UTEP rushed for 16 touchdowns last season. He rushed for 1,084 yards with a 4.6 yards per carry average. He became Rodgers’ second-most favorite receiver with 49 receptions out of the backfield. Jones added 477 receiving yards and three TD receptions.
The Packers seem like they’re on a specific mission to win the Super Bowl outright. That goal begins with winning the division. The Packers and Vikings are both 7/4 odds to win the NFC North, but you have the gut feeling that the Packers want it much more.
Purple People Eaters Deal Diggs
The Minnesota Vikings went 10-6 last season and secured a wild-card berth. Just two seasons prior, the Vikes were 13-3 and almost went to the Super Bowl.
The Vikings had one of the best WR tandems in the NFL with Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Unfortunately, there’s only one ball, and the Vikes also have a stud running back with Dalvin Cook. Kirk Cousins might not be Drew Brees, but Mike Zimmer did his best to spread the ball around.
The Vikings traded Diggs to the Buffalo Bills before the NFL Draft for four picks. Diggs, the hero in the Minneapolis Miracle, clearly wanted out of Minnesota after an up-and-down relationship with the front office over the past two seasons. Diggs caught nine touchdowns in 2018, but only six last season.
The Vikes lost Diggs, but they still have Thielen. Rookie Bisi Johnson showed flashes of brilliance last season and added three touchdowns. Cousins had a decent season with 26 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 15 games.
Even without Diggs, the Vikings are 7/4 odds to win the NFC North.
Nick Foles Magic in Chicago?
The Chicago Bears shocked the NFL with a 12-4 record in 2018 after a lackluster 5-11 season in 2017. The Bears acquired Kahlil Mack in a trade from the Oakland Raiders, which jump-started the team. The All-Pro linebacker inspired a tight defensive unit to become the top D in the league.
In 2018, second-year quarterback Mitch Trubisky played decently enough to keep them in games. In 2019, Trubisky fought off injuries and a slump. The Bears finished the season 8-8 and failed to qualify for the postseason. After three seasons, the Bears were ready to punt on their experiment with Trubisky.
In the offseason, whispers about Cam Newton joining the Bears fueled the rumor mill. Instead, the Bears acquired Nick Foles in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a victory in Super Bowl 52 as a backup in 2017. When Carson Wentz went down in 2018, Foles stepped in to fill the void once again.
Foles departed Philly after signing a lucrative free-agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019. He broke his collarbone in the first game of the season. Rookie Gardner Minshew stepped in with a bang-up job. The cost-efficient Jags decided to stick with Minshew this season and dealt Foles to the highest bidder.
The Bears vastly improved at quarterback, but it’s up to Foles to remain healthy. The Bears are trying to become one of the non-playoff teams from last season that qualifies for the playoffs in 2020. With the Packers and Vikings slugging it out as the two big dogs on the block, the Bears could sneak in the back door with a second-place finish in the division to secure an NFC wild-card spot.