NFC North Odds to Win
Are the Packers a sure thing to win the NFC North again in 2017? According to oddsmakers, that answer is yes.
According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Packers are clear 5/13 favorites to win the NFC North again in 2017. The Vikings have the next-best odds at 18/5, followed by the Lions at 6/1. The Bears, who finished dead last in 2016, have the longest odds to win the NFC North at 30/1.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers will return the same offensive nucleus as they had a year ago when they advanced to the NFC Championship Game. Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb all return, although the team did add free agent Martellus Bennett at tight end and drafted Jamaal Williams in the fourth round to push starter Ty Montgomery at running back. Defensively, Clay Matthews, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Nick Perry all return.
Sam Bradford is expected to start again under center for the Vikings as Teddy Bridgewater continues to recover from a devastating leg injury suffered in training camp last year. The team added free agent Latavius Murray and drafted Dalvin Cook in efforts to improve the running game, although if the new additions along the offensive line don't gel, then Minnesota will once again struggle to move the ball on the ground. At least the defense is expected to be outstanding again. Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks all return, as well as Xavier Rhodes, Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph.
After making the playoffs last season, the Lions' core offensively is back. Matthew Stafford, Golden Tate and Eric Ebron are back, and the team hopes a healthy Ameer Abdullah will give the team a much-needed rushing threat. The team also returns Ziggy Ansah, Haloti Ngata and Glover Quin defensively, while DJ Hayden (free agent) and Jarrad Davis (first round) are newcomers.
The biggest move the Bears made this offseason was signing quarterback Mike Glennon, who is expected to start ahead of top-five pick Mitch Trubisky. Chicago added receiver Markus Wheaton in free agency, but lost Alshon Jeffery. The wideout position will receive a huge boost if Kevin White can stay healthy, but that's a huge "if." The defense remains a big question mark as well and if the team doesn't show marked improvement as a whole, then head coach John Fox could be searching for a new job at the end of the year.