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NFC North Free Agency: NFL Odds, Futures, and Predictions

Many NFL teams shifted their attention to the upcoming season some time ago, but with the Super Bowl now behind us, all 32 franchises are honing in on their primary areas for improvement. Critical targets for enhancement typically include offensive linemen, franchise quarterbacks, edge rushers, and wide receivers, and public NFL betting adjusts accordingly.

As we close the chapter on the 2023 season, move past the NFL Scouting Combine, and approach the free agency period, it’s time to dive into team necessities, focusing on the NFC North.

NFC North Free Agency: NFL Odds, Futures, and Predictions
Detroit Lions safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson | Amy Lemus / NurPhoto / NurPhoto via AFP

The Lions have the best NFL odds to win the division at +155, but if the lines are tight, the Lions could give up their top spot if either the Packers, Bears, or Vikings make the right moves.

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Detroit Lions

Notable free agents: C.J. Gardner-Johnson (S), Emmanuel Moseley (CB), Halapoulivaati Vaitai (RG), Charles Harris (EDGE), Josh Reynolds (WR), Graham Glasgow (RG), Jonah Jackson (LG)

The Lions face a critical need at cornerback, highlighted by the underperformance of Cameron Sutton, Jerry Jacobs, and Kindle Vildor and the loss of Moseley to a torn ACL. With Detroit allowing 7.4 yards per attempt in 2023, third-worst in the league, enhancing the cornerback position is paramount for a team with Super Bowl LIX ambitions.

With over $51 million in cap space, the Lions, under Holmes’ prudent management, have the means and a track record of judicious spending to address these needs, especially since their transformation from bottom-dweller to NFC North champions has been mainly through effective drafting.

This offseason’s primary focus should be on bolstering the secondary and finding a secondary pass rusher to close the gap to true contention.


Green Bay Packers

Notable free agents: Darnell Savage (S), Rudy Ford (S), A.J. Dillon (RB), Keisean Nixon (CB)

The Packers, another NFC North squad, are gearing up for extensive defensive overhauls, particularly within the secondary. As they prepare for significant changes, A.J. Dillon’s potential departure underscores a pressing need for a reliable No. 2 running back to support Aaron Jones.

With many top free agents likely on the way out, the Packers are focused on reconstructing their defensive backfield. Solid starter Darnell Savage and the rising Darnell Ford epitomize the existing talent. At the same time, All-Pro return specialist and cornerback Eric Nixon, who started 13 games, is expected to attract considerable interest early in free agency. Dillon’s anticipated exit presents a dual challenge for Green Bay: filling the void he may leave while acknowledging his value as a sought-after asset among other teams.

This period signifies a crucial transition for the Packers as they aim to address critical roster gaps and rejuvenate their defensive and running back lineups. With the right move, they might be worth a bet online to win the division outright.


Chicago Bears

Notable free agents: Jaylon Johnson (CB), DeShawn Williams (IDL), Darnell Mooney (WR), Justin Jones (IDL), Lucas Patrick

The pivotal moment of the offseason lies in Chicago, where the team faces a critical decision: whether to draft a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick or continue with Justin Fields and signal their openness for trade discussions.

The Bears, issues beyond quarterback decisions, urgently need to bolster their edge rush to complement Pro Bowler Montez Sweat, who significantly improved the defense. Despite his impact, no other defensive end managed more than four sacks, contributing to the Bears ranking last in league sacks per pass. Adding another edge rusher could enhance DeMarcus Walker’s effectiveness as a strong third option, preventing teams from doubling on Sweat.

Meanwhile, in free agency, retaining standout cornerback Johnson should be a priority, and with $78.3 million in cap space, the Bears can afford to do so. This financial flexibility also allows for the potential retention of Williams and Jones while still seeking external talent to elevate the overall roster quality.

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Minnesota Vikings

Notable free agents: Kirk Cousins (QB), Danielle Hunter (EDGE), Marcus Davenport (EDGE), Jordan Hicks (LB), Joshua Dobbs (QB)

Kirk Cousins stands out as the premier quarterback and potentially the top offensive talent available. He is expected to draw a significant salary from the Vikings or elsewhere. However, if negotiations falter, his dead cap charge will impact the Vikings’ 2024 finances, reducing the likelihood of his return. This scenario would press Minnesota to find a new quarterback, possibly through a bold move up in the draft.

Alternatively, they might opt for a temporary solution while picking a quarterback for the future at their No. 11 draft position or later. Finding a resolution for the quarterback role is crucial for the team’s future success.

The NFL lines say that Justin Fields, Trey Lance, or Joshua Dobbs are the most likely options to start Week 1 at +400. Russell Wilson is an intriguing wager at +600 to be under center for Minnesota Week 1.

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Questions Of The Day

Who has the best odds to win the NFC North?

Current Vegas betting odds list the Lions as favorites to win the division at +155, followed by the Packers (+230), Bears (+350), and Vikings (+450).

Are any NFC North players worth betting in the futures market?

Justin Jefferson is a worthwhile underdog at +900 to win the NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award.

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