For the first time in 18 years, Aaron Rodgers, now with the New York Jets, will not be a part of the NFC North division. After what felt like a lifetime of dominance from Rodgers against Green Bay’s divisional foes, the time for new beginnings is here.
So what now? Is there a manual for what everybody had to do once Rodgers left the division? Who is going to own who now?
As the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota Vikings prepare to square off for ownership of the NFC North title, here are three of my NFL expert picks to roll with from Week 1 onwards.
Detroit Leads NFL Predictions as Top NFC Contender
One of the best, if not the best, units the Lions have to offer is their offense. Be it QB, WRs, RBs, TEs, or offensive line, we’re talking about a group of players that – if healthy – could very well be at the top of the league regarding talent.
One of the main reasons our NFL odds experts are so high on the Lions is just how good this offense can be. QB Jared Goff is coming off his best season numbers-wise in years. Amon-Ra St. Brown has established himself as the team’s top receiver and one of the best wideouts in the NFL.
With rookie Jahmyr Gibbs and Jameson Williams, once his six-game suspension is up, this could very well rival Green Bay’s RB core as the best in the division.
And since we’re talking best in the division, how about best in the league, or at least top five, when speaking of Detroit’s offensive line? Take it from me; if football was based only on offense, the Lions would be top NFL betting lines contenders to win Super Bowl LVIII.
The Lions are the team to beat in the NFC North, no ifs, ands, or buts. If their defense can step their game up, they could go from favorites to win their division to one of the most intriguing NFL picks to win the NFC conference title.
Chicago Causes Shockwaves, Squeezes Into Playoffs
Once we all agree that the Lions will steal the NFC North title, how about throwing another team from the division into the playoff picture? No, I’m not talking about Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, and the Vikings. I could see them trying to snatch a last-minute Wild Card berth, but considering how volatile Minnesota can be, especially on the defensive side of the ball, seeing will be believing at the end of the day.
My pick, while surprising, has to go to the Bears at +160 according to our NFL lines.
The Bears have one of the best prospects at QB in Justin Fields. Give me a better passer when it comes to running games, and I’ll give you five reasons why Fields is better. Once he gets his short and mid-range passing game working, and with the help of new WR1 D.J. Moore, I can buy into the idea of Chicago disrupting the NFC playoff scene and finding a spot in the Wild Card round of the postseason.
Love Shows He Can Lead Green Bay
Hopefully, Green Bay fans are ready to properly show new QB Jordan Love the, well, love. And he deserves it. After showing some promising signs this offseason, Love knows that his time to take over and thrive as the team’s new QB is here, and he needs to hit the ground running.
While it should be expected for the Packers to rely heavily on their running game to begin the season, especially during Love’s adjustment to his new role, once all pieces fall into place, we could be looking at a reborn Packers passing offense.
Don’t get me wrong, though, Green Bay’s offense will still struggle in this transitional era, at least if you ask any NFL predictions expert, but considering how weak other defenses in the division are, there’s more to gain than to lose for Love.
I can see Love and the Packers winning at least three of their six divisional season games. Add to that potential wins against the Atlanta Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Carolina Panthers throughout the season, and buying into Love’s first season as Packers QB being a successful one is easy to buy into.