The 2022-23 NFL season is over three months away, but preparations have already started across the league with minicamps, meetings, and various other activities getting underway.
Off the field, though, online sports betting markets are flourishing with a slew of preliminary markets to whet the appetite.
In this column, we look at the NFL odds for the NFC North and the four teams contained within the field.
In the main, we contemplate the overriding question that seems to be on everyone’s mind: Can anyone prise the NFC North title away from the Green Bay Packers?
How Have the Packers Dominated the NFC North?
The Green Bay Packers have exacted complete and utter domination over the NFC North over the last decade, picking up eight titles between 2011 and 2021 including the last three seasons.
In fact, Green Bay’s run to the division titles in 2019, 2020, and 2021, ever since head coach Matt LaFleur partnered with future Hall of Fame quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, wasn’t even close!
Rodgers and Packers’ Accomplishments
- The duo led the Pack to a 13-3-0 finish in 2019 and 2020 and a 13-4-0 finish in the expanded 2021 season.
- They also reached the conference championship game in their first two seasons together — only last season proved to be the anomaly after the Packers were upset in the Divisional Round by the San Francisco 49ers.
- On an individual level, Rodgers picked up the MVP award in 2020 and 2021.
Last season’s award marked his fourth overall MVP nod and first back-to-back honor, joining an illustrious group of quarterbacks to accomplish the feat in consecutive seasons.
Shocker! Packers Top Betting
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Packers top the NFC North betting odds board unless they’ve been living under a rock for the last decade.
- The second-best bet after Green Bay is the Minnesota Vikings, albeit they’re tipped at +260.
- After the Vikings, the Chicago Bears are priced at +900 while the Detroit Lions are the longshots at +1200 to win the NFC North.
Green Bay’s Success
Green Bay’s track record of success speaks volumes and until proven otherwise, they are the team to beat. The books don’t have it wrong.
Not only have the Packers clinched eight of the last 11 division titles, but they’ve also owned their divisional opponents.
They have a stellar 46-19-2 SU record against the division since 2011. This is the second-best record in the league during this span after the New England Patriots (49-18-0).
Can Anyone Pry the Title Away?
The simple answer to this question is, no. The Green Bay Packers are a championship-ready team that has been knocking on Super Bowl’s door since 2019.
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None of the other teams in this division come close to the quality, talent, skill, and pedigree of the Packers.
To put a finer point on it, Kirk Cousins, Justin Fields, and Jared Goff are no match for Aaron Rodgers.
Will Rodgers and the Packers Win the 2022 NFC North title?
The only way the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, or Detroit Lions win the NFC North title next season is if the unthinkable happens, such as Rodgers suffers an injury and misses a substantial number of games or if aliens abduct the veteran signal-caller, leaving LaFleur to turn to backup Jordan Love.
During LaFleur’s tenure in Green Bay, he’s whipped up a 15-3-0 record against the Vikings, Bears, and Lions.
When one considers that one of these losses came to the Lions in the regular-season finale with the Packers resting starters for the playoffs, the Packers’ dominance over their neighbors is even more impressive.
In 2015, the Vikings narrowly beat the Packers to the division title after finishing the season with an 11-5-0 record to the Packers’ 10-6-0 record.
To date, this is the only occasion in which the Packers were beaten to divisional supremacy.
Minnesota’s title in 2017 and then Chicago’s title in 2018 were an entirely different story.
On both occasions, these teams capitalized on Green Bay’s internal trials and tribulations, from injury to Rodgers to a fallout with former head coach Mike McCarthy.
Vikings in No Man’s Land
The Vikings are embarking on the post-Mike Zimmer era this season after the long-time head coach got the sack following a subpar 8-9-0 SU finish in 2021.
Newly-appointed head coach Kevin O’Connell is an untried and untested entity, moving to Minnesota after spending a season as the Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator.
While O’Connell inherits a relatively good team, he also inherits Kirk Cousins. The veteran is an adequate offensive pivot, but he’s not a franchise quarterback.
There are bound to be growing pains in their first season together.
The Bears moved on from head coach Matt Nagy and General Manager Ryan Pace following a 6-11-0 finish.
Sophomore quarterback Justin Fields is an intriguing prospect, but his situation with the new coaching staff in Chicago, in his second year in the NFL, isn’t ideal.
The Bears are rebuilding under new head coach Matt Eberflus, who comes to the Windy City after a four-year stint as the defensive coordinator in Indianapolis.
It’s hard to imagine that this team will be a threat in its first year with new management and staff across the board.
Lions In Year Two of Rebuild
The Lions were a development project in 2021 after trading away Matthew Stafford to the Rams for Jared Goff.
When all was said and done, the Lions limped to a 3-13-0 finish and the Rams galloped to the Super Bowl!
It’s safe to say, Jared Goff was an epic fail in his first season with the Lions. Where they go from here is anybody’s guess, but it can’t be very far if Goff is leading the offense.