In 2020, the NFC North futures outlooks were limited to the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings unless you took a leap of faith and went with either the Chicago Bears or Detroit Lions.
However, the Packers once again owned the division. And if you bet on them to win the North and make a deep playoff run, you won some cash. If you bet on them to win the NFC Championship and earn a trip to the Super Bowl, you fell short.
And in 2021, it looks like an even tighter race than in years’ past, once again with the Packers and Vikings leading the charge.
Today’s post lets you in on the futures outlooks for all 4 NFC North teams.
Futures Outlook for the Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears in 2020 had a hard time scoring and a hard time stopping opposing offenses. And their inconsistency on offense led to inconsistency at the quarterback position. First, they started Mitchell Trubisky before he lost the job to Nick Foles. Then Foles got hurt, and Trubisky was back.
This season, their QB1 is Andy Dalton, who has struggled in recent seasons.
However, Dalton will have a few puzzle pieces like David Montgomery and Allen Robinson around him. But the aging quarterback remains on the Back Nine of his career, and odds are, he’s not the long-term solution.
Unless you believe the Bears’ defense will look more like the 2019 version as opposed to the 2020 version, their futures outlook once again looks bleak. Also, head coach Matt Nagy is running out of chances, so odds are, he won’t finish the season as the man in charge if the Bears struggle early.
They’re a high-risk, low-reward option in the futures realm this season unless the defense returns to its former prominence.
Futures Outlook for the Detroit Lions
Hey, at least the Lions hired a fun personality at head coach in Dan Campbell. And while he wasn’t a good hire, he’ll keep things interesting. Also, he at least realizes what it means to coach a downtrodden team like the Detroit Lions, a team that has won just 1 playoff game since 1957.
However, it doesn’t mean Campbell can coach, and he was a dark horse for any head coaching gig in the NFL. His inexperience, even as a coordinator, let alone a head coach, remains a learning curve for 2021.
A serviceable player at the position, but Goff isn’t striking fear in opposing defenses. He was so-so even with a stellar unit around him in Miami, so don’t expect miracles in the Motor City.
Their other signings, including Jamal Williams, Tyrell Williams, Breshad Perriman, Quinton Dunbar, and Corn Elder, are all role players and they also won’t force opponents to adjust to their will. Worse off, they lost their top player in Kenny Golladay.
The Lions, once again, make for a poor futures bet unless they nail the draft. And their poor draft just a season ago set the franchise back. Jeff Okudah, while he can still turn his career around, looks like a bust. And none of the other rookies looked promising in 2020.
Listen, you can count on one hand the number of division titles and playoff wins this team has since 1957. History isn’t on their side, and neither is their current situation. Once again, the Lions are a better futures wager at the NFL betting sites only if you’re betting the Under and if you happen to bet on who will dwell in the North’s cellar.
Futures Outlook for the Green Bay Packers
The only way the Packers’ futures outlook will tank is if Aaron Rodgers abruptly retires to become the host of Jeopardy and forces the team to start the inexperienced Jordan Love. However, Rodgers, despite showing interest in the job, stated they only tape Jeopardy 46 days out of the year.
He also implied that he can make both jobs work if producers offer him the gig made famous by Alex Trebek. So don’t expect Rodgers to go anywhere soon. Anyway, barring injury or any other setback, expect Aaron to produce an encore presentation.
They also re-signed key running back Aaron Jones – the team’s “other” Aaron – and the ageless wonder, tight end Marcedes Lewis. The latter of which returns for a 16th season. Kevin King also re-signed.
Either way, the Packers once again figure to be a low-risk futures bet, given their recent history during the Matt LaFleur era. They have finished 26-6 since LaFleur took over on the sidelines, and have made it to 2 NFC Championship Games.
However, a stingy San Francisco 49ers team and a Man Named Brady stopped them from earning a trip to the Super Bowl. And it may or may not have cost you money if you bet on them to either represent the NFC in the Big Game or even to win it all.
They have a lot of unanswered questions why they cannot win an NFC Championship. Before 2020, the biggest question was whether they can win it as a #1 seed at Lambeau Field. Rodgers even claimed it was the biggest reason they couldn’t.
Obviously, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers proved that theory wrong when they thrashed Rodgers and his Packers in the Frozen Tundra.
While they remain the lowest risk to win the NFC North and leapfrog their Over/Under, they’re still an iffy Super Bowl bet.
Futures Outlook for the Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings remain the NFC North’s wild card.
Obviously, the offense looked good after a rocky start, and the Vikes boast perhaps the league’s best set of triplets with the underrated Kirk Cousins at quarterback, running back Dalvin Cook, and budding receiver, Justin Jefferson.
Add their stellar offensive line and a growing tight end in Irv Smith Jr. to the mix, and the Vikings have a well-rounded offense capable of scoring on anyone.
And best yet, their system plays to their personnel’s strengths; another solid trait for this team.
While Mike Zimmer remains a defensive wizard, the team struggled on his side of the ball in 2020 and it served as the primary reason for the team’s mediocrity.
Free agency implies that he’s at least getting there. Especially in the secondary. He signed Patrick Peterson, banking that P2 can return to his pre-2019 form. He brought back Mackensie Alexander, who spent a season in Cincinnati before reversing course back to Minneapolis.
Xavier Woods is in town, after spending his first 3 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys. Stephen Weatherly and Dalvin Tomlinson remain proven players.
However, you can never bet against Mike Zimmer for defensive purposes. The guy has rebuilt defenses more than a few times throughout his career, and he’s the man for the job here in Minnesota.
If he can return the Vikings’ defense into a top-10 unit, watch out for this football team. They’re not the best futures bet given the talent of the Packers. But they’re worth taking a flyer on if you like to be aggressive with your wagers.
Most of you will probably bet on the Packers, and some will even wager that they go all the way in 2021.
- They have the talent. And if they can exercise their NFC Championship demons, they may just win you more money than you initially perceived.
- The Vikings remain their biggest challenger through and through. Especially if head coach Mike Zimmer can fix the ailing defense.
- The Chicago Bears, even if their defense returns to prominence, lacks talent on the offensive side of the ball. Especially at the game’s most important position. It’s premature to expect anything out of them in 2021. Ditto for the Detroit Lions.
What are your thoughts on the NFC North’s futures outlooks? Which team would you wager on at an online sportsbook? Tell us your thoughts in the comments, and we can’t wait to read your opinion.