NFL division betting: Can anyone challenge the Packers in the NFC North?

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Once Aaron Rodgers decided, with the help of a monstrous contract, to return to the Green Bay Packers it seemed the NFC North race was already over.

The Packers have won three NFC North championships in a row. The Packers might not be quite as good as previous years, but it's not like the rest of the division is positioned to beat them.

The Packers are the third biggest favorite to win their division in BetMGM's odds, behind only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills. That speaks to the rest of the NFC North as much as the strength of the Packers.

Packers favored to win NFC North

The Packers lead the NFC North odds by a significant gap.

Packers -175

Minnesota Vikings +275

Chicago Bears +900

Detroit Lions +900

The Packers still have a strong team, though they took a huge hit in the offseason. Green Bay traded Davante Adams, arguably the best receiver in football and one of the most valuable non-quarterbacks in the NFL, to the Las Vegas Raiders. Green Bay didn't do much to replace him. They signed unreliable Sammy Watkins and drafted Christian Watson, making the transition from FCS North Dakota State, in the second round. It's an odd pairing: the NFL's back-to-back MVP with one of the thinnest receiver rooms in the league.

The Packers are still good on the offensive line, at running back and they made moves to improve the defense. If the loss of Adams and perhaps a little bit of regression from a 13-4 season knocks the Packers back a bit, it wouldn't be a big surprise.

But they can take a step back and still win the division.

The Packers and Aaron Rodgers are looking for a fourth straight division title. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)
The Packers and Aaron Rodgers are looking for a fourth straight division title. (Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images)

Who can topple the Packers?

Even if the Packers aren't quite as good as the past two seasons, when they got back-to-back No. 1 seeds in the NFC, who would you trust to beat them?

The Vikings have the second-best odds, and maybe a coaching change will help. They fired Mike Zimmer and hired former Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell. But Minnesota has been stuck in mediocrity for a while. They did OK in free agency but there still should be questions if the roster, with a rookie head coach, can surpass the Packers.

The Bears and Lions are further behind. The Bears seem set on a slow rebuild and didn't invest much in getting second-year quarterback Justin Fields any help. Chicago also has a first-time head coach in Matt Eberflus. The Lions were more competitive than expected last season but there's still a reason the Lions ended up with the second overall pick of this year's draft. There are reasons to believe the Lions can improve this season, but it's hard to buy them passing the Packers. Maybe the Lions are a little interesting at 9-to-1 odds, but it's still the Lions.

It's difficult to lay -175 odds on the Packers winning the division, given a few vulnerabilities. It's even harder finding a team you can realistically see knocking them off.

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