The Green Bay Packers (8/15 NFC North Winner) are the team to beat once again in the NFC North this season with the Minnesota Vikings expected to be their main rivals.
The Packers were the only franchise from the NFC North to extend their campaign into the playoffs last term, winning 13 times to top the NFC Conference standings.
However, they did fall at the first hurdle in the postseason, losing 13-10 against the San Francisco 49ers, and will be keen to advance further this time around.
Minnesota Vikings (13/5 NFC North Winner) narrowly missed out on a wildcard berth after going 8-9 in the regular season, while the Chicago Bears (12/1) and Detroit Lions (10/1) were well below the standard required.
Green Bay Packers
Speculation surrounding the long-term future of quarterback Aaron Rodgers has dominated the the headlines in NFC North over the past few years but he remains a firm fixture ahead of the new campaign.
However, the Packers have lost leading receiver Davante Adams, who was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders, and they do look short at wide receiver.
They will be hoping that rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs can step up to fill the void once the season gets up and running.
The Vikings fell just short of securing a spot in the postseason fixtures last time round but, with new head coach Kevin O’Connell at the helm, they could be one to keep an eye on this season.
O’Connell looks set to open up their offence even more to boost veteran Kirk Cousins and receiving ace Justin Jefferson, while Dalvin Cook spearheads their ground attack.
They’ve also revamped their defence through new defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and he played a key part in the recruitment of Jordan Hicks from the Arizona Cardinals and Za’Darius Smith from divisional rivals Green Bay.
The Chicago Bears seriously struggled last season, going 6-11 as they missed out on the playoffs, but a new regime brings optimism for the future.
It’s unlikely that the Bears will ruffle too many feathers this season but progress is expected over the next few years under new head coach Matt Eberflus.
The rebuild is underway with cornerback Kyler Gordon bolstering the secondary as their second round draft pick, while the addition of defensive guard Lucas Patrick, who joined from the Packers, also looks like smart business.
The Lions finished bottom of the division last term under new head coach Dan Campbell and they’ll be looking to make minor gains this season.
There are definitely more options at Campbell’s disposal with Jameson Williams and D.J. Chark hoping to add some spark in the offensive line for Jared Goff, who needs to step up if he is to cement his spot as Detroit’s long-term quarterback.
Defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn has second overall draft selection and Heisman Trophy runner-up Aidan Hutchinson in his ranks to bolster the Lions’ pass rush.