The NFC North 2019-20 NFL Season

Looks like the NFC North has a chance to produce some Black and Blue matchups this season, with the Chicago Bears returning but sans Vic Fangio, the Green Bay Packers showing up with a healthy and newly coached Aaron Rodgers, the Minnesota Vikings ready to prove their investment in Kirk Cousins was right and the Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford looking to finally roar again, so we take a look at the history of this division and the odds and predictions of its teams in 2019-20.

Expect some fun competition in the NFC North this upcoming NFL season because the Chicago Bears have virtually the same roster that got them a 12-4 record last year and a trip to the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons.

Except now, the Green Bay Packers, with a healthy Aaron Rodgers, are under new (and youthful) management while the Minnesota Vikings are ready to take another swing with their highly paid gunslinger Kirk Cousins prepared to prove his worth.

The Detroit Lions are the little caboose that thinks it can, and if veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford has his way he and second-year head coach Matt Patricia actually will, and here we take a look at this upcoming Black and Blue Divisional situation, including the history of the AFC  North along with its teams’ odds and predictions for 2019.

Want more NFL 2019-20 predictions? Then check out our articles covering the AFC East, AFC West, AFC NorthAFC South and NFC East.

For the NFL newbies, what exactly is the NFC North?

If you’re just learning about the NFL, here’s a quick primer on how the league divides its teams based on the regions where each resides in order to build a balanced and fair schedule.

The National Football League (NFL) formed in 1920 and faced competition from many other leagues until 1966, when the NFL finally merged with the fourth American Football League (AFL) and held the very first Super Bowl at the end of that season.

Beginning in 2002, after realigning and adding some expansion teams over the years, the NFL now has thirty-two teams that are split into two conferences, the American Football Conference (AFC) and the National Football Conference (NFC).

Each of those two conferences is then split up into four divisions – North, South, East and West – with four teams in each, and in this article, we will be focusing on the NFC North, aka the “Black and Blue Division” for its punishing games between rivals.

The NFC North officially began in 2002 when the NFL split into eight divisions, but was formerly named the NFC Central since 1970 when the NFL/AFL merger was completed, and before that was called the Central Division of the NFL’s Western conference since it was created in 1967.

The teams of the NFC North are:

  1. Chicago Bears, who play at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois
  2. Detroit Lions, who play at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan
  3. Green Bay Packers, who play at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin
  4. Minnesota Vikings, who play at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Which team has the most Divisional titles since 1970?

Since 1970, the Minnesota Vikings have won the most divisional titles (18):

  • NFC Central titles – 14
  • NFC North titles – 4

The Green Bay Packers are next with 13 divisional titles:

  • NFC Central titles – 4
  • NFC North titles – 9

The Chicago Bears are next with 11 divisional titles:

  • NFC Central titles – 7
  • NFC North titles – 4

The Detroit Lions are last with 3 divisional titles:

  • NFC Central titles – 3
  • NFC North titles – 0

Which NFC North team has the most Lombardi Trophies?

The Green Bay Packers, who have won three NFC championships, have turned those (and two of their pre-1970 NFL Championships) into four Super Bowl wins: I in 1966, II in 1967, XXXI in 1996, and XLV in 2010.

The Chicago Bears, who have won two NFC championships, turned those into one Super Bowl win: XX in 1985.

Next are the Minnesota Vikings, who won three NFC championships but couldn’t turn them into any Super Bowl wins.

Last are the Detroit Lions, who have never won an NFC championship and therefore have never been to the Super Bowl.

How many Super Bowl rings has the NFC North won?

The NFC North has won five Super Bowls among its four teams.

The NFL division with the most Lombardi trophies is the NFC East, with a combined thirteen Super Bowl Championships, while the NFL divisions with the least amount of Super Bowl rings are the NFC and AFC South, with two Super Bowl rings apiece.

The NFC has won 27 total Super Bowls, while the AFC has won 26.

How did the NFC North do in 2018?

 Chicago Bears - y 12 4 0
 Minnesota Vikings 8 7 1
 Green Bay Packers 6 9 1
 Detroit Lions 6 10 0

The NFC North only produced one playoff team in the 2018-19, the Chicago Bears earning the third seed and having to play in the Wild Card round.

The Bears got beat by the Philadelphia Eagles in an extremely close one, 15-16, which ended their first postseason since 2010.

The Vikings came one tie short of the postseason, but instead the Eagles went to the playoffs as the NFC’s second Wild Card team, but lost in the Divisional Round to the New Orleans Saints, 14-20.

What are the odds and predictions of the NFC North in 2019?

Of the four NFC North teams, the Bears have the best odds of winning the Super Bowl next season (+1600), and just behind them are the Packers (+1800), then come the Vikings (+2200) and in way last come the Lions (+12500).

When it comes to the NFC Championship, again the Bears are the NFC North favorites (+700), with the Packers and Vikings next (+1000) and finally the Lions (+5000), who currently have the worst odds in the NFC of winning the Conference Championship.

Here’s how the NFC North is predicted to rank during the 2019-20 season, including the odds of who will end up in first place of the division:

4) Detroit Lions

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Despite an offseason where general manager Bob Quinn did what he could to spark the Detroit Lions’ 24th ranked offense, including hiring a new offensive coordinator, Darrell Bevell, signing slot receiver Danny Amendola and running back C.J. Anderson and drafting first round tight end T.J. Hockenson, this franchise remains an NFL long shot.

Last season, under then first-year head coach Matt Patricia’s leadership, the Lions dropped three total wins from the previous season and failed to qualify for the playoffs for the second year in a row, trends that best change for the better in his second season in charge or else Patricia may find himself looking for a new job.

Quinn is counting on the newly acquired defensive end Trey Flowers and cornerback Justin Coleman to fit into Paul Pasqualoni’s defensive scheme that had the Lions’ ranked 10th overall in total defense last season.

Giving franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford two solid new targets should help turn around his recent downward slump, but unless Bevell can figure out how to game plan for more than 20 points per game – last season they only managed to do that in half their matchups – the Lions won’t have a chance in the offense-centric modern NFL.  

For more details, please check out our earlier coverage:  The Detroit Lions' Biggest Offseason Moves 2019 - Odds and Predictions

3) Minnesota Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings’ front office had to fight off a huge wave of buyers’ regret after Kirk Cousins, the franchise quarterback they gave (at the time) the highest paying contract in NFL history (fully-guaranteed three-year deal worth $84 million), failed to get the Vikes back into the playoffs again.

Football experts blame a weak Minnesota front line for breaking down too early (and too often), so weak that it cost offensive coordinator John DeFilippo his job and it became one of the main focuses of general manager Rick Spielman’s offseason, who signed guard Josh Kline and used his first round draft pick (18th overall) to select North Carolina State’s center Garrett Bradbury.

The defense lost tackle Sheldon Richardson, but Spielman signed Shamar Stephen to try and fill his shoes after posting 2.0 sacks, 3 quarterback hits and 25 tackles (2 for loss) last season for the Seattle Seahawks.

This season will be head coach Mike Zimmer’s take two with Cousins, and both will be counting on promoted quarterbacks coach Kevin Stefanski to coordinate the offense and bring out the side of Cousins that’s talented enough to beat both the Packers and the Bears.

For more details, please check out our earlier coverage: The Minnesota Vikings' Biggest Offseason Moves 2019 - Odds and Predictions

2) Green Bay Packers

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For the first time since 1990 to 1991, the Green Bay Packers suffered back to back losing seasons and for the first time since 2005 to 2006, Green Bay missed the postseason two years in a row, so general manager Brian Gutekunst fired head coach Mike McCarthy after 13 often glorious seasons.

Now leading the Pack is young talent, Matt LaFleur, who spent last season as the Tennessee Titans’ offensive coordinator and more importantly spent 2017 doing the same job for Sean McVay’s Rams in Los Angeles, so the hope is that young LaFleur will breathe life back into Green Bay’s floundering franchise and create some winning game plans that take advantage of having Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers under center.

Injuries to his knee have hampered Rodgers’ ability to move outside of the pocket last season, yet he was still nominated to the Pro Bowl for the seventh time in his career, so if the thirty-five year old veteran can stay healthy this season there’s no reason to think that he can’t make another run at the Lombardi.

Especially given that Gutekunst got some offseason help for the Packers’ 18th ranked defense, including drafting two first round picks (end Rashan Gary and strong safety Darnell Savage), and signing linebackers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith.

For more details, please check out our earlier coverage: The Green Bay Packers' Biggest Offseason Moves 2019 - Odds and Predictions

1) Chicago Bears

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First year head coach Matt Nagy proved he was the real deal last year by leading his Chicago Bears to a 12-6 season, the best record posted by Chicago since the Bears went to Super Bowl XLI in 2006.

Of course, the Bears did that with a 3rd ranked defense coordinated by Vic Fangio, who was just hired away as the newest Denver Broncos head coach, so it will remain to be seen if his replacement, former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts Chuck Pagano, can keep that side of the ball just as strong.

Shouldn’t be too difficult given that it’s mostly the same squad except with the addition of strong safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who last year for the Packers and Washington Redskins had 93 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, 6 passes defended, 2 quarterback hits, a fumble recovery and a sack.

Third-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has proven he can get the job done under center, last season throwing for a career high of 3,223 yards and 24 touchdowns with 12 interceptions in 14 games, so now it’s a matter of getting his highly favored team past the first round of the playoffs.

For more details, please check out our earlier coverage: The Chicago Bears' Biggest Offseason Moves And 2019 Odds And Predictions

NFL 2020 Championship Winning Division

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