Just how much does Aaron Rodgers mean to the Green Bay Packers? Before he was shelved with a broken collarbone, the Packers were a big favorite to win the NFC North and among the top picks to win the conference and Super Bowl. That all changed with one Anthony Barr tackle last Sunday. Barr’s hit not only propelled the Vikings to a victory over their rival, it also moved Minnesota to the favorite to claim the division title.
There is no replacing Rodgers, but the Packers aren’t as bad off as everyone thinks. They didn’t look very good with Brett Hundley at the helm against Minnesota, but the team was still absorbing the shock of what just happened to their leader. The club has had time to digest the gravity of the situation and with Hundley having a week to prep as the starter, the Packers will move forward with their first outing against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The Vikings are potentially the biggest winner from the Rodgers injury, but they’ll have to overcome some quarterback issues of their own. Case Keenum is the starter for the foreseeable future with Sam Bradford dealing with a knee injury. A position of weakness could soon become a strength with Teddy Bridgewater getting the green light to resume practicing. He’s nowhere near returning to game action, but there’s healthy competition for a spot that needs to be better. The Vikings will continue to lean on a top-5 defense that’s the best in the division.
The bye week comes at a good time for the Lions, who need Matthew Stafford to get healthy for the remainder of the year to give them a chance. Stafford committed five turnovers and was sacked five times against the Saints, yet the Lions nearly pulled off a miracle comeback. The Lions limped into the off-week with a number of key performers dealing with injuries. Chicago remains the longshot in the division, but the team has looked better since Mitchell Trubisky took over. He won’t put up fantasy-worthy stats given the team’s lack of talent in the passing game, but with the run game producing and the defense playing strong, an upset of the Panthers is a possibility.
Green Bay Packers -300
Minnesota Vikings +425
Detroit Lions +475
Chicago Bears +20000
1. Minnesota Vikings ( 4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS, 2-4 O/U )
1. Green Bay Packers ( 4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS, 4-2 O/U )
3. Detroit Lions ( 3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS, 4-2 O/U )
4. Chicago Bears ( 2-4 SU, 4-2 ATS, 2-4 O/U )
Panthers at Bears ( +3, 40.5 ), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Saints at Packers ( +5.5, 47.5 ), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET - FOX
Ravens at Vikings ( -6, 39.5 ), Sunday, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
The Green Bay Packers are once again revving up for another run at the Super Bowl. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, it’s never out of the question. Green Bay struggled a bit in last year’s regular season but turned it on to win the NFC North and then made it to the NFC Championship game.
The Packers were ousted by the Atlanta Falcons but should once again be on the short list of Super Bowl contenders. Rodgers returns as arguably the best player in the NFL and Green Bay added intriguing tight end Martellus Bennett to help him out on offense. Continue
The Minnesota Vikings thought they were poised to compete for a Super Bowl in 2016, but injuries derailed that dream. The club is hoping for better luck and offensive improvement in 2017, which could lead to a return to the postseason.
Minnesota has one of the best young defenses in the NFL, which will always keep it in games. Longtime superstar running back Adrian Peterson has departed but the Vikings now get a full offseason of work for Sam Bradford, which should help him grasp the offense. The Vikings have a high floor because it has a lot of solid parts, but their ceiling won’t be to an elite level unless the offense can pick it up. Continue
The Detroit Lions watched one of the best receivers in the history of the NFL retire before the 2016 season and didn’t get much out of star linebacker DeAndre Levy. Despite the absence of Calvin Johnson and the injury to Levy, the team still managed to finish 9-7 on the season and make it to the postseason before bowing out against the Seahawks.
Matthew Stafford is back to lead the way in 2017 and the Lions have hopes of pushing for the NFC North title. However, the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings seem more talented and the Lions may regress after outperforming their pythagorean expectation a season ago. This is a big season for Detroit as it hopes to improve rather than take a step back with a lot of the same pieces in place. Continue
The Chicago Bears were one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2016 and aren’t expected to be much better this season. However, there is a fair amount of intrigue with this team after the quarterback additions it made in the offseason.
Mike Glennon was signed to start during free agency, and he will get the reins when the season begins. However, Chicago traded up to No. 2 in the draft in order to secure Mitchell Trubisky, who is seen as the future of the franchise.
The Bears don’t have much firepower on offense, especially with Alshon Jeffery departing in free agency, so it seems unlikely the team puts up many points regardless of who is under center in 2017. Continue
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Overview of what the National Football League AFC divisional teams added and lost in the off-season, along with witch 2017 AFC divisional teams will be tuff to beat. As well, a recap of last season and some wagering advice will also be included.
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