When the 2019 NFL regular season kicks off on Thursday, September 5, the Chicago Bears will host the Green Bay Packers in the 199th meeting between these age-old NFC divisional rivals.
In the all-time head-to-head matchup, the Packers narrowly lead the series 97–95–6. Since the NFL merger in 1970-71 season, Green Bay has captured the NFC Central/North division crown 14 times. Meanwhile, the Bears have won 11 divisional titles.
The Bears won the North last year, however, posting a surprising 12-4 record after revamping the defense by trading for standout outside linebacker Khalil Mack. The Packers, meanwhile, haven’t hung an NFC North banner since 2016-17, having stumbled to a 6-9-1 record with quarterback Aaron Rodgers recording one of the only subpar seasons on an otherwise stellar career.
Of course, winning a divisional championship isn’t the end all be all in the NFL – that would be the Super Bowl. And, according to online sportsbook Bovada, both the Bears and Packers are among the Top-10 contenders to win Super Bowl 54 by season’s end. However, before they can compete for the Lombardi Trophy, these two NFC North teams – along with 14 other NFC hopefuls – are looking to lock up the division title that typically sets the stage for a Super Bowl run.
The Packers were the last Wild Card team to win a Super Bowl, winning the Lombardi Trophy back in 2010-11. Since the NFL expanded its postseason bracket back in 1978-79, just six teams have won the Super Bowl as a Wild Card seed.
Below you’ll find a full rundown on the NFC’s four divisional races, complete with full opening odds from Bovada.
Bears Hold Slight Edge in NFL’s Most Competitive Division
Offering the longest odds of any divisional title favorite, third-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears are priced at (+160) odds to win their second straight NFC North title.
Rodgers and the Packers aren’t far behind at (+195), and with the talented Minnesota Vikings lurking at (+240) odds, the NFC North is by far the most balanced division in the NFL for bettors to sweat this year.
Odds to Win NFC North
|Team||Odds to Win NFC East (on 8/20/19)|
|Green Bay Packers||+195|
Eagles and Cowboys Expected to Battle for NFC East
The Dallas Cowboys have won three out of the last five NFC East titles, including last year’s banner hung on the back of an 10-6 season. But, despite boasting a modern-day version of the franchise’s famous “The Triplets” – formed by the dynamic offensive trio of quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott, and wideout Amari Cooper – the Cowboys aren’t even favorites to win the division.
That honor goes to the Philadelphia Eagles (-110) odds, who parlayed an NFC East championship two years ago into pro football’s ultimate prize by winning Super Bowl 52. As for “America’s Team,” the ‘Boys are only slightly off the pace offering (+140) odds.
Odds to Win NFC East
|Team||Odds to Win NFC North (on 8/20/19)|
|New York Giants||+1200|
Saints Hold Significant Edge in Stacked NFC South
The New Orleans Saints have owned the NFC South of late, hoisting a division champion banner in both the last two seasons.
Last season saw the Saints go 13-3 to outdo their divisional competition by a full six games in the standings, solidifying New Orleans’ status as a legitimate Super Bowl contender. The officiating crew infamously blew that chance for quarterback Drew Brees and the Saints (-180) odds, marking one of the NFL’s lowest moments in recent memory.
After seeing 41-year old Tom Brady led the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl win last season, Brees should have all the encouragement a fellow 40-something legend needs to chase his second Lombardi Trophy.
Odds to Win NFC South
|Team||Odds to Win NFC South (on 8/20/19)|
|New Orleans Saints||-180|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||+1200|
Rams Expected to Romp on Way to Winning NFC West
It was the Los Angeles Rams who benefited from that historic ref error in last year’s hotly contested 26-23 NFC Championship overtime thriller. Even with an unintended assist from the officials though, a 13-3 Rams crew that easily won the NFC West last year rightfully earned its shot at Super Bowl glory.
Head coach phenom Sean McVay is back with quarterback Jared Goff running the Rams’ cutting-edge offense. L.A. also has the NFL’s best all-around player in defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who led the league in sacks last season with 20.5 quarterback takedowns.
Odds to Win NFC West
|Team||Odds to Win NFC West (on 8/20/19)|
|Los Angeles Rams||-180|
|San Francisco 49ers||+500|