The NFC North figures to be one of the toughest divisions in football, featuring a ton of explosive players on both sides of the ball as well as some characters on the sidelines. Here is a look at which players – and coaches – will have the biggest football betting impact the division race.
Chicago Bears – Marc Trestman, Head Coach
The Bears decided to fire Lovie Smith after starting the season 7-1, but still missed the playoffs. They have gone with Trestman, who coached Montreal to a pair of Grey Cups and has been lauded for his work with quarterback Anthony Calvillo. Now, Trestman has Jay Cutler and the Chicago offense should be more open. He has also worked in the NFL before, so this won’t be new to him, but he has never been a head coach in the NFL before and we all know that is a whole different beast than the CFL.
Detroit Lions – Ryan Broyles, WR
The Reggie Bush signing was very good as it gives the Lions a reliable running back (for now), but what they really need is a #2 receiver to take some pressure off Calvin Johnson, the best wideout in football and Broyles is the leading candidate for that spot. Broyles broke the record for career receptions while at Oklahoma and had a promising rookie season in 2013, but now he has to stay healthy as he has had knee surgery twice in the past. The Lions were incredibly disappointing last season, going 4-12 under heavy expectations and are looking to bounce back; Broyles could play a huge part in that resurgence.
Green Bay Packers – David Bakhtiari, T
Receiver Randall Cobb would be the trendy pick for being the Packers’ x-factor, but the real story is up front, where Green Bay allowed 51 sacks last season; NFL betting cappers should note that only Arizona gave up more. Now they head into the season without starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga, who tore his ACL in camp and the first one in line to replace him is Bakhtiari, a rookie selected with the 109th pick out of Colorado. Left tackle has become one of the most important positions on the field as they protect the quarterback’s blind side, and if the Packers lose Aaron Rodgers, they’ll be in all sorts of trouble. If Bakhtiari (or whoever wins the LT battle) struggles, the Packers’ hopes will go down the drain.
Minnesota Vikings – Greg Jennings, WR
Jennings left Green Bay for the Vikings and has proceeded to trash the Packers basically every time he is in front of a microphone, so he has a lot to back up in 2013. He is the Vikings’ best receiver and he gives Christian Ponder, who was inconsistent last season, a legitimate target. Theoretically, that should open up the offense and hopefully stop teams from putting eight in the box against Adrian Peterson, the league’s top running back. He could also give the Vikings an inside look at how Green Bay works on both sides of the ball. This will be a huge year for Jennings.