The NFC North will be an interesting division this year even though there are probably only two teams who can win it. We can eliminate the Bears, who will be using this season to decide if Justin Fields is the answer and who is worth keeping on the roster next year. The Lions are getting the "Hard Knocks" bump and are building a pretty good roster but still might be a year away. Meanwhile, the Vikings and Packers are atop the group with Aaron Rodgers losing his best wide receiver and the Vikings trying to overcome some disappointing years.
NFL Win Totals for 2022: AFC East I AFC North I AFC South I AFC West I NFC East I NFC North I NFC South I NFC West
Note: Win total numbers courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Chicago Bears (Over 6.5 +150...Under 6.5 -190)
Division Champion Odds: 15/1
Offense: Well ... this could be interesting. It's Year 2 for Justin Fields, who had 10 interceptions to seven touchdown passes. His legs were as advertised, though, averaging nearly six yards per carry. Unfortunately, he needed to use them too much because of a porous offensive line which could be a problem once again in 2022. The ground game has a little potential with David Montgomery back along with former Hokie Khalil Herbert. There's not a lot of talent out wide, though, as Darnell Mooney is No. 1, with Byron Pringle, Velus Jones Jr., and Equanimeous St. Brown also in the WR room.
Defense: This side of the ball also is going to struggle after losing Khalil Mack, among others. This team was third in defending the pass and there are expected to be two rookies starting in the secondary in second-round picks Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker. Chicago got their first win when Roquan Smith decided to end his "hold-in" and play out the end of his rookie deal. Smith led the team with 163 tackles last year and is the most talented player on this side of the ball. Up front, Robert Quinn returns after having 18.5 of the 49 sacks the unit had.
Schedule Notes: October features four of five on the road, including trips to Minnesota, Dallas, and New England. Three of their final four are at home, but by mid-December, this team could be trying to line themselves up for a better draft pick.
Prediction: This could be the worst team in the league. Shop around and maybe even look for an alternate line to go under 5.5 or 4.5 wins.
Related: Chicago Bears Depth Chart
Detroit Lions (Over 6.5 -125...Under 6.5 +105)
Division Champion Odds: 10/1
Offense: You may not realize it, but Detroit has one of the best offensive lines in football, and it will be instrumental once again in opening holes for D'Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. That's not a bad duo to run the ball with. The ground game allows Jared Goff to be able to be a game manager and try not to make the mistakes that have killed this team in the past. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown was a revelation in 2021 and now has help in veteran DJ Chark and eventually Alabama rookie Jameson Williams, who is starting the year on the PUP list.
Defense: Getting more sacks was No. 1 on the Lions' wishlist after finishing 30th in the league with only 30 last season. They hoped to accomplish that by taking Aidan Hutchinson from Michigan second overall. That will add some talent to a front line that needs more playmakers. The secondary needs to be better after checking in 24th in pass defense in 2021. Both Jeff Okudah and Jerry Jacobs are coming off some serious injuries. Luckily the team was able to lock up Tracy Walker III to a three-year extension after he lead the team with 108 tackles.
Schedule Notes: We'll know a lot about the Lions early as they host Philadelphia and Washington in the first two weeks. Detroit has the early Week 6 bye and then has to take on playoff contenders Dallas, Miami, and Green Bay. They have three straight at home beginning on Thanksgiving, but then play three of four on the road to close things out.
Prediction: The over here is the bet. The Lions have a bunch of easy games and should approach eight wins overall.
Related: Detroit Lions Depth Chart
Green Bay Packers (Over 11 -110...Under 11 -110)
Division Champion Odds: -190
Offense: If Aaron Rodgers can win the MVP with this wide receiver group, we may have to discuss him being one of the all-time greats. He lost perhaps his favorite receiver ever, Davante Adams, as well as Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. The remaining group features two rookies in Christian Watson, who has been injured a lot of the preseason, and Romeo Doubs plus veterans Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, and Allen Lazard. Rodgers will have to be patient with his weapons if they drop the ball. Of course, Matt LaFleur can just choose to run it with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, but there have been some early injuries on the offensive line. Both David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins are questionable for Week 1, and who knows how healthy they'll be when they return.
Defense: The defense was top 10 in a lot of categories in 2021 and has pretty much everyone back minus Za'Darius Smith, who went to the rival Vikings. Green Bay used both first-round draft picks on Georgia defensive players to help get a little younger. Linebackers Rashan Gary and Preston Smith combined for 18.5 sacks. Midseason pickup Rasul Douglas was a major factor in this unit's turn-around, and he's back again with Jaire Alexander and second-year corner Eric Stokes. This unit should have around the same numbers they had last year.
Schedule Notes: The Packers have just three true home games in the first nine weeks of the season, since they will be traveling to London as part of a stretch of four of five outside of Wisconsin. They also have a very late bye week, but there's three of four in Lambeau Field afterward.
Prediction: I wanted to play the number, but there are a lot of winnable games, so I stayed away from playing either side.
Related: Green Bay Packers Depth Chart
Minnesota Vikings (Over 9 -130...Under 9 +110)
Division Champion Odds: +260
Offense: There is some excitement on this side of the ball with the hire of Kevin O'Connell, who did big things with Kirk Cousins in DC. Early reports say there will be a lot of passing from this team, and why not when you have the amazing Justin Jefferson, who recorded 108 receptions for 1,616 yards in 2021. Adam Thielen and KJ Osborn are solid supplemental targets, as well as tight end Irv Smith Jr. Of course, they cannot forget about their awesome duo at running back in Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. The two ran for 1,650 yards last season and spell each other nicely. Minnesota should take off even more offensively as long as they stay healthy.
Defense: There were some odd numbers with this defense in 2021. They were second in sacks with 51 but finished 30th overall in yards allowed. Time and time again, teams ran it with ease and were able to get chunks of yards through the air as well. We'll see how the transition to 3-4 goes, as they've got plenty of solid linebackers to use. The squad added Jordan Hicks and Za'Darius Smith to go with Eric Kendricks and Danielle Hunter. Patrick Peterson is back at corner with Cameron Dantzler manning the other side until rookie Andrew Booth Jr. can take it from him. Booth had a non-contact injury in the preseason, but it doesn't look major. There are questions here, but improvement should be coming.
Schedule Notes: We'll learn a lot about the Vikings in Week 1 when they host the Packers, whom they figure to be in a tight race with. They then spend three of their next five out of Minneapolis, including a matchup with the Saints in London. After the bye, Minnesota is home for six of their next nine contests before closing out the final two games on the road.
Prediction: Pretty solid number, as I lean to the over here.
Related: Minnesota Vikings Depth Chart
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.