With just days remaining before training camp, football’s analysts are putting their predictions on record. The data-driven folks at Pro Football Focus recently released their forecast for the NFC North, which sees the Minnesota Vikings with slightly higher odds than the Green Bay Packers to win the division.
PFF’s numbers give the Vikings a 38 percent chance to take the North, while Green Bay has a 23 percent chance, Detroit 23 percent and Chicago 16 percent.
Naturally the numbers point toward the Vikings appearing in the playoffs. PFF gives them a 50 percent shot at the postseason. The Packers, Lions and Bears are all 35 percent or below. And the Vikings are listed as the highest Super Bowl percentage among NFC North teams at five percent. Assuming they make the playoffs, those chances to up. PFF wrote:
“The Vikings remain the class of the division, but are projected under their 10.5 Vegas win total going into the season. As stated above, Green Bay is projected to improve from 2017, but due to the relatively-unique situation of getting back a generational player at the quarterback position, are well underneath their Vegas win total. Be that as it may, their probability of winning the Super Bowl given that they make the playoffs is 6.1 percent, which is closer to the Vikings number in that situation (7.2 percent) than in the general simulation, showing the effects of an elite quarterback when the air is rarefied.”
The Vikings’ expected win total might come as a surprise. PFF’s numbers have Minnesota as a nine-win team. The Vegas over/under is 10 wins.
Chicago has been one of the darlings of the offseason because of numerous offseason additions and a coaching change. Still they are predicted to finish last, albeit in a very tight race. PFF wrote:
Among optimistic plays on win totals, the Bears OVER 6.5 wins (even at -130) offers the best value, especially given the aforementioned environment surrounding second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. The Lions, however, are still the favorite to finish third in the division, earning more wins than the Bears in more than 50 percent of our simulations.