2017 NFC North Off Season Report Cards, Odds: Packers, Bears, Vikings, Lions

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ESPN.com issued its off season report cards on the NFC North for 2017 while Gambling911.com has its picks based on the best futures odds

Chicago Bears – It may first appear as if the Bears will turn things around in 2017 with the drafting of Mitchell Trubisky in the hopes of solving their quarterback situation, ESPN.com’s Bill Barnwell questions throwing all their assets in this direction.

Even if the Bears end up finding a useful quarterback out of the combination of Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky, it's difficult to admire how they approached the market in doing so. General manager Ryan Pace committed $18.5 million in guarantees to Glennon despite suggestions that nobody else was interested in coming close to matching Chicago's offer. It's hard to imagine that there was an enormous market of teams lining up to give Glennon starting quarterback money, given his relative ineffectiveness during his time with the Bucs and perennial inaccuracy dating back to college.

He added:

Glennon is not particularly useful to the Bears at this point because they basically have him signed to a one-year deal and have every intention of transitioning to Trubisky as their long-term quarterback in the near future. It's tempting to try to hold out for a Sam Bradford-sized trade offer, but it's rare for teams to lose their starting quarterback in training camp or the preseason and send a first-round pick to another team to acquire a quarterback.

As a result, Barnwell gives the Bears off season activity a C-.

Oddsmakers have the Bears winning 5 regular season games with the OVER priced at -110.  Tough call here.

Green Bay Packers – Barnwell gives the Packers the best grade in the division at B-. 

One of the main reasons: They threw resources at the defensive backfield.  But with that being said, their offensive line could be hurting coming into 2017.

We were wondering last year whether the Packers would keep both of their Pro Bowl guards in the fold, given that Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang were both a year away from free agency. It has to be a surprise that neither of them are on the roster now. Sitton was surprisingly released before the 2016 season and is now in Chicago, while the Packers chased Lang before eventually losing him to the Lions. JC Tretter, who started at center in Corey Linsley's absence last season, also departed for the Browns in free agency.

The interior of the line is a work in progress. Lane Taylor kept his head above water in Sitton's absence, which will be plenty fine for 2017. Linsley is back from his hamstring injury, but right guard is a major question mark.

The linebacker situation will continue to be a problem while they will likely have a hole at defensive end with rookie third-round pick Montravius Adams probably competing with journeyman Ricky Jean-Francois for snaps.

The Packers are listed to win 10.5 regular season games by oddsmakers.

Minnesota Vikings – They’re baaaaaack?

This is a Vikings team that has enjoyed much success Against The Spread over the past few seasons, enjoying the best record at covering the spread two years ago.

There has been a dramatic improvement in the Vikings offensive line. 

Massively in need of an upgrade at tackle, general manager Rick Spielman paid a premium to find veterans at both spots. On the left side, he imported Lions tackle Riley Reiff, who spent four years on the left side amid regular speculation that Detroit didn't particularly value him there before moving him to the right side after drafting Taylor Decker in 2016. The Vikings are paying Reiff $36 million over the first three years of his deal, so Reiff will need to stick on the left side and play well to justify his contract.

Barnwell gives the Vikes off season moves a C+ grade.

OVER 8.5 regular season games was priced at just +105 and has some good value. Also consider a small future play on the Vikings to win the NFC North paying $300 for every $100 bet.

Detroit Lions – The Lions also continued to invest in their offensive line during the off season but, according to Barnwell, are “dangerously thin at the defensive end”. 

They are a -140 favorite to win OVER 7.5 regular season games in 2017.

- Don Shapiro, Gambling911.com

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