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Odds to Win 2019 NFL Divisions
If the Cleveland Browns meet expectations in the 2019 National Football League campaign and win the AFC North it will spur a large number of columns that label them “The Surprise Team” of the season. This despite their current NFL Future to win the division at 5-4 odds. What is just as intriguing to discuss is which teams will disappoint in 2019.
The Chicago Bears were one of the NFL’s most surprising bylines last season. The question of their ability to repeat as NFC North champions depends on as number of variables. In addition was Chicago’s success a result of the disappointing and underachieving play of the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings? Or did the front office orchestrate a positive offseason and staff coach-up the player personnel?
In the case of the Bears it should be noted they will play a first-place schedule rather than a last-place one starting in September. Their two games against same-place finishers include a home contest against the New Orleans Saints and a road tilt against the Los Angeles Rams. And without breaking down the fall matchups two seasons (Spring and Summer) prior to the actual games it is a stretch in this authors world to position the Bears at the same talent level as those teams.
The Bears had the top-ranked scoring defense in 2018, allowing just 17.7 points per game. However, the Bears strength of schedule heading into last year’s campaign was overrated. Last summer Chicago faced the eighth most difficult schedule based on their opponents winning percentage (.520) in the 2017 season. At season’s end Chicago faced only three playoff qualifiers. That being the New England Patriots, Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks.
Chicago lost defensive coordinator Vic Fangio gone to Denver. Additionally one of the most difficult variables to replicate from a prior season is defensive takeaways. Chicago had 36 takeaways in 2018 which was five more than the team with the second most takeaways (Cleveland Browns)
Allot will happen between now and the start, as well the end, of the 2019 NFL campaign but I suggest staying far away from the Bears current 8-5 Odds to Win the NFC North in 2019.