The Chicago Bears went into Monday night’s matchup with the Redskins in Washington as a chance to get their offense back on track. With a 31-15 demolition of the home team, Chicago did just that.
Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky appeared to return to his 2018 form, completing 25 of 31 passes for 231 yards, three touchdowns, and one pick. All three TDs went to receiver Taylor Gabriel, who caught six balls for 75 yards, with a long of 36 yards.
Although the Bears only racked up 298 yards of offense, their first-half explosion ended with 28 points on the board to Washington’s three, putting the game out of reach early. Redskins QB Case Keenum tried to get his squad back in the contest, but he finished 30 of 43 for 332 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
The solid Bears defense got to Keenum four times, totaling 45 yards in sacks. Two of those sacks came from Khalil Mack.
In the end, Chicago overpowered a weak Washington team and improved to 2-1 early in the 2019 season. That sort of strong start isn’t rare for the NFC North, which only has two total losses as a division through three weeks of the regular season.
So, are we talking about the best division in football? Let’s take a look at each NFC North team.
Despite a record of 2-1, the Bears currently sit tied with Minnesota for third in the division. They’re tied with Minnesota in wins and losses but have scored just 50 points so far this season.
The strength of this Chicago club is the defense, which has given up just 39 points through three weeks. Only the Packers (35) and Patriots (17) have allowed fewer.
After a tough 10-3 loss to Green Bay to kick off the season, Chicago has pulled off back-to-back victories over Denver and Washington ahead of next week’s division clash with Minnesota.
The team’s biggest worry is Trubisky, who’s thrown for 228, 120, and 231 yards in his first three games. If head coach Matt Nagy can get his QB on track, the Bears will be a scary team to face.
After starting the year with the best odds to win the division (+160), the Bears now have the third-best odds, at +250.
With an identical 2-1 record as the Bears, the Vikings are another strong defensive unit within the NFC North. The team’s 47 points allowed puts them in the top six of defenses, alongside the Bills (47) and just behind the Cowboys (44).
A Week 2 defeat at the hands of Green Bay has earned the Vikings a division record of 0-1, but strong performances against Atlanta and Oakland will give the team confidence going into next week’s Chicago game.
The Vikings entered the season with +250 odds to win the NFC North, good enough for third-best. Now, Minnesota’s +240 odds rank second in the division.
After a wild season opener against the Cardinals that ended in a tie, the Lions took care of two good teams in the Chargers and Eagles. Now, without a loss on its 2-0-1 record, Detroit sits second in the NFC North.
Despite their division placing at the moment, the Lions have the worst differential among the four NFC North teams (+6). Detroit has scored the second-most points within the division (67), but they’ve also allowed the most (61).
As the only team in the NFC North without a strong defense, the Lions will need quarterback Matthew Stafford to be great if they’re going to compete for a division title. So far, Stafford has thrown for 831 yards, six touchdowns, and two picks.
Entering the season with last-place odds of +1000 to win the division, the Lions’ odds have not changed despite their record.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers have gotten off to a dream start in the NFC North, going 3-0 with two big division wins thrown in. Without giving up more than 16 points in any contest, Green Bay has defeated both Minnesota and Chicago.
Although the Packers have one of the best QBs in football in Aaron Rodgers, the defense has shined brightest for the Pack so far this season. Allowing just 35 total points, Green Bay is currently second in scoring defense in the NFL.
The Packers began the year with the second-best odds of +195 to win the division. Now, Green Bay is sitting pretty with the best odds to win the NFC North at +120.
NFC North: Best Division in Football?
As previously mentioned, the four NFC North teams have a combined two losses, both of which came at the hands of a team within the division. With a surprisingly strong start from the Lions and steady performances out of the other division teams, it’s virtually impossible to place another division ahead of the NFC North.
With Chicago (20/1), Minnesota (16/1), and Green Bay (10/1), the NFC North includes three of the top eight-highest odds to win the Super Bowl, which is better than any other division by a wide margin.
Right now, the NFC North is the best division in the NFL.