The Green Bay Packers enter 2017 with a strong roster on their hands. They match up well with most teams in the NFL, specifically their devision rivals.
The Packers and their three division rivals all made major changes to their teams this offseason. They uncharacteristically added five free agents from other teams, while the Bears stunned the world taking Mitchell Trubisky will the second pick of the draft.
The Vikings added depth to their running game and the Lions beefed up their offensive line. The question is, have the Packers done enough to keep a comfortable distance between themselves and their three division foes?
While Sam Bradford doesn’t usually keep defensive coordinators awake at night, the veteran did set the single-season completion percentage record this past season. Bradford combined with new reinforcements at running back make this Vikings offense interesting to look at on the surface. Still without game-breaking talent at wide receiver, the Vikings will have to rely on Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray to try to stifle the Vikings running game.
Fortunately for the Packers, their run defense is in a decent position to battle the new-look Vikings running game. Nick Perry had a breakout season rushing the passer despite missing time with a broken hand and playing the majority of the season with a huge club on his hand.
Healthy and club-free, Perry can be unleashed to exhibit his best strength on the field, run defense. Perry combined with the arrivals of Ricky Jean-Francois and Vince Biegel will make Dallas a stronger team defending the run.
The Bears turned heads with their selection of Trubisky. The Bears’ receiving corp is all over the place at the moment. Lacking a true number one receiver, the bears are hoping that Kevin White suddenly becomes a reliable receiver despite not having yet played in the NFL. Other than White, Victor Cruz, Kendall Wright, and Cameron Meredith are all that Trubisky or Mike Glennon have to work with.
More from Green Bay Packers History
- Green Bay Packers: Players with the most touchdowns by decade
- Which Packers’ draft choices have played the most games, Pro Bowls
- Which former Packers are playing in the XFL in 2023?
- A look back at the extraordinary career of Clay Matthews III
- Packers: A look back at the legendary Reggie White
Green Bay’s secondary was a massive liability this past year, but lots of help is on the way. Kevin King, Josh Jones, Davon House, and a healthy Damarious Randall will go a long way towards improving the weakest position on the team from a year ago.
The Packers should be able to roll over the Bears due to their tightened level of talent at defensive back and the Bears stunning regression at receiver.
Lastly, the Detroit Lions pose the greatest challenge to the Packers this season. Without a running game to balance things out for Matthew Stafford, Zach Zenner was frequently left out on an island all by himself. Now with the return of Ameer Abdullah and a significantly better offensive line, Detroit’s offense could make some good noise this coming year.
This then puts a good amount of pressure on the Packers pass rush. The expectations for Clay Matthews are lower than they’ve been in recent years, while Nick Perry has pressure to live up to his huge new contract. Vince Biegel, Kyler Fackrell, and Mike Daniels need to have strong years for Green Bay in order to pressure the under-appreciated Matthew Stafford.
All in all, the Packers have the tools to match up with anyone they face this year. In their six division games, Green Bay is extremely prepared to face their arch rivals. Green Bay should be in a good position to lock up another division crown as Aaron Rodgers advances further into his 30’s.
The Packers match up well with most teams in the league, but they have a legit shot to sweep the competition against their division rivals this coming year.