Green Bay Packers: Three predictions for the 2018 season

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 20: Head coach Mike Pettine of the Cleveland Browns during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 20, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 20: Head coach Mike Pettine of the Cleveland Browns during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at FirstEnergy Stadium on September 20, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Three predictions for the Green Bay Packers in 2018.

To me, it seems as if the Green Bay Packers’ style of the play in the last four to five years is comparable to that of an inexperienced boxer. If you are aggressive on offense, the novice boxer will falter, forgetting to protect his/her head.

Instead of some sort of defense, they try to hit back, but harder than the blow they received. The aggression confuses the fighter (our team), as their only instinct is to punch until they see their opponent on the ground. Although such a slugfest may seem excellent to watch as fans, it doesn’t always guarantee consistency, or even victory.

In recent years, the Packers have put that scenario on display on the football field. When the other team was aggressive, strategic, and bold on offense, our defense seemed to dissolve. It was always up to our offense to bail the team out of stressful situations. They punched, and we punched harder. Soon, we found ourselves crossing our fingers as the final seconds approached, and we could only watch as the scoreboard climbed higher and higher as the different sides touched the ball.

The experienced boxer, however, is patient when formulating an attack. He can sit back for a couple of rounds and withstand blows because of a balanced skill set. A boxer, or rather a football team, that can hit and defend, becomes a champion, more specifically, Super Bowl champions.

For a team as talented as Green Bay, it shouldn’t be long before the Lombardi Trophy relocates back home. The time it takes just depends on the defense, and the team’s ability to develop it.

The chance will come when the defense is formidable enough to put pressure on the offense. And as easy as that is to say behind a computer, I see the improvement from the players. The holes that many offenses exploited last season are filling up. The quarterback can no longer check the wind direction, look down the field a few times, and then toss the ball up to an open receiver.

There will be pressure coming from all sides, especially with the addition of Muhammed Wilkerson.

No matter how much we praise the moves made by the front office during the offseason, the question will always be the same for every team. Is it enough to win in February? And if that answer is no, whatever praise we can give the team “for doing well” or “playing hard” suddenly becomes irrelevant.

With that said, let’s get into the three predictions I have this season for the Green Bay Packers.

1. The defense will shock

Allow me to remind you that the Packers’ cornerback performance last year was one of the worst in the league. To improve, they must cover up such gaps on defense. Obviously, the keys to improving a lackluster defense are the moves made in the offseason and the draft.

The Packers’ top two picks, cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson, serve the sole purpose of helping improve coverage of the ball. Alexander put up good numbers in college, especially for only playing two years. Last season, he had 18 total tackles, four assisted tackles and one interception.

However, Alexander suffered a bad knee injury right before the 2017 season, so his selection is more of a wildcard. When fully healthy, the Packers must trust him for his leadership ability and his capability to perform under pressure.

Jackson was mocked to go the Packers with the 14th overall pick so often, so seeing him in the second round was truly a surprise. His presence will help the Packers’ coverage substantially.

Muhammad Wilkerson was another addition this year. His presence will serve as the last piece needed to form a formidable defensive line. Mike Daniels comments’ on the matter should serve as a great representation of what many coaches might be saying about this addition.

Lastly, Mike Pettine, an excellent defensive coach, will take the reins this season. His experience should propel the defensive squad further, and help develop the rookies to the best of their abilities.

Yet, even with these additions and changes, these moves aren’t getting much coverage. No one expects a completely transformed defense, but for a team that is always a threat on offense, these moves haven’t garnered much attention. Not many see the Packers as “Super Bowl material”. However, such a fact may only boost the team’s opportunity, as with less pressure comes better play.

This year, the Packers’ defense has a chance to shock the NFL world.

2. The tight ends will play a key role in run for Super Bowl

After seeing the importance of the Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski connection for the Patriots, we can only hope that Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis can connect with Rodgers. The signing of these two players can take this team to another level. The offense becomes a threat throughout every position, and for an aging Rodgers, scrambling out of the pocket and seeing Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, Graham or Lewis running down the field isn’t a bad sight.

Additionally, say the defense never clicks. Say the 40-yard bombs still catch the defense by surprise next season. A good set of tight ends and receivers will be the best backup a team can provide. There’s a reason we know better than to switch off the TV when there’s one minute left and the Patriots are down by eight: the tight end-quarterback partnership of Gronkowski and Brady.

3. The Packers will win the Super Bowl this season

It’s true.

In rather blunt fashion, I have confidence in saying such a thing because Rodgers is back this season. The defense is better. The coaching changes have brought successful veterans to the sidelines. The team seems more confident this year.

Although the Packers’ schedule may in fact be the hardest of any team, the chances to eliminate possible contenders often gets ignored. If the Packers are able to defeat most of the teams on this schedule, the odds are that not every contender will make the playoffs, making it an easier route to the trophy.

Next: Top 30 moments in Green Bay Packers history

Of course, we can’t be sure until it all begins on September 9, but this season should shape up to be a good one for the Green Bay Packers.