Based on moves made this offseason, fans of the Green Bay Packers may be concerned. Friday’s preseason game against the San Francisco 49ers probably didn’t quiet those concerns.
For the past two seasons, the Packers have dominated the regular season. In consecutive years the team finished with the number one seed in NFC and were amongst the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
However, let’s discuss some realistic expectations for Green Bay this season.
Taking a step back during the regular season
Since the Davante Adams trade, there’s been this looming question of how the Packers are going to replace the All-Pro receiver. After not making any major acquisitions, it seems they’re trusting the remaining receivers on the roster.
This includes Allen Lazard, Amari Rodgers and Randall Cobb, in addition to newly-added free-agent signing Sammy Watkins and rookie Christian Watson.
Due to this, Green Bay’s offense may struggle at certain points during the season, due to lack of chemistry.
So unlike in years past, Green Bay may lose some of the offensive shootouts they’re accustomed to winning.
Because of Aaron Rodgers winning the MVP the past two seasons, the team had one of the most prolific passing offenses in the NFL. With a drop in talent at receiver, that won’t be the case.
While Rodgers is likely to have another highly productive season, another MVP award with these surrounding pieces would be shocking.
Therefore, the Packers must find other ways to win games to remain contenders in the NFC. Expect Green Bay to win around 11 games this year, opposed to the 13 they’ve won each year under head coach Matt LaFleur.
Green Bay is now a dark horse contender
As mentioned earlier, the Packers must find new ways to win in the regular season. Yet, they are well equipped to do so. While the talent at receiver has dipped, that is not the case for the rest of the roster.
On defense, the team is loaded with talent, starting in the secondary.
Green Bay will have Jaire Alexander back for a full season. Surrounding the superstar cornerback is Eric Stokes entering his sophomore season.
The Packers also bring back veteran Adrian Amos, last year’s standout Rasul Douglas, and Darnell Savage, who is close to a contract year.
In the front seven, All-Pro De’Vondre Campbell returns, along with stars Kenny Clark and Rashan Gary. Not to mention, the two first-round picks from Georgia in Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt.
All this talent could lead the Packers to potentially having a top-10 defense. Could you imagine opposing teams being more concerned about Green Bay’s defense than stopping Rodgers?
But what complements a good defense… an even better running game. The Packers have that as well, with the duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillion. That tandem combined for over 2,200 combined yards and 17 touchdowns last season.
Clearly, LaFleur is learning how to effectively integrate both running backs into the offense. Expect an even bigger season from the duo in their third year together.
With the running game and defense being a catalyst during the regular season, the Packers should win the NFC North again, despite being projected to win less games.
The only question that remains is will that dominant regular season team emerge in the playoffs?
While we wait to find out, it must be noted that if the Packers make the playoffs they’d be underdogs in some of their matchups.
And well, the last time they were playoff underdogs with Rodgers, a good running game and a formidable defense was 2010. Better known as the last time Green Bay won a Super Bowl.