Last season was a sobering one for the Green Bay Packers. The team lost Aaron Rodgers in Week 6 to a broken collar bone. Adding insult to injury was the team that knocked him out – the Minnesota Vikings - went on to win the NFC North and get all the way to the NFC title game where it lost in ugly fashion to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. It marked the second straight year and third in the last five that a team from the division played in the final conference game of the season.
When the dust cleared, Green Bay had suffered its first losing season since 2008 and learned once again just how important Aaron Rodgers is to the franchise’s success. Still, linemakers expect the Cheeseheads to catapult themselves back into prominence and give the division rival a run for their money for division honors.
After only logging seven total wins last season, Green Bay’s number to beat this season is 10 wins. A half game lower than last season’s impost. Not surprisingly, the betting market is yet to take a major stance as they take a wait and see approach. Though the line is yet to move since first opening, heavy juice has started to hit the low side of the number. The Packers are +1385 to win Super Bowl LIII, +700 to win the NFC and slight +149 dogs to wrestle the NFC North title away from Minnesota.
Like we saw last season, Green Bay’s success hinges upon Rodgers lining up under center for the entirety of their games. Keep him upright and out of the injury bug’s line of sight, and the Packers are always a force to be reckoned with. Allow him to get injured, and it’s an entirely different ball of wax. The Packers rid themselves of what seems to be an over the hill Jordy Nelson, and brought in what could be an over the hill Jimmy Graham who grossly failed to live up to expectations in Seattle the last few seasons.
Should he fit right in, Green Bay will have some really nice receiving talent on hand with Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison back to signify the changing of the guard. Absolutely nothing was done to shore up the running game, but Ty Montgomery, Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams all looked solid in spurts last season. A more effective passing attack could lead to some big holes for that trio to plow through.
The biggest weakness entering the draft was once again the secondary. Green Bay is solid at the safety positions, but terrible at cornerback. Brian Gutekunst signed Tramon Williams in free agency and then wheeled and dealed to select CBs Jaire Alexander and Joshua Jackson in the draft. Should both grasp the NFL level quickly, Green Bay’s defense could be much improved. If that turns out to be the case, the Packers will once again be an NFC power even though they’ll be running up against one of the toughest schedules in the game.
Week 1: Bears at Packers, Sunday, September 9, 8:20 p.m. ET – NBC
Week 2: Vikings at Packers, Sunday, September 16, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 3: Packers at Redskins, Sunday, September 23, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 4: Bills at Packers, Sunday, September 30, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 5: Packers at Lions, Sunday, October 7, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 6: 49ers at Packers, Sunday, October 15, 8:15 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 7: Bye Week
Week 8: Packers at Rams, Sunday, October 28, 4:25 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 9: Packers at Patriots, Sunday, November 4, 8:20 p.m. ET – NBC
Week 10: Dolphins at Packers, Sunday, November 11, 1 p.m. ET – CBS
Week 11: Packers at Seahawks, Thursday, November 15, 8:20 p.m. ET – FOX/NFL Network
Week 12: Packers at Vikings, Sunday, November 25, 8:20 p.m. ET – NBC
Week 13: Cardinals at Packers, Sunday, December 2, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 14: Falcons at Packers, Sunday, December 9, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 15: Packers at Bears, Sunday, December 16, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 16: Packers at Jets, Sunday, December 23, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 17: Lions at Packers, Sunday, December 30, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
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