The Green Bay Packers are seemingly a Super Bowl favorite every year. The franchise has arguably the best quarterback currently in the game, and a solid defense to go along with it .
Will this year be any different? Why should it? They did have a heavy loss in Eddie Lacy (no pun intended), and their solid defense is starting to get up there in age. Key players such as Clay Matthews, 31, and Morgan Burnett, 28, are a few of the notable players reaching their later years for the franchise.
Let’s look at the Packers and see their strengths and weaknesses going into the 2017 season:
Offense: As far as the offense goes, the Packers have one of the most complete receiving corps in the NFL. Keep in mind the team has Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and even added tight end Martellus Bennett in the offseason. I don’t think these guys have the best pass attack in the NFL, but it’s an easy favorite.
With all of that being said, this passing group has nearly zero room for error. If the season started today, I would bet on Ty Montgomery to start at running back. What makes this important is that the team no longer has a true running threat.
With Eddie Lacy previously in the backfield, teams were forced to put bigger guys in on defense, as opposed to now, where defenses can help out with more speed guys to cover the middle of the field.
It also doesn’t help that the Green Bay linemen are great at pass blocking, but seem to be subpar at blocking for the run game. The Packers tried to address the backfield issues through the draft, yet elected to wait to take a running back until the fourth round. With that, I don’t see teams adjusting plans because of RB Jamaal Williams.
This year though, I’m still not worried about the Packers ability to move the ball. Mike McCarthy and staff are very smart, and I think they will do just fine offensively this year.
Defense: When it comes to defense for the Packers, they are a polar opposite of their offense. They can stop the run well, but cannot play against the pass when it matters most. The franchise ranked 31st in passing yards allowed last season, while ranking 8th in rushing yards allowed.
With their first pick in the NFL Draft (#33 overall), the Packers took who I think will be a solid corner in the league in Kevin King out of Washington. They did go and draft a safety later in the second round, providing some depth, but I think Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett will do just fine on their end.
The Packers last year had an underwhelming defense last year, and I think they may slightly improve. They may allow around 24 points per game, but Rodgers and company will likely outscore that amount in most games.
Bottom Line: The Packers are still a real contender in the NFC. You have to go back almost 10 years to find a losing season by this team.
There’s little to no doubt that the Packers will win their division, and even Vegas is putting them in the NFC Championship game, according to the odds (only Dallas was given better odds in the NFC).
Do they have holes? Sure, but what team in the NFL doesn’t? The fact of the matter is with the coaching staff they have, and the players contained on both sides of the ball, I predict for the Packers to go 11-5, and make yet another serious title run.
Photo Courtesy of Getty Images by Joe Robbins