The Green Bay Packers may have had another early exit from the playoffs but that hasn’t stopped some from predicting a quick rebound. Some early sportsbooks have the Packers odds of returning to the Super Bowl next year at 12-1. That is second only to the 49ers, Broncos and Seahawks, all at 5-1.
That’s not too shabby for an 8-8-1 team but really just shows the power that Aaron Rodgers has with the betting the public. With a little luck the Packers will be back in the big game and if you didn’t take the 12-1 odds you will be able to bet on them in a multitude of ways at sports.bwin.com/en/nfl.
Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson still feels the Packers are contenders, pretty much swearing off free agency this week while at the Senior Bowl. While he didn’t say he wouldn’t sign a free agent he insinuated it would take extraordinary circumstances to do so.
If the Packers are to return to glory they will need to follow the path of the Denver Broncos and not the Seattle Seahawks. Like the Broncos the Packers have an all-world quarterback but lack a top tier defense. The Broncos finished 19th in total defense during the regular season giving up 356 yards per game. They have stepped it up in the postseason knocking that average down to 289 in wins over San Diego and New England.
The Packers will have to improve upon their 25th ranked defense someway, somehow and with only avenue for improving that will be a tall task. A healthy Rodgers will help the defense by keeping them from playing from behind as much as they did this past year but the lack of playmakers is still a major concern.
It will be interesting to see if Thompson is just blowing smoke or will he make a run at guys like Brian Orakpo or Jairus Byrd if they make it to free agency. The Packers two biggest needs are linebacker and safety and both of those players would be huge upgrades.
The Packers will have to take care of some of their own free agents first, so we may see some activity before the start of real free agency in March. That activity, or lack thereof, may signal which direction the Packers go. If they let their big names walk they may be freeing up funds, if they re-sign a bunch of them it is probably business as usual.
Here’s hoping they let them walk.