Tough schedule could mean tough year

This will be the third season since the Packers won the Super Bowl and nothing I have seen thus far in training camp and the preseason makes me think they will be any better this year than the last two. Granted, this is the new NFL and the preseason is no longer for starters so we don’t really know what we have yet, but I haven’t seen enough from the players that did play to make me think the Packers will be better this year.

On offense the Packers lost wide receiver Greg Jennings to free agency and left tackle Bryan Bulaga to injury, cut their leading rusher from last year and replaced him with a rookie whose motivation is questionable. Eddie Lacy has all the talent in the world but doesn’t really like football, which scares me more than a little. I think the offense takes another step back this year after falling out of the top ten last year for the first time in head coach Mike McCarthy’s tenure.

On defense the Packers do have a chance to be better with the return of linebacker Nick Perry and the strong performance of cornerback Sam Shields so far this year. Add the depth to the defensive line with Datone Jones and Johnny Jolly and certainly you should see improvement. Will it be enough to overcome a struggling offense? We are about to find out. Here is my game by game predictions. Click here if you need Green Bay Packers tickets, all games available.

Sept. 8 at San Fran:  I don’t see this game being close. The Packers likely won’t give up 579 yards again but 479 is certainly possible. I’ll say 38-21 49ers (0-1).

Sept. 15 Washington:  The Packers will probably be dead tired from the track meet in Frisco, but the Redskins are coming off a division matchup against the Eagles and their new fast paced offense, so I will give the home field to the Packers and they get a win here (1-1).

Sept. 22 at Cincinnati:  The Packers never seem to play well in Cincy and the Bengals are no slouch, Packers fall by three (1-2).

Oct. 6 Detroit:  I will give the Packers a win in this game until the Lion actually win a game in Wisconsin. Detroit is better but the Packers should prevail one more time (2-2).

Oct. 13 at Baltimore:  I can’t see the Packers winning this one. The Ravens may have lost a few players from their Super Bowl winning team of last year but they still have Flacco and they still have John Harbaugh (2-3).

Oct. 20 Cleveland:  The Browns are greatly improved but the Packers are at home and need the win. Might take a Mason Crosby field goal but they get it done (3-3).

Oct. 27 at Minnesota:  Greg Jennings gets first blood as Adrian Peterson continues his assault on the Packers’ run defense. Vikings win (3-4).

Nov. 4 Chicago:  If and when the Bears beat the Packers again it will be an upset. Packers win (4-4).

Nov. 10 Philadelphia:  The Packers do not fare well against high-paced offenses and Mike Vick gets another win in Lambeau (4-5).

Nov. 17 at New York Giants:  Not a good match-up anyway you look at. Like last year, it might get ugly (4-6).

Nov. 24 Minnesota:  Packers even the season series with a win at Lambeau (5-6).

Nov. 28 at Detroit:  Just can’t see how the Packers keep beating the Lions like they have been. On this Thanksgiving Day the Lions finally get a win (5-7).

Dec. 8 Atlanta:  Just can’t see the Falcon coming to Lambeau on a cold December night and getting a win (6-7).

Dec. 15 at Dallas:  The Cowboys are my pick to win the NFC this year so no way I can see them losing to the Packers at home late in the year (6-8).

Dec 22 Pittsburgh:  This one could be a battle of two teams trying to grab a wildcard berth. Not exactly a Super Bowl rematch, but the Steelers get revenge none the less (6-9).

Dec. 29 at Chicago:  Thankfully the Packers play their pansies  from the south to close the season. Packers get a win and hope for 2014 (7-9).

So 7-9 it is. I sure hope I’m wrong and the Packers catch fire and Eddie Lacy proves to be for real, but right now I just can’t see it. I think Aaron Rodgers has another huge year but the combination of a tough schedule and missing pieces on offense and injuries on defense will be tough to overcome.

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