The Green Bay Packers are a week away from opening training camp and have had an interesting offseason coming off their second NFC Championship Game loss in three years. They signed some key free agents, Martellus Bennett, in particular, and had a what by most accounts was a good draft. So it is Super Bowl or bust?
For me, I think there is room for it to go both ways. I think the Packers should win the NFC North again this year, they have by far the division’s best offense. It’s the defense that is a question mark. Which is why I could see this season going both ways – Super Bowl glory or really blowing up in the worst way.
Here is why. On the good side, this year’s offense could be the best they have fielded since 2011, and if all the right pieces fall in place on defense, it will make the Packers virtually unbeatable. With Aaron Rodgers in his prime as the best quarterback in the league, and all the weapons he could possibly ask for in wide receivers Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb, along with the aforementioned Marty B, this should be fun to watch.
My only worry on offense is running back with Ty Montgomery being unproven after last year’s position switch. But I think they have enough backup talent with their draft picks to cover it. Jamaal Williams will probably end up with that job. To me, that is the only question mark on offense.
On defense there are question marks at every position. Can Clay Matthews still play? Will Damarious Randall and Quentin Rollins bounce back after abysmal seasons? Is Nick Perry worth the money he got in the offseason? I’ll say yes, yes, and maybe. I think this is a make or break year for Matthews and I think he makes the most of it. Randall and Rollins heard the call when the Packers drafted two d-backs in the first two rounds last April, I think they respond accordingly.
The other question mark, I guess, is inside linebacker. If Matthews and Perry are doing their jobs Jake Ryan and Blake Martinez should be just fine. I’m actually not too worried about this position at all. The Packers are fine at linebacker.
So why is there a chance the Packers take a dive this year? Well, the first thing that comes to mind is they were 4-6 after losing four games in a row last year to teams that they should have easily beat. Defensive coordinator Dom Capers’ defense was in complete shambles and he had no clue what to do. If not for a freaky string of turnovers down the stretch and amazing play from Rodgers, who knows if the Packers would have even made the playoffs.
The Packers are putting a lot of faith in Randall, Rollins, first round pick Kevin King and second round pick Josh Jones. That’s a lot of pressure on those young guys with Aaron Rodgers watching from the sidelines. Not to mention the Packers face the Seahawks at home and the Falcons on the road in week two, things could get ugly quick.
I think beating Seattle to open the season might be the key to the whole year. It’s going to be a tough task to win in Atlanta’s home opener in their new stadium, the Packers lost in that same situation last year in Minnesota. A zero and two start would certainly raise a red flag.
I just have a feeling this year is going to be really good or really bad, no in between. The Packers are on an eight year playoff run and that is very hard to do in the NFL.They have made the playoffs in all but one of Rodgers’ nine years as a starter, that streak has to end at some point. The Lions and Vikings have high hopes this year, even the lowly Bears think they are a contender.
My money’s on the Packers, but with my record, that might not be a good thing.