Updated: Sep 20, 2022
It's finally that time of year again when cheeseheads around the country begin to dream of another title coming back to title town. We are officially at the beginning of another NFL season and with Aaron Rodgers signing up for another 3 years at least, the Pack has lofty expectations once more.
The back-to-back reigning MVP of the league will once again be at the top of the list to try and make it 3x in a row, tying what former teammate and Green Bay legend (Brett Favre) accomplished from 95-97. Whilst AR12 would love to be voted the league's best player yet again, he desperately wants to win his 2nd Super Bowl as the QB for the Packers, something Favre couldn't get done.
The biggest question mark on the minds of Packers fans and Rodgers alike is simply, WHO WILL CATCH PASSES?? This has been an area of strength over the last decade + with the likes of Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jimmy Graham, and Devante Adams to name a few as reliable hands Rodgers could throw to. Devante departed in the off-season to head to Las Vegas and play with his former college quarterback, Derek Carr, leaving the Pack with a massive hole to fill. Other guys that AR12 relied on such as Marquez Valdez-Scantling & Equanimeous St. Brown also left for new destinations. Green Bay brought in veteran wideout, Sammy Watkins, to compete for WR #1 alongside Rodgers' favorites, Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb. They also drafted 6-5' Christian Watson (NDSU) in the 1st round and 6-2' Romeo Doubs in the 4th round (Nevada) to help bring youthful talent to compete with the veterans. Expect Rodgers to lean heavily on his tight ends as well, especially early on and as a couple WR begins to gain his trust. Robert Tonyan had a breakout season 2 years ago but a knee injury (ACL) forced him to miss the 2021 campaign. Tonyan getting back to full force will be a massive help to the offense.
On the flip side of the ball, the Packers' defense should be a top 5 side in the league this year. For all the potential concerns about the offense, there is an equal amount of excitement about Joe Barry's defense. This group is littered with some of the top talents at their positions across the league. CB Jaire Alexander missed most of last season due to injuries, but his return will lead an impressive secondary, arguably the best in the NFL. Opposite of Jaire at the other CB spots will be Rasual Douglas & Eric Stokes. Douglas came over from Arizona early in the year and proved to be a supreme gift as he ended with 5 INTs and lead the NFL in INT return yards (105). The safeties, Adrian Amos - Darnell Savage, return for another year as a pair that controls the skies in coverage but also comes downhill to help stuff the run. The linebacking core will be led by Pro Bowler, Preston Smith, once again. Rashaan Gary, Devondre Campbell, and rookie Quay Walker will fill out the rest of the starting linebacker spots. The 3 down linemen that are expected to create havoc in the backfield, LE Dean Lowry/NT Kenny Clark/RE Jarran Reed, also return as experienced talent in Barry's system. As we look ahead to this year's schedule and try to dissect it, one thing sticks out, IT'S NOT EASY! Starting the season off with a road game against a divisional rival and challenger Minnesota is one hell of a way to kick things off. Week 2 will see the hated rival, Chicago Bears, come to Lambeau for the first of two annual games. Outside of the NFC North, Green Bay will play marquee games against; @ Tampa Bay (Wk 3), New England (Wk 4), @ Buffalo (Wk 8), Dallas (Wk 10), Tennessee (Wk 11), LA Rams (Wk 15).
On the surface, it would appear that Green Bay is due for a slight regression this season. There are uncertainties surrounding the offense and they play a fairly tough schedule. This is also a team who has won 39 regular season games the past 3 seasons, (13-3, 13-3, 13-4), so the law of averages would say a dip in wins will happen sooner rather than later. However, Aaron's one and only Super Bowl triumph were made possible in part to a top 5 defense, the only one of Rodgers' tenure at the helm of the Packers. This year should make it his 2nd Top 5 defense and because of that, I see a 12-5 regular season and another Super Bowl run on the horizon for the cheeseheads.
Aaron Rodgers holding the Lombardi Trophy with Defensive standout Clay Matthews (2011)
Week 1: @ Minnesota Vikings (Loss)
Week 2: Chicago Bears (Win)
Week 3: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Loss)
Week 4: New England Patriots (Win)
Week 5: New York Giants (Win)
Week 6: New York Jets - London (Win)
Week 7: @ Washington Commanders (Win)
Week 8: @ Buffalo Bills (Loss)
Week 9: @ Detroit Lions (Win)
Week 10: Dallas Cowboys (Win)
Week 11: Tennessee Titans (Win)
Week 12: @ Philadelphia Eagles (Loss)
Week 13: @ Chicago Bears (Win)
Week 14: BYE
Week 15: Los Angeles Rams (Loss)
Week 16: @ Miami Dolphins (Win)
Week 17: Minnesota Vikings (Win)
Week 18: Detroit Lions (Win)