Are the Packers the Team to Beat?
Tony Romo made headlines this past week when he said that he thought that the Packers were “the team to beat” in 2018. He elaborated on his feelings by saying that “I think that the Packers probably got better more than any other team I saw this offseason. It’s early and injuries happen, but right now, they’re right at the top for me as far as a team you wouldn’t want to see in the playoffs”.
Romo believes that the reasons for the Packers resurgence in 2018 will be because of their new look secondary, the emergence of one of the rookie receivers (to be determined), and the Aaron Rodgers to Jimmy Graham connection. Romo said that “The Jimmy Graham thing is a big deal, people don’t understand, you’re going to see old school, Jimmy Graham. You pair him with Aaron Rodgers, you’re going to see a little bit of a different animal. In the red zone, that will be almost unstoppable. If the [Packers] secondary is a little better, I think they’re the team to beat this year.”
As many can remember from last season, Romo had an uncanny ability to predict many play calls pre-snap and has shown that he is very good at picking up little nuances in teams play in both practices and games that will change their fortunes around going forward. Having said that; although I do agree with his take on the offense, I think that the defense will have to make a significant jump in order for the Packers to be considered “the team to beat”.
I believe that the Packers elite defensive line will help them improve in both the run as well as the pass because of their ability to clog up the middle and provide their edge rushers with lanes to pressure and sack the quarterback. The question mark, as Romo indicated, will be the Packers secondary and whether Tramon Williams can duplicate last seasons performance, whether Jaire Alexander and Joshua Jackson are stars in the making, and whether Kevin King and Josh Jones can make significant improvements from their rookie seasons.
Although I do not consider the Packers to be “the team to beat this season”, as Tony Romo predicts that they will be, I do believe that this Packer team is certainly good enough to win 10 or 11 games, contend for a division title, and make the playoffs. I believe that the offense will round into form with Rodgers at the helm, the running game will be a top 15 attack, and the defense will show significant improvements as the season goes on.
In today’s NFL, it isn’t so much about winning 13-14 games in the regular season as it is about figuring out your team’s identity and playing your best football of the season in January. I believe that the Packers could be a dark horse team in the NFC who could take time to figure out their team’s identity with new coaches and players early in the regular season and be primed to make a late charge in December and January.——————
David Michalski is a recent college graduate from Princeton New Jersey who has been a life long Green Bay Packers fan. Like the great Vince Lombardi, he values God, family, and the Green Bay Packers in that order. You can follow him on twitter at @kilbas27dave