With the start of Green Bay Packers Training Camp just a few days away, predictions and questions abound. Here’s a little of both. How will Matt LaFleur’s first season as the Green Bay Packers Head Coach play out? Will Mike Pettine’s defense continue to show the improvement we saw in 2018? Will Aaron Rodgers return to form after two injury plagued, losing seasons? Who will emerge as the leader of the defense now that Clay Matthews is gone? Let’s try to answer some of those questions today.
I believe Matt LaFleur’s first season as Head Head Coach could be at the worst 10-6 and best 13-3, I’ll go with 12-4 with a couple upsets. After the first quarter of the season I see the Packers standing at 2-2. With wins over Minnesota, Denver and losses to the Bears, Eagles. There is a possibility of an upset win over the Eagles though. The second quarter of the season, also 2-2, with wins over Detroit, Oakland and losses to Dallas, KC. To begin the second half of the season the Packers stand at 4-4, but go 4-0 in this third quarter of the season. The final push and final quarter of the season the Packers have three tough contests, Redskins/Bears at home and the Vikings on the road, record, 4-0. The Packers could go 3-1 here, but that would mean an Eagles upset earlier in the season (I feel that possibility). A 12-4 finish would earn the Packers an NFC North crown and fan elation.
With all the additions Mike Pettine received for his defense, I see nothing but continued improvement. On paper this Packers defense looks like a top 10 defense easily. The Free Agent signings alone were going to make a huge impact on the defense, but then the Packers added more talent during the NFL Draft. The key this season as is every season will be avoiding the injury bug, something the Packers rarely accomplished under Mike McCarthy. The defensive line should be great against the run, with the linebackers providing increased pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The defensive backfield might just have enough talent now to actually cover properly and increase take-aways. The key to this season (besides anyone named Aaron Rodgers) might be the performance of the defense and it’s ability to win the field position battle.
With so many pieces gone from this defense over the past two seasons, it’s very difficult to see who will emerge as the face of the defense. We know Mike Daniels can be very out spoken, but we heard many players don’t respond to his ranting style. Blake Martinez is a very good player on the field, but he’s not a dynamic leader and is more soft spoken. I’m feeling it’ll be someone like Jaire Alexander, or newcomer Adrian Amos. It will be very interesting to see these players come together and be the force that drives this team to a better record and season.
We now know that Aaron Rodgers played the whole 2018 season with a leg injury. We were at that game and when he went down we thought the worst. His comeback win in the second half of that game shows you his toughness and dedication. It also makes fans aware of the lack of a quality back-up QB that the Packers suffer. I’m hoping somehow one of the two back-ups finally emerge as a competitor who could win a game. Let’s not even have to find out this year. An improved offensive line and a better commitment to the running game will allow Aaron to have a comeback season for sure. When opposing defenses can’t just tee-off on Aaron and disrupt the offense, that will allow receivers to get open and running lanes to appear. I predict a record season for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense.
I will stick with 12-4, but it’ll be close. Like I said anywhere between 10-6 and 13-3 is a potential landing spot for a record, but you have to choose, so 12-4 it is!
As Always, Go Pack Go
Packer GregPackerGreg Veteran/Go Army @DrGTP on Twitter