The 100th National Football League season kicks off on Thursday, Sept 5th as the league’s oldest rivalry takes center stage once again. The Green Bay Packers travel to Chicago to take on the Bears. Soldier Field will host the leagues 2019 kickoff as both teams vie to become the early season King of the NFC North. Here’s why the Packers will be victorious.
Green Bay boasts the best pass blocking duo of tackles in the game right now. David Bahktiari is unquestionably the best left tackle in the league, while a healthy Brian Bulaga on the right side will be a huge boost for this Packers squad. Both players will key to stopping a potent Bears pass rush led by All-Pro Khalil Mack. Mack wreaked havoc on last year’s opener, absolutely desecrating the right side of Green Bay’s offensive line. Finishing the evening with a strip sack, an interception, and a very traumatized Deshone Kizer. With Bulaga ready to go for next weeks contest, the impact of the Bears pass-rush will be lessened. Aaron Rodgers with time is the most dangerous football player in the history of the game.
Just the thought of a healthy Aaron Rodgers has to be giving defensive coordinators nightmares. New head coach Matt Lafleur has to have spent considerable time salivating over the prospects of running his offense through the most talented player in league history. With all due respect to late career John Elway, Matt Ryan, and Jared Goff, Rodgers will easily be the best quarterback to run the Mike Shanahan outside zone system. Pressure will be on Lafleur from the first snap of Thursday night. The 39 year-old needs to extract the absolute best from Aaron Rodgers, or face immediate backlash from a rabid fan base craving a winner. Additionally, Aaron Jones is set to takeover the Terrell Davis role in the offense and could become an instant star.
Jones enters his third-year as the unquestioned lead back in Lambeau. One of the harshest criticisms of former coach Mike McCarthy was his inability to properly utilize his best backfield weapon. The former University of Texas-El Paso star led the entire NFL is yards per carry at 5.5 last year, and will benefit incredibly from the new outside zone scheme. Of course, the light boxes with the threat of Rodgers’ right arm always help. However, the greatest NFL offenses are harmonious, with both the run and pass as consistently viable threats. The improvement of the Packers offensive line may be just as crucial to success.
The Packers uncharacteristically made many free agent additions this off-season. General Manager Brian Gutekunst displayed his propensity to take a risk by signing former Bronco guard/tackle Billy Turner to a big money contract. Turner will shore up either the right guard position or tackle should injury befall Brian Bulaga. Turner’s strength and tenacity will be a major addition to the Packers line. Opening up holes for Aaron Jones, and protecting Aaron Rodgers are the key to Green Bay winning ball games. Billy Turner could be the missing link and eventual best Packers off-season addition by year’s end.
One of the largest reasons for the Packers fall from grace the past two seasons has been their considerable lack of depth. Early Packers teams of this decade were able to overcome injuries all over the field because of excellent drafting and better coaching. Thankfully, the defense is finally in good hands with co-ordinator Mike Pettine. Finally, the Green Bay Packers have a pass rush, as Preston and Za’Darius Smith, along with Rashan Gary and stud Kenny Clark will be nearly impossible to scheme against. The new coaching staff has instilled their system, and the team is set to be unleashed in Chicago on September 5th.
With the defense looking vastly improved and finally ready to step up to the plate, the Green Bay Packers are set to compete on both sides of the ball. The only thing standing in their way of a victory Thursday night is an unproven, fickle second year quarterback named Mitch Trubisky. Trubisky will be the straw that breaks the camels back, limiting the Bears offense and leading to a comfortable Green Bay Packers win.
Nick is a lifelong Packers fan. 4th and 26 was on his 13th birthday, unlucky. Follow him @CANDRAFTGEEK647 on Twitter for all your Packers draft needs and questions.