With training camp right around the corner, it is a great time to survey the field of competition in the NFC this year. There are rosters that run the gambit in the conference, from teams doing a complete rebuild to the reigning Super Bowl Champs. In this exercise, I created four large categories to rank the NFC threats to a potential Green Bay Packers Super Bowl season. Each team is placed in one of the following categories: Not really a threat, might be a threat, likely a threat, and major threat.
Not really a threat: Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Philadelphia Eagles
All three teams in this category are either midway or just beginning a rebuild. Additionally all three teams have huge question marks at quarterback. Jalen Hurts has been uneven for the Eagles and Panthers and Lions arguably got worse at quarterback with Jared Goff and Sam Darnold, respectively.
The Packers only play Detroit this year as an NFC North Division rival, so unfortunately they won’t get the opportunity to play against Carolina or Philadelphia.
Might be a threat: New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Football Team
About half the NFC falls into might be a threat. They all have significant questions but have potential to make a playoff run with development at key positions. Both Washington and Chicago have question marks on offense, specifically the quarterback. However, they both boast impact defenses at all three levels. For the Giants and Cowboys, they are good teams that have all star players coming back from significant injuries in Saquan Barkley and Dak Prescott. The overall rosters have significant talent on them but the return of their stars will define their season.
New Orleans and Atlanta are at a crossroads. Both have had success over the past few seasons but seem to be headed towards a period of transition. If New Orleans figures out their quarterback room and Atlanta learns how to close out games, they definitely could shift easily into the next category.
Green Bay plays Washington, New Orleans, and archrival Chicago this season. While each of these squads have question marks, they each will pose a challenge to stack wins in the regular season.
Likely a threat: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings
This category is reserved for teams that are nearly complete but seem to have one big question going into the season.
The 49ers might have the deepest roster in the league but have question marks from the injuries that derailed 2020. While almost all their key playmakers return this year but can the return to their pre-injury dominance? Only time can tell.
Arizona has the makings of dominant team. They have brought in veterans like JJ Watt to augment an already good roster. If Kyler Murry can take the next step at quarterback, along with a little development from their defense, they are poised to make some noise in a crowded NFC West.
Speaking of the NFC West, the Seahawks also are a team that has lots of talent. In recent seasons, it seems that the once vaunted defense in the pacific northwest has shifted to a potent offense. Led by Russell Wilson and DK Metcalf, their best chance for success this season is going to be if they can blow their opponents out of the water.
Rounding out this group is the familiar Minnesota Vikings. On paper, they look like the most likely divisional rival to challenge the Packers this season. However, in the biggest moments, it seems that they wither, particularly QB Kurt Cousins. If he can smooth out his ups and downs, Minnesota looks formidable once again.
The scary thing about this group: the Packers play each one of them. How they perform against the top end competition will go a long ways to determining the course this season takes.
Major Threat: Tampa Bay Bucs, Los Angeles Rams
The Rams might be a surprising choice as a major threat. However, they made the divisional round of the playoffs last season and drastically improved on offense by trading for Matt Stafford. Even with Tuesday’s report that Cam Akers tore his achilles tendon they still boast a deep roster. If Head Coach Sean McVay can make the Super Bowl with average QB play, it’s scary to think what he’ll do with Stafford.
Of course the reigning Super Bowl champs are at the top of this list. They bring back all 22 preferred starters into this season and continue to be led by Tom Brady. It’s not hard to see why they are at the top of this list and the biggest threat going into the season.
While we’ll get to see a 2020 Divisional Round rematch of the Rams and Packers, we won’t see Tampa until the playoffs, if ever, this season.
Although only a third of the conference initially appears to have fairly complete rosters heading into the season, it’s still a very competitive conference. Throughout the regular season, Packer fans will get to see how their team stacks up to good-to-great competition week in and week out. If Green Bay goes on a championship run this season, they certainly will have earned it.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.