Looking ahead to the 2022-2022 NFL season, the Green Bay Packers have a lot in their way of repeating as NFC North divisional champions. With Aaron Rodgers needing to take on even more this year without two of his top WR targets, it will be interesting to see if they enter an early-season skid to begin the campaign.
@ Minnesota Vikings
With first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell taking over for Mike Zimmer, the Minnesota Vikings will have a new offensive identity for the Packers to experience firsthand. Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, and Justin Jefferson are all back to help raise this team out of mediocrity, and they pose the most challenging threat to the Packers not being able to repeat in the division.
A more pass-heavy approach is likely for Minnesota to take on, highlighting the importance of Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes immediately. The improved LB core, including rookie Quay Walker, will need to shut down Cook in the trenches, and the always-suspect MIN offensive line will face a tall task against Kenny Clark and rookie Devonte Wyatt.
vs. Chicago Bears
Two consecutive weeks against NFC North opponents gives the Packers an early shot at distancing themselves from the pack. Like the Vikings, the Chicago Bears are also welcoming in a new coaching staff, which will include the familiar face of Luke Getsy, CHI’s new OC.
Justin Fields is back for his sophomore season in the NFL, but this time he looks to be given a fair shot at winning the starting job – AKA the necessary camp reps with the first team to keep the starting job. Darnell Mooney is the top target for Fields in the passing game, and David Montgomery remains the bell cow option in the backfield.
Defensively, they traded away Khalil Mack to the Chargers this offseason, removing a key cog of their defense. Their pass rush is their strongest area, yet their defense as a whole does not look to be as stout as in years past – if the trend continues, Rodgers will likely continue to shred their hapless secondary.
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The first of two opponents tied to Tom Brady, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers welcomed him back with open arms this offseason after his pre-emptive retirement. With Chris Godwin likely still recovering from his Week 15 torn ACL, Mike Evans and Russell Gage will take on heavy target shares, testing Alexander and Stokes.
Defensively, this team still has it made, even with Ndamukong Suh likely going elsewhere. Devin White, Lavonte David, and Carlton Davis make up a stout unit of 11 players that have given Rodgers fits in the past, and with fewer trusted targets at his disposal, the going may be tough, especially on the road in hostile territory.
vs. New England Patriots
The final opponent in Part 1 of their preview is Brady’s former team, the New England Patriots, who are finally not the top team in the AFC East. Being the first of four East teams for Green Bay to face this year, their second home opponent will present an intriguing challenge.
Mac Jones has a lot of different targets to utilize, yet none of them truly are a WR1 option – same goes for the backfield, as Damien Harris leads a grouping of options that do certain things well, but leading a backfield is not one of them.
Bill Belichick has the defense on line again, and this unit will yet again be expected to lead this team back to the postseason. Needing to deal with Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills twice a year, the Patriots will not be an easy foe early in the season.뿓뿓뿓
Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23