The Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010, but they have come up a bit short in the past couple seasons. It’s clear that this team isn’t far away, but they have become too one-dimensional on the offensive side of the ball. Defensively, the Packers have been chewed up far too many times in key games.
For two straight years the Packers have been bounced in the second round of the NFL Playoffs. Last year, it was the San Francisco 49ers who gashed the Packers defense for a 45-31 win. In 2011, the Packers finished with a 15-1 regular season record. Last year, the Packers finished just 11-5, and the team didn’t have home field advantage thanks to a disappointing loss to Minnesota in the regular-season finale.
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Green Bay was on the losing end of the final game of the replacement referees last year in Seattle, and that certainly didn’t help the team’s chances once it hit the postseason. Still, the Packers had all kinds of chances to build momentum through the rest of the year, and they just couldn’t quite get going the way they had in the previous two seasons.
This team will have a bit of a new look in 2013. Will it be enough to make them a top contender for the Super Bowl? Let’s take a look at the 2013 Green Bay Packers.
Aaron Rodgers is one of the best signal callers in the game, and as long as he is a Green Bay Packer this team is going to have a good offense. Rodgers has all the tools necessary to be a great quarterback. His agility allows him to extend plays, and his arm strength and accuracy is second to none. Rodgers has completed more than two thirds of his passes in each of the last two seasons. He is 29 years old right now, so he is right in the middle of his prime.
Greg Jennings was let go in the offseason, and he ended up signing with rival Minnesota. Green Bay should still have plenty of weapons on the outside. Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and James Jones should all have big years at the wide receiver spot. JerMichael Finley is a key part of this offense, and the Packers need him to be more consistent at the tight end spot. Finley has all the ability in the world, but he needs to be more sure-handed.
The running game should get a big boost from this year’s draft class. Eddie Lacy was expected to be a first round pick, and the Packers snagged him in the second round. Former UCLA back Johnathan Franklin is an explosive runner who I believe has the chance to be a good running back in the league as well. Green Bay couldn’t run it much at all last year, so upgrades were definitely needed.
The biggest problem with the Packers offense in 2012 was the offensive line. Green Bay’s offensive front allowed 51 sacks last year, which was second most in the NFL. Remember that Seattle game that Green Bay should have won? The Packers allowed eight sacks in the first half alone of that contest. All five offensive linemen return, but they must be better this year.
Clay Matthews is the unquestioned leader of this defense. Matthews led the team with 13 sacks last year, and he is all over the field making big plays for this unit. Green Bay didn’t have another guy with more than 4.5 sacks, though, and that definitely hurt the production of this group. Datone Jones was the team’s first round draft pick last year, and the team is counting on him to help the pass rush right away.
Charles Woodson was let go in the offseason, and the Packers secondary is sure to miss his veteran presence. Still, Woodson is far past his prime, and the Packers were probably wise to try to get some youngsters into his spot. Starting corners Tramone Williams and Sam Shields will have to be more consistent this season. The Packers have been subpar against the pass in the past two years, and that will have to improve.
B.J. Raji has turned into a dominating defensive tackle who can stuff the middle of the field as well as anyone in the league. A.J. Hawk is a sure tackler at the linebacker spot. Green Bay wasn’t able to force very many turnovers last year, and I look for the defense to take more chances this year.
2013 Green Bay Packers Schedule Analysis
We won’t have to wait long to see how the Packers can do in a rematch against the San Francisco 49ers. Green Bay travels to San Francisco in the season opener this year. Remember, the Packers lost twice to San Francisco last year, so Green Bay will definitely have revenge on their minds.
The Packers schedule softens up just a tad in the middle of the year, but it is a brutally difficult schedule at the end of the year. In their last five games, the Packers must visit Detroit, Dallas, and Chicago. They’ll also have to host Atlanta and Pittsburgh.
The 2013 Green Bay Packers schedule is one of the toughest I’ve seen.
2013 Green Bay Packers Futures Odds
What do oddsmakers think of the Packers chances of winning the NFC North this year? Bovada lists the Packers as the favorite at -160 to win the NFC North. The Bears are the second favorites at +350. JustBet lists the Packers at +1,000 to win the Super Bowl this season. JustBet also lists the Packers at +500 to win the NFC Conference. BetOnline has posted the Packers season team total “over/under” at 10.5 wins.
2013 Green Bay Packers Predictions
If the Packers put together a great record this year, they will have definitely earned it. The schedule is extremely tough, and it will be a major challenge for this team. Still, I do believe the Packers are the best team in the NFC North. The tough schedule should prepare this team well for the postseason.
At +500 to win the NFC Conference and +1,000 to win the Super Bowl, I believe the Packers are worth a long look. The regular season record might not be overwhelming, but the Packers will be a tough out in the postseason!
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