2018 Green Bay Packers Season Win Totals Predictions and Expert Picks
2017 Record: 7-9
2018 Green Bay Packers Las Vegas Season Win Total: 10.5*
2018 Green Bay Packers Season Win Total Picks NFL Football: 'Under'
The entire Packers organization was exposed last season. I had been firmly on record as saying that over the course of the past three years the Green Bay Packers had one of the weakest rosters in pro football. My theory was that without Aaron Rodgers the Packers had the talent of a four-win team. And we got a chance to see what Green Bay was actually packing when Rodgers went down early in Week 6 last season, as a 4-1 start gave way to a 3-8 finish without the All-Pro signal caller.
Mike McCarthy was exposed as a below-average head coach. Dom Capers was exposed as a substandard defensive coordinator. The entire Packers roster was exposed as lacking in talent and experience. And the Green Bay front office was exposed for their draft-and-develop philosophy, which for years eschewed free agent signings that could've helped this team get back to a Super Bowl.
Moving forward, will the Packers use that 2017 debacle as a moment of self-reflection? Time will tell. But heading into 2018, about the only positive thing to say about this team's offseason is that they have Rodgers back healthy. So theoretically they should be back in the mix in the NFC.
However, when I look at this team I still see some of the same holes and the same overall lack of quality that has plagued them for the past half-decade.
Green Bay still doesn't have a legitimate running back, with plodding Jamaal Williams and receiver-turned-runner Ty Montgomery as their top duo. The Packers did go out and get Jimmy Graham. But Rodgers has never been big on throwing to tight ends, and Graham doesn't plug all the holes that Green Bay has in its young receiving corps. Throw in a patchwork offensive line, and Rodgers is going to have to work his magic to make this a functional attack yet again.
The biggest offseason acquisition may end up being Mike Pettine. The failed former Browns head coach was the defensive coordinator for the Jets from 2009-2012 and in Buffalo in 2013. Each of Pettine's last five groups finished in the Top 10 in total defense.
Compared to the defensive talent on other NFC favorites like Philadelphia, Minnesota, Los Angeles and Atlanta, the Packers aren't even close. Green Bay has to pray that Muhammad Wilkerson and Clay Matthews can regain Pro Bowl form that they haven't flashed since 2015. They have a terrible secondary that allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 67.8 percent of their passes (No. 30). And depth is still a major issue at all three levels.
But then again, none of these shortcomings may matter now that Rodgers is back. He will retire as one of the three or four greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. And in an increasingly quarterback-centric sport, sometimes that is all you need to make the playoffs.
Green Bay is not a legitimate Super Bowl threat. An optimist would look at the fact that they still went 7-9 last year despite having Rodgers for only six games. But a realist would see that Green Bay has won more than 10 games only once in the last five years, with or without Rodgers. And this year's squad isn't much better than what they had in 2015 or 2016. I can see 10 wins. But I don't see 11 or 12, so I will play this one 'under'.
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