Welcome to the 7th ever edition of ‘The Super Bowl Race in the Perspective of Chase’, an almost daily article about your favorite NFL team. So far we have done teams who have a question mark at quarterback, like the Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans and New Orleans Saints. However, the Packers are in the exact opposite category. They have arguably the best quarterback in the NFL in Aaron Rodgers. They also have very good running backs in Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillion. However, it’s the receiving core that could break this team, with the departure of Davante Adams. Is Rodgers good enough to take this team to very high marks without Adams? Lets, get into this!
Real quick before we do I would like to let you know that we are doing something very similar to this on the Cool Sports Newsletter for the NBA if you want to check that out. But with all of that out of the way, let’s officially, get into this!
The Green Bay Packers have been an amazing team since Rodgers became a starter in 2008. Since 2008, the Packers have the 2nd best record in the NFL. However, because of mostly disappointing coaching, the Packers have only won one Super Bowl.
In 2021, Green Bay finished with the #1 seed in the NFC and Aaron Rodgers won his 2nd straight NFL MVP, after a season where he threw for 37 touchdowns and just 4 interceptions. Davante Adams also had an amazing season, catching over 1500 receiving yards with 11 touchdowns. They did this while Jaire Alexander played just four games and David Bakhtiari and Za’Darius Smith played just one game. However, Green Bay came short in the playoffs once again, losing in a low scoring affair against the San Francisco 49ers.
A lot of other positives came out of last season as well. Aaron Jones continued to play amazing, despite not having a 1000 yard rushing season. But the biggest surprise was A.J. Dillon. I wonder who predicted his breakout season last year 🤯!? Jokes aside, Dillion had an amazing season. Dillon had over 800 rushing yards and 5 rushing touchdowns in his 2nd season in his career. He has a very bright future.
Going into the offseason, questions surrounded Green Bay’s two best players, Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, on whether they were staying in Green Bay. Trade talks had surrounded Rodgers for a while and Adams was also a trade candidate. The Packers decided to lock up their long time franchise quarterback to a 3 year, $150.8 million deal. I think this deal made sense for Green Bay. Rodgers, while 38, is coming off two straight MVPs and is arguably the best quarterback in the league. They also pay the Rodgers the money he deserves while not locking him up to a long term contract in his mid-40’s.
However, Green Bay made another big move. They traded Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for the #22 overall pick and a 2nd round pick also in the 2022 NFL draft. This is a big move. Even though receivers like Greg Jennings, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones are good players, they are not Davante Adams. This was the first amazing player Rodgers has had to throw to on offense. But now that he’s gone, I’m not saying he can’t win, but it will be harder now at 38 with less athleticism.
In the NFL draft, the Packers used that 22nd overall pick and their 28th overall pick to select Georgia defensive players, in Quay Walker and Devonte Wyatt. They also selected Christian Watson early in the 2nd round, a talented wide receiver out of North Dakota State. They also selected Romeo Doubs, a wide receiver from Nevada in the 4th round. They also signed Baltimore receiver Sammy Watkins. However, they did lose some assets as well in free agency. They lost Smith and Marquez Valdez-Scantling.
The Packers signed Jaire Alexander to a 4 year, $84 million extension. I think that’s a good move for Green Bay. They sign one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL when healthy and get him for the next four seasons in his prime. He upgrades this defense dramatically. While injury could be a concern, after again playing just four games this season, this is the only season he’s been injured. Now, could he become a non-playing, injury prone cornerback? Possibly. But I don’t think he will.
When you look at Green Bay’s receiving core, it’s bad! Their starters are Sammy Watkins, Allen Lazard, and their rookie 2nd round pick. These are #2 or #3 options at best. Watkins continues to decline by the season. A rookie receiver always has a lot of question marks and Lazard is a 500 yard receiver. They do have Randall Cobb and Remo Doubs as I mentioned but that’s good enough, unless they have a very good tight end like Mark Andrews. But wait a minute, their tight end is Robert Tonyan! They don’t have that either!
But calm down, they still have a very good chance of playing well. They have one of the easier schedules in the NFL, and that is mainly due to the division they’re in. The worst the Packers could do in that division is 4-2. They’re 15-3 against the division over the past three seasons. With at least four wins guaranteed in their division, it puts them in a good position. They do have a very good defense and a very good running game as well. But an easy schedule due to their division most likely guarantees Green Bay as a top four seed. I also think they can do better in the regular season than some teams, ranking as a top seed in the NFC like they have been for the past three seasons.
However, if they couldn’t succeed with Davante Adams as a #1 receiver, why would they succeed with Sammy Watkins? The NFC is so competitive. Aaron Rodgers is great, but he can’t carry a team with a bunch of average wide receivers. The run game will play well but that can’t carry them if they only have serviceable receivers. And while those receivers can get better, they haven’t shown much signs of doing so. Green Bay will have a good regular season, but fall short again in the division round or NFC championship!
My prediction: Green Bay finishes with a top 2 seed mainly due to regular season competition, but lack of receiving options for a pocket passing quarterback in Rodgers has the Packers fall in the middle rounds!
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