Closing out the NFL Season

Packers Review— this season certainly didn’t end the way most fans wanted, however the good that came from it could potentially be a change in the General Manager.  My main concern is the new GM, Brian Gutekunst, doesn’t have full authority of what he should have…the entire team.  It’s been well-documented that there’s a new reporting structure with the 3 heads now reporting into President Mark Murphy.  That 3-headed monster is now Mike McCarthy (Head Coach), Brian Gutekunst (General Mgr.), and Russ Ball (EVP- Football Ops, aka Finances).  After all of this, let’s see if Ted Thompson stays with his true passion; scouting.  There are just a lot of things that should make Packer fans hesitant about expecting a ton of change, but at least there was some change…

2017 NFL Review – Well my preseason predictions were WAY off, then again so were most.  I did have the Patriots representing the AFC in the Super Bowl, but winning over the Packers.  I correctly selected 6 playoff teams for a 50% mark, which I guess isn’t bad based on how many new division winners the NFL had this year.  The major one I missed was the eventual Super Bowl champions, Philadelphia Eagles.  The other team that took a jump and established they may be a problem for a few years is the New Orleans Saints.  They had, arguably, one of the best drafts in the last 20-30 years based on rookie production.

The other surprise team was the Jacksonville Jaguars, who had a 10-point lead in the 4th quarter of the AFC Championship game at Foxboro.  They were led by a stellar defense, that’s young for the most part and extremely talented.  Look for them to play a similar style next year by possessing the ball with rookie standout, Leonard Fournette, and using their amazing cornerbacks to bring pressure and force you into mistakes.  All in all a pretty weird season with major injuries to superstars – not just Aaron Rodgers, but JJ Watt, Odell Beckham Jr., Carson Wentz, and more.

2018 Preview—it’s a safe bet to pencil in New England as a top 2 seed in the AFC, giving them almost a 50% shot at making next year’s Super Bowl.  As for the NFC there are quite a few other teams that could easily make the case as the NFC representative: Philadelphia; Los Angeles; Minnesota; Green Bay; New Orleans; Atlanta.  I’ve crunched some numbers and actually had an interesting topic arise this week locally regarding Aaron Rodgers’ contract status.  Let’s take a look.

With San Francisco locking up Jimmy Garoppolo for an all-time high contract, the question turns to Aaron Rodgers and how much will he garner for an extension?  Jimmy G inked a 5 year $137.5M deal which led to a question, “How much would you pay Aaron Rodgers?”  The other question is, “Can the Packers win while paying Rodgers?”  I thought of looking at it from a different perspective.  Since 1992, the Super Bowl champion has finished the season averaging 9th in yards and 6th in points in total defense.  This last year the Eagles ranked 4th in both categories, where the Patriots finished 29th and 5th, respectively in those categories.

For instance, the Packers have ranked (from 2017-2008, in points): 26; 21; 12; 13; 24; 11; 19; 2; 7; 22.  The bigger question is “Do the Packers need a top 10 defense with an all-world QB?”  What we do know is Rodgers hasn’t won without the 2nd overall defense.  The ultimate question now, Can the Packers construct a Defense good enough to win while paying Aaron Rodgers?  If not, what’s the point?

Something to think about… in the meantime, us true nerds will love the NFL Draft combine and free agency in the coming months.

 

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