Is Green Bay “That” Good?

Aaron Rodgers (#12) looks on in complaint

Review: Packers 27; Bears 10 ~ The entire Packers team, coaches included, looked better than Week 1. However, that comes with a caveat- they did play the Chicago Bears, who are terrible. While it’s still early in the season, there are some things to highlight:

  1. Rodgers looked better — he was a bit more in rhythm, seemed like he had control of the game/pace, and cared (always a big one).
  2. Offensive Line was “OK,” struggled in run blocking — the run blocking may be seen as a force from last week, but that was aided by the strong running of A.J. Dillon, and especially Aaron Jones. There was plenty of times they were contacted at the line of scrimmage, but managed good gains.
  3. Committed to the Run-Game — while the run-blocking was so-so, committing to the run game allowed Green Bay to control the clock, pace, and ultimately the outcome. Jones & Dillon combined for 37 touches (56% of total plays), 237 yards (57% of total yards), and 2 touchdowns.

The defense also held their own, keeping Chicago under 230 total yards (228) and allowing only one 3rd down conversion. Again, the Bears and Justin Fields are terrible, but they at least did their job.

While the Buccaneers are 2-0, they’ve had their own issues. Their offense hasn’t performed near to expectations, especially for a veteran team that’s been together for over 2 years and has been successful at that. Their defense, on the other hand, has been stifling. While I also don’t think highly of Dallas or New Orleans (both of Tampa’s opponents so far this season), they’re both superior to the Packers’ faced foes in 2022.

Since there’s at least some sort of sample size from which to draw, here’s how each team stacks up:

 GB O(rank)vs.TB D(rank)
Pts17.023th 6.51st
Rush153.027th 112.013th
Pts16.57th 19.518th
Diff.(2)T-22nd 42nd

While not the best display, you can see each team’s Defense has the advantage over the opposition’s offense, except in rushing. Although, Tampa’s rush D is still solid. With both teams missing key receiving pieces (Bucs: Evans; Godwin; possibly Julio), it’ll fall on Brady & Rodgers to execute the scheme as well as the offensive line to create enough running room for each team’s backs to gain 1st downs. Per usual, turnovers will likely dictate the outcome.

It’s tough to imagine the Packers scoring enough to put Tampa Bay in a must pass position, so I think Tampa’s defense will put them in a position of strength, much like they did last week, keeping the Saints’ score low allowing Brady to make a few big throws in the 4th quarter to win.

Packers 20
Buccaneers 27 (-1.0)

Season: 1-1
Overall: 82-43

Week 1 Predictions…

Week 1 Review~ It’s better to make predictions based off coin flips than what was shown in week 1. At least that’s how the NFL has trended since teams began sitting essentially all their starters throughout the preseason.

Justin Fields celebrates as the Bears upset the 49ers in Week 1 in a downpour @ Soldier Field

Chicago got a sloppy-weather game and capitalized. They still had to execute on more plays and did just that. The Bears won the turnover battle, along with only committing 3 penalties to San Francisco’s 12, which (usually) ended up being the difference in the outcome. Just goes to show, the better team doesn’t always win, however, the team that wins the turnover battle (unless Quarterbacked by Aaron Rodgers in January) will win.

Green Bay suffered from 2 huge non-plays: the dropped TD by Rookie WR Christian Watson on the game’s 1st play from scrimmage; A.J. Dillon’s stuff on 4th & Goal in the 2nd quarter. The game is likely a different outcome, at least progress, however, you get paid to make the plays, and the Vikings did. The key point to take away from last week was the sheer production from the running backs. Aaron Jones (#33) and A.J. Dillon (#28) combined for 23 touches, 167 yards, and 1 TD. That’s good enough for a 7.3 yards/touch average, which would indicate that they need to touch the ball, far more often.

Preview~ Chicago is coming in with, not only, a head of steam, but a rare opportunity to take control over the entire division with a win (coupled with 2 winnable games following). Green Bay finds themselves in the (not a) “Must Win” department, essentially salvaging Week 1 and setting themselves up for the following 2 weeks against the 2-0 Bucs and 2-0 Giants (in London), in coming weeks.

Bears 21
Packers 30

Season: 0-1
Overall: 81-43

Super Bowl in Week 1?

America’s Game of the Week
Za’Darius Smith, courtesy of Getty Images

Ask any Vikings fan “What are your expectations for this season?” and it’ll be fake-sounding response about a “deep playoff run,” or “contend for the Super Bowl.” Yet, at the end of the season, they’re all overcome with joy upon the Packers’ inevitable January demise, which tells you everything.

Because Minnesota is the only team to host a Super Bowl every year (each time the Packers visit the Vikings), Za’Darius Smith decided to join them as they’re a match made in Heaven — they share the same dream, Beat Green Bay.

Kevin O’Connell, the Minnesota Vikings’ 11th, and new Head Coach

After Minnesota departed with Mike Zimmer, they chose to take the Offensive Coordinator from the defending Super Bowl champion LA Rams. Kevin O’Connell has served as the OC for the Rams underneath Head Coach, Sean McVay, for the last 2 seasons, so he’s been involved in some solid offenses. O’Connell has two of the best skill position players in the entire NFL in HB Dalvin Cook and WR Justin Jefferson. QB Kirk Cousins, while I call him Captain Average, does put up solid numbers over the course of a season, and has had a few good games vs. Green Bay. Let’s see if Joe Berry and the Packers’ D can pick up where they left off last year, with a dominating performance – there’s no reason to think they can’t.

David Bakhtiari

The Packers are still dealing with injuries on the offensive line, and unfortunately with their best 2 linemen…David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins. There’s also another injury that could change things quite a bit: Wide Receiver #1 Allen Lazard. This means Green Bay will feature a combination of Sammy Watkins, Christian Watson, Randall Cobb, Romeo Doubs, and Juwann Winfree. The only ones to even catch a pass in a Packer uniform are Cobb and Winfree.

This means the run game will be even more important, and with the unlikelihood of Bakhtiari and/or Jenkins suiting up, that could prove extremely tough, and let’s not forget Za’Darius Smith signed with Minnesota ONLY to play against Green Bay…

With these injuries, the QB will have to execute, which he’s great at in regular season games, and Matt LaFleur will likely lean on the legs of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon.

If the Packers win the turnover battle and are able to run the ball, they should prevail.

Packers 27 (-1.5)
Vikings 23

Season: 0-0
Overall: 81-42

Quite a Bit Has Happened…

Recapping the off-season, quickly, There were 3 main things the Packers did since the choke vs. San Francisco.

  1. Trading Davante Adams
  2. Moved on from team leader, Za’Darius Smith
  3. Major restructuring of current players to fit the cap

The return on Adams should be quite helpful, fairly soon too. Drafting Quay Walker (22nd overall from UGA, pick from LV). Then using the 2nd round pick from Las Vegas to package it in a trade to Minnesota to move up in the 2nd and draft WR Christian Watson (North Dakota St.).

Za’Darius Smith has made some headlines the last 2 days, essentially talking about his entire reason for signing with Minnesota was to beat the Packers. Really shooting for the stars there 🙂

All of the cap restructuring, while clever, can really come back to bite the team as that money will eventually count against the cap. For example, Drew Brees is counting $11,500,000 against the Saints’ cap this year, and he has been gone for two seasons now. It’s coming Packer fans, so be prepared, and even more of a necessity to WIN NOW.

As I covered in my last entry, the season predictions will look a bit different this year, but the same process was used.

I have the Packers finishing 12-5, taking the 3rd seed in the NFC. The Buccaneers taking the 1 seed and San Francisco taking the 2nd. Again, these are essentially all guesses, but let’s have a look:

Wild Card

Packers beat the defending champs at Lambeau Field. The Rams come in as the 6th seed and fall to a tough, balanced Packers team in a great game on the first weekend of the NFL Playoffs.

Divisional Round

Being the 3-seed, the Packers will travel to the 2-seed San Francisco 49ers. Aaron Rodgers will finally finish off San Fran in the postseason and advance to his 6th NFC Championship game in his career.

Championship Round

On Championship Sunday, the Packers will travel to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL to take on the Tom Bradys. Unfortunately, Green Bay will come up short, probably on a missed Field Goal, losing by 1 or 2 so that the blame can be deflected from the actual issue…once again.

In this matchup in Glendale, AZ, the Buffalo Bills will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This is a matchup of 2 of the best 3 teams in the NFL. I believe the Packers have the best roster in the NFL. However, this is Josh Allen’s time and he’ll bring a Lombardi Trophy to Buffalo, well-deserved and that city has thirsted for one. It’d be a terrible time to be a folding table.