Since Matt LaFleur took over as head coach in 2019, the Packers have won 13 games every season. Future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers is coming off back-to-back MVP campaigns. How much of an impact will the departure of Vegas-bound Davante Adams have on Green Bay’s offense? Let’s take a closer look at the Packers.
Opening Win Total: 11
Current Win Total: 10.5 to 11
Schedule Difficulty: Medium
Aaron Rodgers is one of the greatest talent elevators of all time, if not THE greatest. He’s a 4-time MVP and has won each of the last two seasons. Any bet on the Green Bay Packers starts as a bet on Rodgers continuing to be a historic talent.
The collective performance of an offensive line impacts everyone on offense. When the whole group is healthy, Green Bay has a top-ten caliber offensive line. Unfortunately, their two best linemen, David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, are both on the mend with knee injuries. Both tackles could miss time to start the season, but Bakhtiari’s situation is concerning. None of that is good news, but this group was ravaged by injuries last season and Rodgers still finished as the MVP of the league. Even if Green Bay starts the season with a depleted offensive line, Rodgers has shown he can still headline a highly effective offense.
Running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon combine for one of the very best one-two punches in football. Jones is known as a versatile player, while Dillon is more physical in nature. However, both backs are impact players in the passing game. Green Bay’s offense could conceivably run through this group this season.
The state of Green Bay’s wide receiver room is one of the most significant unknowns heading into opening day. Aaron Rodgers and our Greg Jennings were teammates for seven years in Green Bay. Jennings uses his unique perspective to break down Green Bay’s Davante Adams-less receiver room for us here at The 33rd Team.
Jennings’ entire analysis was very insightful. One of his primary points was that Green Bay’s receiver room will be a collective effort this season.
Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb serve as the reliable tone setters that Rodgers has spent years with. They are the assignment-sound options for the Packers on opening day; guys that Rodgers can already rely on in timing routes. Sammy Watkins is a veteran that has played with other MVP-caliber quarterbacks. Watkins is significantly behind Lazard and Cobb in terms of familiarity with Rodgers, but he’s also gone through this process before. Rookie Christian Watson is a fascinating athlete at 6’5” with top of the second-round draft capital. Watson is currently injured, but it will be interesting to see if he begins to emerge as we get deeper into the season. Fourth round pick Romeo Doubs caught a 33-yard, first quarter touchdown during the Packers first preseason game. While encouraging, backup Jordan Love threw the pass, not Rodgers.
Per Sports Info Solutions, the 2021 Packers defense was a rock solid:
- 11th in rushing yards allowed while missing the fewest tackles in that phase.
- 13th in passing yards allowed.
- 16th in sacks, 7th in hurries, 15th in knockdowns, and 8th in pressures.
- 14th in points allowed per game.
Premium cornerback Jaire Alexander missed all but four games last season. He’ll headline a Packers secondary with three former first round picks in its starting lineup.
Green Bay adds No. 22 overall pick Quay Walker at linebacker. He’ll play alongside De’Vondre Campbell, whose first season in Green Bay exceeded expectations.
Preston Smith and former No. 12 overall pick Rashan Gary form a high-quality EDGE duo. Gary took a big step forward in his third-year last season. Kenny Clark is among the very best interior defensive linemen in the league. No. 28 overall pick Devonte Wyatt has the potential to be yet another disruptive force to an already strong front.
The Packers have a former first round pick in every position group on defense. They have seven former first round picks in total on defense. Six of Green Bay’s defensive starters are 26 years old or younger, and that doesn’t include Wyatt. This young defense has plenty of highly capable talent. There are very realistic paths to this group improving this season. It would not shock me in the slightest if Green Bay’s defense finished this season as one of the top units in the league.
The Packers start the season with a very manageable seven game stretch against Minnesota, Chicago (SNF), Tampa Bay, New England, the Giants (London), the Jets, and Washington. Green Bay will lose a home game serving as the symbolic host against the Giants on a neutral field in England. You may have noticed that the Packers aren’t taking their bye after their trip to London in Week 5. Instead, Green Bay’s bye comes in Week 14.
Green Bay has four games against teams with double-digit win totals: the Buccaneers, Bills (SNF), Cowboys, and Rams (MNF). They have six more contests against teams projected to finish with a .500 record or better. The rest of the schedule is filled with seven matchups against teams projected to finish with a losing record, including four within their division against the Bears and Lions.
When treating Green Bay as a team with an 11-game win total, they are projected to be the third-best team in the league. Only the Bills and Buccaneers have greater win totals (both are currently set at 11.5). Collectively, Green Bay is a title contender whose strength of schedule is right in the middle of the pack.
Something that Bears, Lions, and Vikings fans can attest to is that the standard expectations of the aging process do not apply to Rodgers. Entering his fifteenth season as the starter in Green Bay, maybe Rodgers doesn’t win his third MVP in a row given the departures of Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. But does he have to for the Packers to be a contender?
Any bet on Green Bay starts as a bet on Rodgers’ continued wizardry. However, the idea of Rodgers being able to lean on a high-end running backs group paired with the most talented defense he’s had in a decade is intriguing, to say the least. This is even crazier considering January weather in northern Wisconsin favors physical, defense-driven football far more than it does arial spectacles.
Green Bay has a very manageable schedule to start the year. With a weaker start to the season, we can realistically expect a 5-2 or better start. When looking at the schedule as a whole, you don’t have to get overly creative to beat their lower end 10.5 game win total. That said playing a game in London in Week 5 while not getting a bye until Week 14 is potentially problematic. The late break might help the Packers come playoff time if they can hold off the sneaky dangerous Vikings for NFC North supremacy.
The Packers are +400 to win the NFC and +1000 to win the Super Bowl. While I don’t love either of those, I’d rather bet on those options than Green Bay’s over at 11 wins. At 10.5, I’d be far more willing to dabble on the Packers over.