NFL 2014 Preview – Green Bay Packers

Despite experiencing a plethora of injuries, the Green Bay Packers managed to make the playoffs last season.  Aaron Rodgers’ return in the Packers’ Week 17 showdown against the Bears was the difference, as Green Bay toppled Chicago to win the NFC North.

http://www.fantasywired.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/aaron-rodgers-packers.jpg

Despite experiencing a plethora of injuries, the Green Bay Packers managed to make the playoffs last season.  Aaron Rodgers’ return in the Packers’ Week 17 showdown against the Bears was the difference, as Green Bay toppled Chicago to win the NFC North.

This year, several players return from injury.  And with Rodgers at the helm, Green Bay will always be a dangerous opponent.

Rodgers seems primed for another MVP-caliber season.  The return of Randall Cobb at receiver and the reality that the team’s run game is much improved, thanks to Eddie Lacy, will help Rodgers’ cause.

Cobb and Jordy Nelson, along with the emergent Jarrett Boykin, provide plenty of talent on the outside.  Meanwhile, Lacy is fresh off a 1,178 yard, eleven touchdown rookie campaign.  Lacy is already one of the better backs in the league.

The Packers’ offensive line remains a question mark, especially at center.  The team is counting on the unproven J.C. Tretter and Corey Linsley to replace Evan Dietrich-Smith, who left in free agency.  Green Bay is set at guard with T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton.  Tackle will be interesting to watch.  David Bakhtiari will again start at left tackle, and Bryan Bulaga returns from injury to play right tackle.

Green Bay’s defense still has some holes, especially along the defensive line.  Nose tackle B.J. Raji was recently lost for the season.  Letroy Guion and Mike Pennel will fill in.  Datone Jones and Mike Daniels are the starters at defensive end.

The team signed the once dominant Julius Peppers this offseason.  Peppers is naturally a defensive end, but he will try outside linebacker in the Packers’ 3-4 system.  Clay Matthews lines up opposite Peppers.  Matthews is another dominant pass-rusher when healthy, but health has been an issue the past few years.  A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones return as the inside linebackers.

Green Bay’s secondary received a boost after the team drafted safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round.  He’s been battling Micah Hyde for a starting spot.  Morgan Burnett is the other starting safety, and veteran corners Sam Shields and Tramon Williams round out the secondary, which will need to be better.

The Packers are currently among the favorites (9-1) to win the Super Bowl and stand at 11-2 to win the NFC.  Green Bay is projected to have the 13th toughest schedule (.504 opponents’ win percentage).