What’s the story?
Welcome to the post I’ve been waiting to write all offseason long. You are all well-aware by now where my allegiance lies, and that I’m completely and unashamedly biased, so let’s dive into this Packers post with an over-the-top level of enthusiasm from this side of the computer screen.
The Packers have established themselves as the team to beat in the NFC North, but their prominence as the team to beat in the NFC period is dwindling. With the emergence of the 49ers, the Seahawks, and the Redskins, and the consistent trouble presented by perennial favorites like the Giants, the Packers aren’t the threat they once were to dominate the conference. The story this season? Can the Packers keep the best player in the NFL on his feet with consistent offensive line play; can they establish an effective running game; can the defense return to it’s dominant days of old? Basically: can the Packers be the team that won the Super Bowl in 2010 and return to being the best team in the NFC?
Leader and commander:
Mike McCarthy, whose blue collar mentality fits Green Bay like a glove. My love for this man knows no bounds, so we’re not even going to tread into anything that looks like a critical analysis. (Really.)
New kid on the block:
The kids in the backfield! The Packers have running backs!!! It was enough to have DuJuan Harris break out in an unexpected season last year, but drafting stand-out running backs Eddie Lacy (!!!) and Johnathan Franklin (!!!) sweetens the deal that much more. The Packers may actually have an equal division of labor on offense this year. As much as we all love to see Aaron throw the ball, knowing that the Packers can potentially get it done on the ground as well as through the air will do a lot for their game when the colder weather comes (which, in Green Bay, is anytime after September).
Last year was…
…eye-opening. The Packers defense could not stop the Niners offense, and that flaw bookended the Packers 2012 season with gut-wrenching losses. As fate would have it, 2013 will present an opportunity for redemption right from the get-go: the Packers will open the season against the 49ers in San Francisco…again. (Thanks for that, NFL.)
In my opinion, the Packers 2013 potential hangs on three factors: 1. The effectiveness of the offensive line. (Having the best player in the league and a new crop of talent at running back doesn’t carry nearly as much of an impact if the offensive line is weak. This is my biggest concern for 2013.) 2. The ability of the defense to adapt to new offensive schemes. (I’ll let the Niners tape speak for itself on this one.) 3. If anyone on the Packers roster can make a field goal from further than 30 yards. (The kicking situation is looking a little bleak, to put it nicely.) And yet, the biggest factor, the one that overrides all the rest, is Aaron Rodgers. He makes the all the difference, and is the biggest reason why the Packers are currently ranked 5th overall.