5 Things Which Could Prove to Be the Packers' Achilles Heel in 2012-13 Season

Andrew GardaFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - JANUARY 15:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks to pass against the New York Giants during their NFC Divisional playoff game at Lambeau Field on January 15, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

As it stands, it is pretty much a given that the Packers are the favorites in the NFC North. Now, I've written that they will face some stiff competition for the crown, but they still have the upper hand.

Every team has its weakness, though—its Achilles heel if you will—and the Packers are no exception.

Here are five things which could be the Packers' undoing. Some are obvious, some are unlikely, all are possible to some degree or other.

Quarterback Depth

It's unlikely Aaron Rodgers goes down for a length of time. Unlikely, but not impossible. If it happened, the Packers will have a pair of unproven players to step in and lead the team.

Pretty big things are expected from Graham Harrell, who, though technically in his second year, is really not that much more than a rookie. Harrell will benefit from a full offseason and the Packers' QB camp, but in essence he is still a first-year player in many ways.

Behind him is B.J. Coleman, who was a pick I absolutely love and think he could be a perfect fit for this offense—just not now. He's too raw and his footwork is going to take time to improve.

Now, as we saw last season with the Houston Texans and T.J. Yates, young players can surprise us. However, Yates is the exception not the rule.

If (and it's a big if) Rodgers goes down, will the relative inexperience of his backups be the Packers' undoing?

The Backfield

I talked about this earlier this week but it bears repeating—this is a backfield with a lot of question marks. Even if Ryan Grant returns, it's not a group that has a standout back. James Starks could be that guy, but he isn't quite consistent enough. Alex Green and Brandon Saine are unproven players with limited experience.

Of all the things on this list, it's the one you should least worry about because, honestly, the Packers don't try to run the ball all that much. They've talked about doing it more, but they are—as they should be—a pass-happy team.

It shouldn't be too much of an issue to overcome losing one of these backs.

On the other hand, it's worth noting that having a good ground game can improve the overall offense for many teams and help keep the defense back off the receivers and Rodgers.

It could be a weakness we're all overlooking.

Offensive Line

Losing Scott Wells is a blow, let's be frank about that. While Jeff Saturday has been a great center, he's clearly on the decline and he has to pick up a new offensive scheme.

The line played better at times last year, but they need to continue to improve as they face some tough defenses this year both within and without the division. Bryan Bulaga and T.J. Lang are the standout holdovers now that Wells is gone and one hopes that second-year player Derrek Sherrod can pick up the pace this season by staying healthy.

The strength of this offensive line has always been the same as the rest of the team—depth. However, it remains to be seen if the line will hold up if injuries plague it again.

Pass Rush

The Packers went hard after defensive players in the 2012 draft, so you know they felt the pressure, unlike some of the QBs the team faced in 2011.

Adding Jerel Worthy and Nick Perry has made a lot of Packers fans happy, but there is a gamble in taking two players so high who both have a position change. While I believe Perry can transition to outside linebacker and Worthy will do fine at defensive end for a number of reasons, it's not outside the realm of thought that both players could struggle.

The domino effect is that Perry struggling likely means another year of double-teams on Clay Matthews, and Worthy struggling could make things tough on a defense that just lost Tony Hargrove to suspension to start the season.

The secondary has issues, but a lot of the struggles last year came from the lack of a pass rush.

If the additions to the Packers' defense can't generate some, it could make things harder for the rest of the defense than is ideal.

The Schedule

I know we all think the 2012 schedule for Green Bay is a cake walk, but we also all know that until the season starts, it's a fool's errand to assume that based on last year's teams. Things change, even as we speak, and we don't know how good any of the teams are.

Aside from some tough division games (including Minnesota, a team nobody should overlook), the team faces tough games against San Francisco, New Orleans, in Houston and at New York for a game against the Giants.

While you can probably pencil W's on the Colts and Cardinals, we shouldn't be so quick to discount tough games from Tennessee or either of the Vikings games.

The Packers aren't ones to look past easy game—perhaps they shouldn't think of them as easy in the first place (or more to the point, perhaps we shouldn't).

There's a lot to like about the Packers' chances this season, but that doesn't make it a sure thing.

There's many a slip twixt a cup and a lip—or a kickoff and the end of a game.