There are many reasons why I believe that the Packers should be the favorites going into this upcoming season, so here are a few of them. For one, their transition to the 3-4 defense was very successful in year one and there is no reason why it won’t get even better.
Another is that if the offensive line can hold up, this offense can be historically dangerous. Even with a bad line last year, they still scored a franchise record for points in a single season, thanks to the steady ground work of Ryan Grant and the exceptional performance of Aaron Rodgers.
As for that defense, let's break this down unit by unit.
On the D-line, they have Jolly, Raji, Jenkins, and Pickett rotating on that three-man front. This group is very solid and can become elite next year if Raji takes his expected leap and if Jolly can finish on a few more sacks.
As for the linebackers, Clay Matthews blasted onto the scene with 10 sacks and a Pro Bowl birth in his rookie season. Nick Barnett played well despite limited playing time in the first few games because of his knee injury he suffered the previous season, which appears to be 100 percent.
Also, AJ Hawk and Brandon Chillar will compete for that ILB spot next year and will still likely split time in games. Hawk has his weaknesses and so does Chillar, but they are both good at what the other isn't, so if they use them right, as they did last year, they will be successful there.
At the LOLB spot, we have Brad Jones. He showed tremendous awareness and coverage skills for a rookie last year. He only had four sacks, but average his stats over a full 16 game season, and he was on pace for about nine sacks. Still, with Kampman in Jacksonville, Ted Thompson may decide to go after that position in the draft.
In the secondary, there are three guys who have made a Pro Bowl. Woodson and Collins have their spots locked down, but the others are up for grabs. Tramon Williams played nicely last year, but with Al Harris at 35, coming of knee surgery, and very little depth behind him, I expect the team to address this position in the draft, as well as maybe SS, unless they think Atari Bigby can play up to his potential.
The biggest question heading into this year will be the offensive line.
It should be noted that every other position on the offense is stacked and oozing with talent. With Finley at TE, Jennings and Driver at WR, Grant at RB, and Rodgers at QB, this offense is ready to blast off this year.
The only thing keeping them down is the O-line. Two players did perform well last year though, and are expected to do so again, that being RG Josh Sitton and C Scott Wells. They made the decision to bring back LT and RT Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, who are valuable starters IF they can stay healthy.
The team is very high on TJ Lang who could start in one of their absences, but he will likely be starting at LG after he beats out Colledge and Spitz in training camp. This is another area the Packers could look to in the draft, but with those two recent signings, I don't think it will be in the first round.
All of those reasons I just talked about are why I believe that this year is the Packers’ Super Bowl to lose. They have all the talent in the world, and now it is time to prove it.
If that happens, it is safe to say that they Lombardi Trophy is coming home.