After an exciting 2009, fans of the Packers can only be looking forward to the new season with a renewed hope. Most analysts will agree that the team could be Superbowl bound this season, and with the Pack having the lowest average age in the NFL (25.57) the next 5 or more years could showcase divisional domination.
Despite the Bear’s big offseason moves, and Favre’s probable return for at least another year, the Packers are the favourite to win the NFC North. I firmly believe that the Packers won’t lose twice to the Vikings, despite the 2009 performances, and the Bear’s big new signings still leaves them third best in a tough division.
The two games lost last season against the Vikings tell us a real story. In the first game in Week 4 Rodgers was sacked 8 times, Favre was not sacked. In the second matchup, Favre’s return to Green Bay he went once again untouched, while Rodgers was sacked 6 times, and at this point was the most sacked quarterback in the league (31). Favre posted superb numbers and despite Rodgers also posting big numbers his was under far too much pressure to make as much of an impact, (Favre threw a total of 7 TD's, Rodgers only threw 5 TD's with and INT in the loosing efforts)
The upcoming draft should hopefully address some of these issues, and with Spitz returning to full strength, resigning of Tauscher and Clifton, Aaron Rodgers may finally get the line he deserves.
Speaking of Aaron Rodgers, he is perhaps the Packers most exciting player, at 26 years old and only 2 season under his belt Rodgers has established himself as one of the leagues most elite quarterbacks. He currently holds the highest QB average rating out of ANY active player (97.2) and his 30 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions and 4400+ yards helped the team to finish 3rd in points (28.8), 6th in yards (379.1) and 7th in pass yards (261.2) in 2010. He even showed his composure in the playoff game against Arizona, (but more of that later). In 2010 I believe he will lead the explosive offense to even greater levels perhaps even earning himself MVP honours.
The team as a whole finished the season on a hot 7 wins out of 8 games (the only loss coming to a Ben Roethlisberger’s Steelers and his fluke pass), and the overtime play-off game to Arizona showed us of the capabilities of this young team. Despite an early interception by Rodgers he went on to post insane numbers in his first game: (28 of 42 for a Packers postseason-record 422 yards and four TDs) and the team rallied from a 21 point deficit to twice tie the game. Despite this heart breaking loss to the Cardinals in overtime the Packers are a team ready to take it to the next level this coming season.
I predict, with a few draft upgrades, the resigning we have made and the already superb young squad the Packers can go far next season. If the draft goes well and we pick up players in positions we need (OLB, TACKLE, CB and D-Line depth.) we can make a push deep into the playoffs. What do you guys think this new season will bring?
Thanks for reading, Ben.