Any fan of football knows the name Brett Favre. The name that holds every major record for a quarterback in the NFL. The name that, until he finally retires, will no longer be associated with the Green Bay Packers.
It is no secret that this loss will be traumatic to the fans more than anyone, but exactly how much damage can the loss of a legend cause to a team that finished 13-3 just last year? Honestly, the difference will not be as dramatic as the media is making it. The current starter for the Pack is Aaron Rodgers, a man who was second in command under Favre for the past four seasons. The only question left with Rodgers is not whether or not he is ready, but whether or not he can stay healthy. Even if he gets injured as he did against Dallas last year, Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn are solid enough to carry a stacked offense into the playoffs.
The offense is made up of a line that has improved over each of the last three years, and for the first time in four years is returning more than three starters. The receiving corps. is one of, if not, the most talented in the league with the top four receivers (Driver, Jennings, Jones and Martin) returning along with the addition of second round pick Jordy Nelson. The backfield is much more solid than last years, where all of their backs are returning, and where rookie Kregg Lumpkin may find his own little niche. The tight ends are made stronger because with the loss of Bubba Franks come the arrival of Jermichael Finley, a more athletic, more fluid receiver. With his natural ability the team of Finley and Donald Lee should be something to watch.
Defensively the team returns ten starters (Corey Williams to Browns) which is something to get excited about considering they finished ranked in the league's top ten at the end of last season. They also added more depth with the free agent acquisition of Brandon Chillar, as well as through drafting cornerback Patrick Lee and defensive end Jeremy Thompson. As far as special teams is concerned, Will Blackmon is still healthy, which is a great sign, and Jordy Nelson could add a little but more flavor to their return game. Not to mention that Charles Woodson is a special teams pro and Tramon Williams has been excelling in that area as well.
Unless Minnesota proves to be absolutely perfect defensively, their lack of a receiving game might hurt them as much as it did last year. Granted, Adrian Peterson is an animal on the field, but Green Bay did slow him down as good as anyone last year. So who is to say that will not happen again? In my opinion, Minnesota is overrated because an injury to Adrian Peterson would pretty much end their hopes of a playoff appearance. They have improved this year, however, their lack of depth makes me wary.
Worst case scenario, Minnesota finishes 11-5 winning the division and Green Bay finishes between 8-8 or 9-7 with a wild card. Either way, it seems absurd to predict the playoffs without Green Bay considering the talent they have on both sides of the ball.