I know, I know. Putting the defending Super Bowl champions at No. 1 on the list might be considered the "easy way out," but let's take a closer look at this one.
Last season, the Packers and Jets struggled through a defensive battle to the tune of a 9-0 score in Green Bay's favor. At the time, the Packers were still getting their feet wet as an offense playing without TE Jermichael Finley, who suffered a season-ending knee injury just a couple weeks earlier. Now, the Pack figures to be at full strength for the 2011 season, and they now have what might be the league's most impressive group of offensive weapons.
The Packers got through the NFC playoffs with a trio of running backs led by unproven rookie James Starks, Brandon Jackson and fullback-turned-running back John Kuhn.
This year, Green Bay's running game figures to be much improved due to the return of starting running back Ryan Grant and the third-round selection of running back Alex Green from Hawaii. Starks, Jackson and Kuhn quickly became Starks, Grant and Green. At first glance, that's a much-improved unit.
Last year, quarterback Aaron Rodgers was lighting up defenses that knew the Packers were going to be air-oriented. This year, the Jets would have to respect the Pack's running game.
Led by the ultra-talented Rodgers at the helm, the Packers feature a wide variety of weapons. They may lose James Jones to free agency, but recently there's been talk that Green Bay wants to bring him back—specifically from Rodgers, who said Jones should be "priority No. 1" for the Pack this offseason.
At wide receiver, Green Bay features All-Pro Greg Jennings, savvy veteran Donald Driver, Jordy Nelson and second-rounder Randall Cobb from Kentucky. Cobb is a versatile kid, as he played both quarterback and wide receiver in college, but projects to being a slot receiver and return man in the NFL.
The Packers present matchup problems for any defense; as Jon Gruden said following the Packers selection of Cobb on ESPN's NFL draft coverage, "The Packers' third and fourth receivers are simply better than your third and fourth corners." This is true with most teams around the league, including the New York Jets.
While Green Bay may in fact have the best group of wideouts in the league, the biggest matchup problem in the green and gold is tight end Jermichael Finley. J-Mike has shown glimpses of superstardom early in his career.
He passed up a basketball scholarship to Arizona for the opportunity to play football at Texas. The guy is an unbelievable athlete. If the NFL has seen anything close to Antonio Gates the past several years, Finley is it.