Green Bay Packers Predictions: 5 Keys to 2011 Season
With a very talented football team and arguably one of the best in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers look to repeat their success last season, which ultimately lead to a Super Bowl victory. With the talented team the Packers have, they should have no problem winning games this season.
In order for success the Packers must stay healthy. Keeping players on the field each week is of great importance for this team.
Aaron Rodgers is going to need to have a similar season to last year, which should be no problem for the Super Bowl MVP.
With the emergence of James Starks and return of Ryan Grant, the Packers should have no problem establishing a dominant running game, which will allow passing options to open, where the Packers will already be deadly.
The Packers defense must keep applying the pressure that they have been known for, which will force mistakes on other teams. With some of the most dominant players in the NFL, the Packers defense will be a force to be reckoned with.
Lastly, the Packers must improve their offensive line, which seems to be the only weak link in the Packers team.
Players Need to Stay Healthy
After being plagued by injuries last season the key to this season will be to keep players on the field. The Packers have to keep players on the field, because it will very difficult to repeat as Super Bowl Champions if they try to do it the same way as last year. Last year Ryan Grant was sidelined for the entire season with an injury and Aaron Rodgers missed one game and a few series with a concussion.
After the Super Bowl there were a number of injured players as well including, Charles Woodson, Jordy Nelson, Clay Matthews, Donald Driver, and Sam Shields. Had these injuries happened in the regular season the Packers would be very thin in some positions.
It is going to be crucial for the Packers to stay healthy if they want to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. Although they proved they can win without all their star players, it will be very tough to repeat the performance once again.
Running Game Needs to Be Established
The Packers must establish the running game that they started to gain last season. If the Packers establish a run game they will be a double threat in the form of a pass and run. Ryan Grant was injured early in the season and with his return, the Packers will have their top running back once again.
Also returning after a tremendous season is James Starks. Starks took over for Grant after he was sidelined with an injury. Starks has deceptive speed and quickness which, allow him to get the first step against defenses. The Packers organization trust that Starks will be able to carry the full load of the Packers rushing offense.
If the Packers are able to establish a running game this season they will be a double threat against every team that they face.
Aaron Rodgers Needs a Similar Year
The Super Bowl MVP needs to have a similar year in order for the Packers to repeat.
Aaron Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He has a very strong arm and incredible accuracy. Rodgers has the ability to lead his team to victory, even when everything is not going alright. Rodgers knows when he needs to take the ball and run with it, and will not force a pass. Over his last three seasons Rodgers has scored 13 rushing touchdowns.
Rodgers' NFL rankings are sixth in the NFL for touchdowns, sixth in the NFL in completion percentage, seventh in the NFL in yards, and third in the NFL in passer rating, which makes him one of the strongest quarterbacks in the NFL.
Rodgers has looked good throughout the preseason, tearing the Indianapolis Colts secondary apart. Look for Rodgers to improve as the season progresses, further proving that he is one of the best in the league.
Apply Defensive Pressure
With a strong defensive cast at all positions the Packers will be a tough team to score on this season. In order to repeat the Packers are going to need to keep up this production through the regular season. Clay Matthews is one of the NFL's top linebackers who will look to lead the Packers defense this season. Matthews had 60 tackles last season; 54 of those tackles were unassisted. Matthews also contributed 13.5 sacks for the Packers.
Charles Woodson will be returning as an elite veteran cornerback. Woodson looks fully recovered after breaking his collarbone in the Superbowl last season. He ranks among the best NFL cornerbacks. He will continue to be a threat—last year, Woodson had 92 total tackles, 76 of which were solo tackles. Woodson also forced five fumbles and recorded two interceptions.
Opposite Woodson is Tramon Williams, who was a major reason why the Packers won the Super Bowl last season. Williams is one of the five best cornerbacks in the NFL, and his numbers are starting to reflect that. Williams recorded 57 tackles last season; 50 of those were solo tackles. Williams also forced one fumble and had six interceptions, good for fifth in the NFL.
At safety Nick Collins will be running the show, and he is one of the five best NFL safeties. He recorded 70 tackles and 59 of those were solo. Collins also had four interceptions. Collins is a solid open field tackler, which will come in handy if anyone gets behind the already stacked Packers defense.
The Packers offensive line will be a major key to success and will affect how well the Packers will do this season in a major way. The game is almost always won in the trenches; if you control the line you control the game.
The offensive line consists of offensive tackles Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga. Offensive guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sittion. At center is Scott Wells.
In the Packers last preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts the offensive line did not play to standards. Rodgers took more hits then one would like much like last season where a weak offensive line lead to a concussion.
Clifton allowed Rodgers to be sacked twice and produced a holding penalty which wiped away a twenty yard touchdown pass. Josh Sittion also gave up a sack for the second consecutive week.
If the Packers want to repeat they are going to need to make some improvements to their offensive line. They cannot allow players to get hurt, especially at the quarterback and running back positions, which are for the Packers success.