The 2011 Packers are poised for another run at greatness.
The Green Bay Packers will operate at will on offense and must rely on defensive anchors like Clay Matthews to direct the defense as they look to bring home another championship.
Here is a game by game breakdown to the upcoming 2011 season and my predictions for the team.
The Packers start the season with a big test when they face the New Orleans Saints.
Although the Packers' offense should be able to supply Aaron Rodgers with plenty of options, it is imperative that the Packers' offensive line protect him in order to be successful.
The Packers must establish the running game early against a Saints defensive line that will be problematic for the offense. Look for screen passes and sweeps to compensate for any issues that the offensive line faces in respect to penetration.
I expect Green Bay to utilize tight end Jermichael Finley often to create space for the Packers receivers so they can run effective slants and create problems for the Saints' linebackers.
Defensively, the Packers must contain the Saints running game and put pressure on Drew Brees if they are going to win this game. My main concern is with the safeties.
Overall, this game is a great start for the Packers as they will have an early taste of adversity.
Packers 31—Saints 24
This is a game where I don't see much concern for the team.
The only way they can lose against Carolina is if the Packers think they can relax a bit and not play at full speed. I don't think that's likely, however, and expect this game to simulate a preseason contest.
The Packers' receivers will pose too much to handle for the Carolina defense as I would expect Greg Jennings to have a big day against them.
The Panthers offer the Packers defensive unit an opportunity to contain Cam Newton as he is sure to scramble more often than pass against this team. It will be interesting to see how the Pack can do.
Packers 27—Carolina 10
This is going to be an interesting game as I expect the Chicago running backs to be a problem for the Packers' defense.
Matt Forte and Marion Barber will provide the Bears with the primary offense and should be able to run effectively in this game.
Although the Bears are not the type of team that can pose a consistent scoring threat with each possession, they can do just enough to steal a game away.
The Packers' receivers should make plays with James Jones playing a key role in this game.
I think the Bears steal one early and hand the Packers their first loss of the young season.
Packers 17—Bears 21
The Packers perfect opportunity to make a statement by the running the ball at will against a poor Denver run defense.
Look for Donald Driver to have a good day, as Greg Jennings will most likely draw the coverage of Champ Bailey and friends. Driver should score two touchdowns due to this.
Denver's only real threat is in the form of Brandon Lloyd who should have a quiet game due to superior coverage in the Packers' secondary.
Denver will be able to keep the game close if they have a big day from running back Knowshon Moreno. Although I don't expect the Packers to have a problem defending the run, an effective use of Willis McGahee could create opportunities for Denver.
Packers 28—Denver 17
This game could be a preview of a playoff match-up.
This game could be explosive as it provides for an air assault on both ends.
Atlanta's Roddy White and rookie Julio Jones should test the Packers cornerbacks often and should be able to perform for Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan.
Michael Turner will run easily against the Packers' defense for respectable yardage, but nothing ridiculous. Atlanta will be a very challenging team, one that the Packers will respect highly.
The Green Bay Packers can win this game, and should, simply due to the available weapons Aaron Rodgers has at his disposal.
Jennings and Driver will be their usual selves and key contributions from Finley will prove too much for the Atlanta secondary to handle.
This is a shoot-out.
Packers 27—Atlanta 24
There is going to be a very long flight back to St. Louis after this game is done.
Although the Rams are a talented team, they are led by a young quarterback who will not be able to adjust to the defensive scheme the Packers will use against him.
Look for blitzing, blitzing and more blitzing to force young Bradford into poor decisions. Since the Rams are such a pass happy offense, I'm sure Charles Woodson and Tremon Williams will be padding stats in this game.
Steven Jackson shouldn't be that much of an issue in this game, as he should finish with around 80 yards and a score.
Packers 31—Rams 14
The first meeting of these rivals in 2011, the Packers face the first Vikings team without Brett Favre.
Replacing him is fellow NFL elder, Donovan McNabb.
At this point in the season, I expect the Vikings to still be inconsistent and have issues in the passing game, as Percy Harvin is injury prone and inconsistent and Bernard Berrian isn't much of a threat.
Adrian Peterson will be the only factor in this game for the Vikings and will give the Packers problems, but then again, who doesn't Peterson give a problem to?
Aaron Rodgers needs to be protected and I would expect a good dose of shotgun formation to offset any problems the offensive line has against Jared Allen and a good Vikings pass rush.
Exploiting the Vikings linebackers will pave the road to victory so look for check down passes to Starks and Grant to provide an alternative to any inabilities of a solid rushing attack.
Packers 24—Vikings 17
After the bye week, the Packers take a trip to the west coast to meet the San Diego Chargers.
The Packers should have a good chance of beating the Chargers at home if they can contain Vincent Jackson and Ryan Matthews.
The Chargers are one of the teams that can go point for point with the Packers as they have several dangerous players that will be able to exploit the Packers defense.
I expect the Packers to have issues playing away from home and might let this game slip away.
The game shouldn't be very close, as I see the Chargers prevailing.
Packers 17—Chargers 24
Rebounding against a loss to the Chargers, the Packers meet the Vikings for the second game of the division rivalry.
Minnesota still has problems with consistency, and the Packers capitalize.
Packers get back on track here.
Packers 28—Minnesota 10
Tampa Bay is one of those teams where you know they have talent and ability, but you just don't know if they are going to show up.
This game should offer plenty of chances for the Packers defense to establish itself early in the game.
Josh Freeman is effective when he can mix his rushing ability with his passing ability. If you contain him and keep him one dimensional, you can contain his effectiveness.
Tampa Bay has a talented running back in LaGarrette Blount, and he should have a decent day here.
The Packers offense should score and only have momentary problems against this Tampa Bay defense, as it is young and still needs to improve.
Packers 23—Tampa Bay 10
Detroit gave the Packers fits last year and played them tough.
Things remain the same this year as the Lions are only getting better. I don't think they are near the level of the Packers, but they are not too far away from joining the ranks of the NFC elite.
The Lions defense will be the primary concern here as I have faith that the Packers cornerbacks will be able to handle Johnson and Burleson.
A Lions pass rush and run stopping ability will make the Packers fight for every yard on the ground. Too much reliance on Aaron Rodgers making passing plays can lead to a close game, and one that I'd rather not lose to a team like this.
A win here on Thanksgiving would be better than having to win against Detroit the last game of the season.
The Packers win this one in a hard fought battle.
Packers 17—Lions 14
The New York Giants are a team that relies too much on Eli Manning.
The key to beating the Giants is getting into Manning's head and the Packers should be able to do that easily. Look for the Giants' receivers to be taken out of the game which will keep Manning contained and frustrated.
When you force Eli Manning to make low percentage throws or make him feel he has to force the ball to a receiver, you win every time!
The Giants also have problems with their cornerbacks, as they have lost key players to injury. Unless the Giants can compensate or add a veteran, they are in for a long day.
I expect Aaron Rodgers to drive the Giants crazy with audibles and throw for over 300 yards and a trio of touchdowns.
Packers 35—Giants 17
The Oakland Raiders come to town and attempt to steal a game from the Packers at home.
The Raiders' Darren McFadden (if not injured by this time in the year) will be the only major weapon the Raiders will have against the Packers and I expect him to rush for over 100 yards.
The Raiders lack of a formidable quarterback to provide direction for the offense leaves them flat and limping back to Oakland.
Packers running backs have a big day. Rushing totals break 200 yards.
Packers 42—Oakland 15
The Chiefs host the Packers in Week 15 and shouldn't bring much concern as they don't possess an offense or defense that is effective enough to compete against a team like the Packers.
Quarterback Matt Cassell has only one target that needs to be accounted for in Dwayne Bowe. If you press cover Bowe with help over the top, you limit his ability to make plays.
I expect Cassell to be on his back a considerable amount of times as the Packers will be blitzing often.
Message to Matt Cassell. B.J Raji is hungry, you won't like him when he's hungry.
Packers 23—Kansas City 10
Game 2 in the series against Chicago.
Unlike the first meeting, the Packers have compensated for any weaknesses they had in the first meeting.
Jay Cutler is already thinking about golf and where he'll be playing next year.
Matt Forte is over used and ineffective and the team is playing without heart.
Jennings scores two touchdowns, and the defense picks off Cutler three times.
Packers 31—Bears 7
Quarterback Matt Flynn gets the nod here in a game where the Packers rest key positional players to prepare for the playoffs.
Detroit may be a surprise team, either on the edge of a wild card berth or finishing out a successful campaign to 2011.
Either way, this is a game that the Packers don't need to win.
Packers 10—Lions 14
The Packers finish the season at 13-3, winning the division title and securing home field advantage in the playoffs.
The determining factors for the success of the Packers in 2011 is due to the defensive efforts of the team and key contributions from the young players following the veterans' examples.
This team is very capable of repeating as Super Bowl Champions, and they should, provided they remember the hard work it takes to work through adversity and overcome it.