Monday, July 29, 2013

NFL 2013 Preview - Green Bay Packers


Head Coach: Mike McCarthy                                                 

2012 Record: 11-5-0 (1st in NFC North)

New Players:
TE Matthew Mulligan; RB Eddie Lacy; RB Jonathan Franklin; DE Datone Jones.

Gone Elsewhere: WR Greg Jennings; WR Donald Driver (retired); C Jeff Saturday (retired); DB Charles Woodson; LB Frank Zombo; RB Cedric Benson; TE Tom Crabtree; LB Eric Walden.

Offense: The Packers finished fifth in the league in scoring a year ago and are led by perhaps the best quarterback in the game today in Aaron Rodgers.
QB Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers passed for 4,295 yards and threw 39 touchdown passes with only eight interceptions. He was also had the highest QB rating in the NFL in 2012. In addition, Rodgers was the Packers' second leading rusher with 259 yards and had two rushing scores.
That being said, the Packers are looking to bring in two new running backs with rookie draft picks Eddie Lacy (from National Champion Alabama) and UCLA's Jonathan Franklin.
 DuJuan Harris is also back along with Alex Green, who led the team a year ago with 464 yards on the ground. Veteran James Starks is also in camp this season.
The receiving corps is in transition as well with Greg Jennings having departed via free agency for the Minnesota Vikings and Donald Driver retiring. The Packers have James Jones (64 catches for 784 yards and 14 TD), third year man Randall Cobb (80, 954, eight TD) and Jordy Nelson, who caught 49 passes for 745 yards and seven touchdowns while missing five games last season.
The tight ends include Jermichael Finley (61, 667, two TD), Andrew Quarless and Matthew Mulligan.
The line consists of center Evan Dietrich-Smith, guards Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang and tackles Bryan Bulaga and Marshall Newhouse.

LB Clay Matthews
Defense: Using the 3-4 scheme, the Packers will again rely on Outside Linebacker Clay Matthews (13 QB sacks) to provide leadership. Along with Matthews are linebackers A.J. Hawk, Nick Perry and Desmond Bishop. Up front is B.J. Raji at DE along with rookie Datone Jones (UCLA) and nose tackle Ryan Pickett.
The secondary features corners Sam Shields (three interceptions), Tramon Williams (two picks a year ago) and Casey Hayward, who led the team with six interceptions last season. The safties will be M.D. Jennings and Morgan Burnett.
Gone from the secondary is longtime veteran leader Charles Woodson, who was not re-signed and became a free agent.
The Packers defense did intercept 18 passes a year ago and also had 47 QB sacks, which was fourth best in the league.

OUTLOOK: The Packers can put up some numbers on offense, evidenced by the 433 total points scored while averaging 359 yards per game, including 253 through the air.
The running game must show more to relieve pressure from Rodgers and the passing game. In addition, the O-Line has to better protect their QB, who was sacked 51 times last season.
Defensively, the team finished eleventh overall a year ago, allowing 337 yards per game, which was huge improvement from 2011. However, in the playoff loss against San Francisco, the Packers were lit up for 579 yards, including 323 coming on the ground against them.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy has seen this team through thick and thin since taking over several years ago, and he knows to get back to and win the Super Bowl, consistency on both sides of the ball will be key. How well the running game develops with two rookies getting big chunks of playing time will also go a long way in determining team success in 2013.
The Packers won the division for the second straight year and should do so again this season.
Look for a 12-4 finish and then a possible run for another Super Bowl appearance. How things go in the post-season will depend on the play of the defense come January, which has not been kind to the Packers the past two years.


Sept. 8- at San Francisco
Sept. 15- vs. Washington
Sept. 22- at Cincinnati
Sept. 29- BYE WEEK
Oct. 6- vs. Detroit
Oct. 13- at Baltimore
Oct. 20- vs. Cleveland
Oct. 27- at Minnesota
Nov. 4- vs. Chicago
Nov. 10- vs. Philadelphia
Nov. 17- at NY Giants
Nov. 24- vs. Minnesota
Nov. 28- at Detroit
Dec. 8- vs. Atlanta
Dec. 15- at Dallas
Dec. 22- vs. Pittsburgh
Dec. 29- at Chicago 

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