Wednesday, August 19, 2015

2015 NFL PREVIEW - Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY PACKERS                                             

2014 Record: 12-4-0 (1st in NFC North)

HEAD COACH: Mike McCarthy

OFFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  6th in NFL (386.1 ypg)

DEFENSIVE RANK in 2014 -  15th in NFL (346.4 ypg)

Offense:  The 2014 NFL Most Valuable Player is Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who passed for 4,381 yards last season with 38 touchdowns and only five interceptions.
Running back Eddie Lacy went for 1,139 yards for a 4.6 yards per carry average and scored nine rushing touchdowns. He also made 42 receptions for 427 yards with four touchdowns. Backing him up will be veteran Jame Starks, who ran for 333 yards (3.9 ypc) and scored two touchdowns.
The wide receivers include two All-Pros with Jordy Nelson (98 receptions for 1,519 yards and 13 TD) and Randall Cobb, who made 91 grabs for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Davante Adams is an excellent third option as he hauled in 38 passes for 446 yards and three scores. The tight ends are Andrew Quarless (29, 323, three TD) and Richard Rodgers, who had 20 catches for 225 yards and two scores.
The line has center Corey Linsley, tackles Bryan Bulaga and David Bakhtiari and guards T.J. Lang and Josh Sitton.

Defense:  The Packers play the 3-4 set and B.J. Raji is back at nose tackle after missing most of last season with injuries. If he can't get it done, Letroy Guion (3 1/2 QB sacks) is ready after filling in admirably last season. The ends are Josh Boyd and Mike Daniels, who made 5 1/2 sacks.
The outside linebackers are two good pass rushers in Clay Matthews (11 sacks) and 14-year veteran Julius Peppers, who had seven sacks a year ago. The inside backers include Carl Bradford and Sam Barrington. Backup linebackers Nick Perry (three sacks) and Mike Neal (4 1/2 sacks) will be looking to contribute again this season.
The secondary is solid with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett at the safety spots. The corners are Casey Hayward and Sam Shields. Micah Hyde (two interceptions) provides backup while also doubling as a kick returner. Two rookies include Damarious Randall (Arizona State) and Quinten Rollins (Miami, Ohio) who will bring more depth to the defensive backfield.

OUTLOOK FOR 2015 - The Packers had the NFC championship all but wrapped last year, but blew it to Seattle in the final minutes of regulation and eventually lost in overtime.
That bitter taste still has to linger as they finish training camp and head toward the 2015 season and Head Coach Mike McCarthy knows the team is capable of getting to the Super Bowl this time around and also knows they can win it all.
With Aaron Rodgers and company moving the ball (almost) at will against their opponents, expect the Packers to score a bunch of points once again this season after leading the league in scoring a year ago.
The defense was better in 2014 than in previous years and it showed as the pass defense was among the top ten in the NFL while getting 18 interceptions. They will look to improve against the run, where they ranked 23rd overall last season. Green Bay did lead the NFL in turnover ratio with a plus-14 while also getting 41 QB sacks.
The schedule will be difficult, but the Packers look strong on both sides of the ball and should go 13-3 and win the NFC North again in 2015.
As long as the defense plays consistent football this season and no key players miss significant time with injuries, the sky should be the limit for this team and anything less than a Super Bowl title would be a disappointment.

Week 1 - at Chicago Bears
Week 2 - vs. Seattle Seahawks
Week 3 - vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Week 4 - at San Francisco 49ers
Week 5 - vs. St. Louis Rams
Week 6 - vs. San Diego Chargers
Week 7 - BYE WEEK
Week 8 - at Denver Broncos
Week 9 - at Carolina Panthers
Week 10 - vs. Detroit Lions
Week 11 - at Minnesota Vikings
Week 12 - vs. Chicago Bears
Week 13 - at Detroit Lions
Week 14 - vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 15 - at Oakland Raiders
Week 16 - at Arizona Cardinals
Week 17 - vs. Minnesota Vikings

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