The Green Bay Packers have finished the preseason with a record of 2-2 and looked impressive in their last two games they played.
The top-ranked Packers (No. 1 in the AP Pro32) will face the NFC West champs from 2011, the San Francisco 49ers.
The Packers have been declared the Super Bowl favorites by many, including the odds on favorites in Las Vegas. The way the Packers performed last season, it is not a surprise that big things are expected out of Green Bay this season.
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is coming off his first MVP season in which he threw 46 touchdown passes to just six interceptions. He was the key force to the Packers high-powered offense which led them to a 15-1 season.
It was the defense that let the team down last season. They were ranked 31st in passing yards allowed and had no pass rush for the entire season.
During the offseason, general manager Ted Thompson made it clear that he was going to do everything he could to fix the teams defensive woes.
The first five rounds of the draft were all dedicated to defensive players, including first-round draft pick Nick Perry who is expected to help put a resurgence into the Packers’ pass rush.
In 2010, when the Packers won the Super Bowl, the defense was just as dominant as the offense. The attention was not put too much on the defense, but the dominance was there.
For some reason, the defense dropped off a cliff last year. The injury to safety Nick Collins didn’t help the Packers but there was clearly more problems than that.
Besides for the before mentioned lack of pass rush there was also blown coverages throughout the season, especially from the safety position.
Now with all the changes that have been made to the defense, the Packers are expecting big improvements. Charles Woodson will be playing safety for most of this season after playing cornerback for his entire career.
The move was a difficult one to make as Woodson has been one of the best cornerbacks in the league over the past decade.
His presence will be missed at cornerback and players such as Sam Shields will have a bigger role with the team and will need to step up.
Offensively, the Packers are basically the same team as they were last season. There are still some questions as to whether or not the offensive line will hold up for the entire season, especially at left tackle with Marshall Newhouse.
This will be Newhouse’s first full season as a starting offensive lineman and he still has plenty of progress to make, but he has shown improvement through training camp and in his preseason games.
The only other big change on offense comes at the running back position where the Packers didn’t re-sign Ryan Grant and signed free agent running back Cedric Benson.
It was unclear whether or not Benson would become the starter for the Packers, but after the turf toe injury to James Starks, Benson will get his opportunity Week 1 to get a start and try to take the job away from Starks.
The 2012 season should be an exciting one for Packers fans to watch this season as there are high hopes all around.
Green Bay still has one of the most potent offenses in the league and the defense is young and talented and hopefully can transfer that talent onto the field and create the Super Bowl winning defense from 2010.
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