The blowout loss in the second round of the playoffs to the San Francisco 49ers left a bad taste in the Green Bay Packers‘ mouth. There’s no way around it. The Packers’ defense was horrible in that game, having no answer for 49ers’ quarterback Colin Kaepernick. It was a season that already had question marks with the controversial loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the regular season. But never fear, the best quarterback in the league Aaron Rodgers is here.
Rodgers, who is entering this season in contract negotiations in which he will soon be the highest paid player in the league, will have an interesting season in which he won’t have his long time teammates in Donald Driver and Greg Jennings. Despite the fact that Driver was a fan favorite, his play on the field won’t be missed as he had limited playing time last season. Jennings has been a quality player for the Packers for quite some time, but over the last two seasons he has missed a lot of games due to injury with Jordy Nelson and James Jones handling the load. Having won their division for the second straight year last season, the Packers show no signs of slowing down and appear to be one of the main threats to the already hyped 49ers and Seahawks.
The Packers will have key home games outside of their division against the Atlanta Falcons and the Washington Redskins depending on how the Skins’ quarterback situation goes. Most of the quarterbacks on their schedule consist of the upper tier players at the position. Nine of their 16 games consist of Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan and Robert GriffinIII and Eli Manning. We can’t leave out Tony Romo, Kaepernick, Jay Culter and Ben Roethlisberger.
Last season Rodgers wasn’t the problem. It was the Packers defense. They couldn’t get stops at critical times and didn’t stop any player in the playoff loss to the 49ers. They lost to the 49ers twice last season, and it is very evident that in order for the Packers to have any success against them in the near future, they have to upgrade their physical style of play on both sides of the ball. It is a quarterback driven league, but they can’t do it themselves. It’s a good thing that the Packers re-signed outside linebacker Clay Matthews to a new deal when they did. Even though the defense has question marks, it’s always good to keep core players that the team can build around. Having said that, the Packers will look to upgrade their defense in the draft that allowed 4.5 yards per carry during the regular season. The second round of the playoffs has not been too kind to the Packers over the last two seasons, but is the third time a charm? We will see.