By DJ Siddiqi @DJSiddiqi on June 10, 2014
The Green Bay Packers had the definition of an up-and-down season in 2013. The Packers nearly missed the playoffs, as they went through a rough stretch without Aaron Rodgers for seven games of 2013. The Pack went 2-4-1 in the absence of Rodgers, but were able to clinch the NFC North title when Rodgers returned in Week 17. Here are five predictions for the 2014 season for Green Bay.
Jordy Nelson recently stated at Packers OTAs his desire to remain a Packer. Nelson is in the final year of his contract in 2014. With James Jones and Jermichael Finley no longer a part of the organization, Nelson is Rodgers' favorite and most experienced target. Nelson had 1,314 receiving yards in 2013. Expect an extension to get done before the regular season starts.
James Jones had been one of the Packers' top three receivers each season since 2007 -- so far back in franchise history, that Brett Favre was the starting quarterback during Jones' rookie season. Jones is gone now, and the Packers will have to replace him in the slot with an inexperienced target. Considering Rodgers is the QB, the Pack will be fine without Jones.
In 2011 and 2012, Rodgers was the No. 1 ranked passer in the NFL. His 122.5 QB rating in 2011 is the best in NFL history. Despite the losses of Finley and Jones, Rodgers is the NFL's most skilled quarterback next to Peyton Manning. Great quarterbacks are able to play well regardless of the team's situation. Expect Rodgers to reestablish himself as one of the NFL's top two quarterbacks in 2014.
As mentioned in the intro slide, Rodgers missed half of the season in 2013, and the entire team played mediocre without Rodgers in the lineup. When Rodgers is healthy, the Packers are one of the NFC's top two teams. In 2010, the team won the Super Bowl. In 2011, the Packers went 15-1. In 2012, they were the third seed. With a healthy Rodgers, the Pack will clinch the NFC's No. 2 seed.
If the Packers clinch the NFC's No. 2 seed, who will be the NFC's top seed? None other than the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners will not only clinch the No. 1 seed, but they'll defeat the Packers in the NFC Championship Game on the way to Super Bowl XLVIIII.
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