2013: 8-7-1; lost in Wild Card Playoffs to San Francisco
A franchise known probably more than any other for its stability at quarterback--Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have been the only two starters for two decades except for intentional rest in Week 17--had its world rocked when Rodgers went down with a broken collarbone against the Bears in Week 9. Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien, and Matt Flynn all started in the interim, and only Flynn was good. Major damage was done, as the Packers, 5-2 entering that Bears game, were 7-7-1 by the time Rodgers came back. The Packers lucked out being in the worst division in the NFL as none of the Bears, Lions, or Vikings could fully beat them out in that time. Week 17 featured a marquee Packers at Bears win-or-go-home showdown, and in what was a thoroughly entertaining divisional battle. But the Bears secondary failed them for the umpteenth time on a clutch comeback drive at the end of the game. Rodgers found Randall Cobb for a 48-yard TD pass to earn the lead, win the game and the division. They lost to San Francisco again in the playoffs but with Rodgers off the field for nearly half the year, they weren’t at their best. They counted on Alabama rookie running back Eddie Lacy (1,178 rush yards, 11 TDs), a pleasant surprise who embraced Green Bay in his first year. UCLA standout Johnathan Franklin should get more playing time soon too. No matter who was throwing, Jordy Nelson (85 rec, 1,314 rec yards, 8 TDs) was a rock for this team at wideout. The Packers do a great job of developing players at key offensive positions, especially considering their offensive line struggles.
When Rodgers was out, the defense attempted to step up and win ballgames to make up for a lack of offensive production. They weren’t able to do it very well. As in recent years, the Packers make plays more often than not and force key turnovers, but overall they continue to allow many yards and points. They were below average in rush, pass, and overall defense, but at least they were able to pressure the quarterback to a fair degree. They beefed up their secondary by drafting safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from Alabama. They also brought in veteran Julius Peppers, not the player he once was but a model defensive lineman to build younger talent around. They did lose Evan Dietrich-Smith, one of the better centers in the league, and James Jones, a clutch situational receiver, but the Packers come in to 2014 healthy. While Rodgers covers up a lot of the team’s problems, it was somewhat of a quiet offseason for Green Bay. Still, they have as good a chance to win the NFC North as anyone. They’ll have their biggest tests early on; three of the first four are road games against teams that figure to contend, two intra-division (at Seattle, Detroit, and Chicago). The biggest home games are against the NY Jets, Carolina, Chicago, Philadelphia, and New England. Get your Packers tickets from Gold Coast Tickets today!