The 2008 Green Bay Packers season started out pretty good. They jumped out to a 4-3 record early in the season. From there they struggled mightily only winning two more games the rest of the year. They had a very good offense, but the defense was downright bad. Aaron Rodgers filled in admirably for Packer legend Brett Favre. However, it didn’t translate into a successful season for the Pack. Did the Packers do enough after the season to justify any hope of winning it all this year? If you’re looking at free football picks, you probably won’t put any money on them winning the Super Bowl this year.
The Good News: The best thing about this year for the Packers isn’t really about who they picked up, but who they still have. For one, Aaron Rodgers has a full year under his belt as the starter. Since the Packers were bad last year, many people don’t realize that Rodgers quietly had one of the best seasons of any quarterback in the league. If you play fantasy football, you might not know that Rodgers was actually the second best quarterback in fantasy last year. This means he was putting up some monster numbers.
In addition to Rodgers, Ryan Grant is back at full strength from the beginning of this year. Last year, he held out through training camp over a contract dispute. He didn’t get off to a good start and it took him half the season to get back to form. Once he got going again, he was one of the best backs in the league again. This time around, he should be at full-steam from the beginning.
They also added some help on the defensive side of the ball with nose tackle B.J. Raji and linebacker Clay Matthews in the draft. These two players should go a long way towards shoring up the defense. If they can contribute right away, it might be enough to help the offense win some games.
The Bad News: For a 6-10 team, the Packers were awfully inactive during the off-season. Apparently they feel like they already have most of what they need in house and it just needs to develop. However, that’s a very risky approach to take. When you lose 10 games and the only free agents you bring in are a safety and a center, you’re really not trying to do much.
Something else to be concerned about is quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Although he had a great individual season, he didn’t lead the team to victories. The year before, with Favre, they were 12-4. All they did was change quarterbacks and went 6-10. While Rodgers is obviously talented, there are questions about whether he knows how to win in this league.
Outlook: If you’re looking for NFL picks, expect the Packers to be middle of the road in the NFC North this year. The Bears and the Vikings will likely be ahead of them when it’s all said and done.