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Editor’s note: Over the course of the summer, Next Impulse Sports will be releasing NFL team previews every Tuesday and Thursday. Check back on Tuesday for the Detroit Lions Edition and access the Chicago Bears Edition here.

Today: The Green Bay Packers

Last Year: 8-7-1 (1st place in NFC North, lost in Wild Card Round)

APTOPIX 49ers Packers Football

The season was flowing along just fine for the Packers until week nine. Boasting a 5-2  record and winners of four straight, Green Bay’s season nearly capsized when Rodgers found himself sidelined with a broken collarbone. Luckily for the Packers, the Bears were dealing with their own injury woes, the Vikings were nonexistent, and the Lions were busy being the Lions.

lions reaction

When Aaron Rodgers returned in week 17 against the Bears, he shook off two early picks and led his team to the division crown. The celebration would be short-lived though. Despite keeping pace with the 49ers in the first round of the playoffs, the Packers’ season ended when the 49ers kicked a last-second field goal.

Last Year’s Stud: Eddie Lacy


This spot would probably be occupied by Aaron Rodgers if not for his broken collarbone. Rumbling for 1,178 yards on the ground and 11 touchdowns, Lacy provided some much needed balance to Green Bay’s pass-heavy offense, and, when Rodgers went down, he shouldered the bulk of the load.

Runner-up: Aaron Rodgers

Last Year’s Surprise: Matt Flynn

Chicago wasn’t the only team without a starting quarterback for much of the season. After Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in week nine against the Bears, Mike McCarthy turned the keys of the offense over to Seneca Wallace. Not only was Wallace ineffective — he compiled a 15.2 QBR in two games — he too found himself sidelined by injury.

Enter Matt Flynn. The former Packers’ backup landed a big contract in Seattle after a few impressive showings in relief of Rodgers in the 2011 season. But, as we all know, Flynn was beaten out in the preseason by some guy named Russell Wilson. After getting traded to the Raiders before the 2013 season, Flynn was released and Packers GM Ted Thompson would eventually scoop him back up once Rodgers went down.

With Wallace out and Scott Tolzien struggling, Flynn stepped in behind center and, for the first time since he left Green Bay, he delivered. Over the course of five games, Flynn would throw seven touchdowns and four interceptions. More importantly, he led the Packers to a 2-2-1 record — they were 0-3 with Wallace and Tolzien — keeping them within striking distance in the North.

Runner-up: Jarrett Boykin

Last Year’s Disappointment: Morgan Burnett

Green Bay’s safety signed a $25 million, four-year extension just prior to the season, which at the time didn’t appear to be a bad move. Less than a year later, Ted Thompson might be regretting his decision. Despite 96 combined tackles, Burnett failed to provide the Packers with any sort of playmaking ability or consistency. He didn’t register an interception the entire season and it’s also worth nothing that Burnett scored a -4.9 overall rating from Pro Football Focus.

Runner-up: M.D. Jennings

Draft Class

Safety play was a problem in 2013 — M.D. Jennings and his -6.5 PFF rating might have been worse than Burnett’s season — so Thompson went out and addressed that need with the 21st pick in the draft. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix out of Alabama should bolster Green Bay’s secondary.

haha clinton

Offensively, grabbing Richard Rodgers in the third-round might end up being the steal of the draft. Rodgers put up less than impressive numbers his last year at Cal — 39 receptions, 608 yards, and one touchdown — but he wasn’t even playing in his correct position. At Cal, Sonny Dykes’ bear-raid offense doesn’t use a tight end, so Rodgers was primarily featured as a wide receiver. Despite the lack of production, Rodgers has the body and athleticism to become a consistent threat at tight end. And he now has Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball to him, a more than significant upgrade over Zach Maynard and Jared Goff.

Other notable pick: Davante Adams

This Year’s Stud: Aaron Rodgers


This one’s a no-brainer. If he’s healthy, Rodgers is the best player on the field regardless of the opposition.

Runner up: Clay Matthews

This Year’s Surprise: Davante Adams


It almost seems like whoever the Packers shuffle in at wide receiver manages to put up numbers. With Aaron Rodgers quarterbacking, Adams should have plenty of opportunities to justify his second-round status. He’s not the fastest guy on the field, but that shouldn’t be a problem for Adams. The former Fresno State star led the nation in receptions and receiving touchdowns in his last season as a Bulldog. He’s going to need some time to develop, but with James Jones in Oakland, he’s going to have chances to contribute.

Runner-up: Richard Rodgers

This Year’s Disappointment: Julius Peppers

It’s not that Peppers isn’t a good player anymore, it’s just that he isn’t a $26 million player anymore. He sacked opposing quarterbacks seven times last season, but often times completely disappeared from games. He’s 34 years old, will be playing in a 3-4 defense for the first time in his career, and is joining a defense that isn’t that much better than the one he just left. Peppers is still capable of being a good player and he still shows flashes of his brilliance, but he’s just not the same player anymore.

Runner-up: B.J. Raji

Fantasy Outlook

Draft early: Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy

Good value in the middle rounds: Jarrett Boykin

Don’t draft: Defense/Special Teams

What Vegas Is Saying (LVH sports book): 10-6

What We’re Saying: 10-6, 2nd place in NFC North, Wild Card


If Rodgers stays healthy, the Packers should be looking at a 10-win season. But the defense is still suspect, and playing against the offensive juggernaut of the Bears and the new-look Lions, twice each, will prevent them from surpassing 10 wins.

The division should come down to the two matchups against the Bears. Considering the Bears — with their a historically bad defense — nearly swept the Packers last season, and factoring in the major upgrades Phil Emery provided for the Bears’ defensive line this offseason, owning a tiebreaker over Chicago won’t be easy. Still, the Packers should find a way into the postseason via the Wild Card.


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