Packers XLV

The First of 12 Wins in 2016 Comes on Sunday

Posted September 9th, 2016 @ 02:09am

As we get set to embark on the 2016 season, let's take stock on where things stand. The Packers are a popular Super Bowl pick, the favorite in Vegas right now. And for now they're projected to be favored in all 16 of their games.

Yet there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. Most of those answers will come on the field. It doesn't appear we'll get an answer on the Josh Sitton decision as Thompson and McCarthy have been typically tight-lipped. It feels like something must be going on behind the scenes here. What looked like the team's biggest strength heading into the season--the stability of the line--is now one of those questions, with a 40% turnover in personnel.

Lane Taylor gets the first shot to fill Sitton's large shoes. Worst case scenario: Tretter can slide over when Linsley gets healthy, if Taylor proves to be a liability in pass protection.

Most of the other questions facing the Pack are also on the offensive side of the ball. Will Jordy Nelson look like the pre-2014 Jordy Nelson? Will Nelson's return serve as a spring board for the passing offense? Will Eddie Lacy bounce back? Will Jared Cook be a missing link for Aaron Rodgers and have a Finley-like impact?

That's a lot of questions for a Super Bowl favorite. It goes to show that many football experts believe most of those answers will fall the Packers' way. And as you know, there are a few questions on the other side of the ball. Are the Packers too thin on the defensive line? Is Blake Martinez up to the challenge of wearing the helmet with the headset? Will Clay Matthews return to his roots with his move back outside? Will the young corners take a big step?

If that's not enough, there are questions on special teams as well. Is Jacob Schum an upgrade over Tim Masthay at punter? Will he cause Mason Crosby any issues as the new holder? Who will emerge as this year's return guys?

Lots of questions for the 2016 Packers, a Super Bowl favorite that also happens to be the youngest team in Packers history at an average of 25 years of age. 40% of the roster were sixth or seventh rounders or were undrafted. Think about that for a second. Five underrated guys made this year's first 53 man roster. On one hand, it's a testament to the scouting department. On the other hand, you sometimes wonder whether a Super Bowl favorite might be better served by adding a seasoned veteran here and there to try to put them over the top.

All of that said, this feels like a 12-win team if they can dodge any major injuries. I made the prediction on "In the Zone" at the State Fair. I've got the Pack knocking off Arizona and Cincinnati over Pittsburgh with the Pack hoisting the Lombardi with a win over the Bengals. It just feels like an 'Aaron has a chip on his shoulder' season.

It begins Sunday in Jacksonville. Last year, the Jags opened at home against Carolina--that worked out pretty well for the Panthers. Let's see if history can repeat.

The Jaguars are a chic, trendy pick to make a big leap this season, but I think the Pack lucks out by getting them in the opener. The defense has had a makeover, with a couple of big free agent signings and a rookie infusion (last year's top three pick Dante Fowler, who missed the season and this year's stud corner Jalen Ramsey along with linebacker Myles Jack). Are the youngster ready for Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy? I'm guessing 'no.'

I see McCarthy throwing all kinds of exotic looks at this young, new look defense. Come November, these guys might be completely different players. In week one, Rodgers should dice them up, provided the line does its job.

It will be hot and humid on Sunday, with temperatures approaching the low 90s. It will be a main storyline, with Jacksonville wearing their whites and the Pack forced to wear the home green jerseys. I expect the temperatures might limit Nelson and Lacy's reps a bit and might cause the Pack to be selective when it chooses to go no huddle.

The Jaguars are media darlings this year in large part due to their offensive weapons. Quarterback Blake Bortles emerged last season in a pass happy offense that featured a great young pair of receivers in Allen Robinson and Alan Hurns. Former Bronco Julius Thomas was a disappointment at tight end, but he is expected to make a much larger impact this season. I think Quentin Rollins will have the task of keeping Thomas in check--I think Bortles will look his way early and often.

The Jags brought in Chris Ivory to complement their second year back TJ Yeldon. Ivory is a lot like Lacy: a good, hard-nosed back who's tough to wrap up. The Pack's young inside backers will be tested right out of the gate. But Jacksonville has its own issues up front, with three different starters from a year ago. And Bortles tended to turn the ball over at the most inopportune times last season. Look for the Pack to pick him off a couple of times.

I see the first half being tight, with the Pack possibly trailing. But the second half will be a different story and Green Bay rolls in the opener.

Packers 30   Jaguars 20

A couple of final things: "Packer Preview" returns for a 21st season this Sunday at 7am on KFAN radio in the Twin Cities and on iHeart Radio. If you want to sleep in, you can find it when you wake up at Click on Fan on Demand.

Also, Monday, the 19th is the eighth annual Border Battle golf tournament at Stoneridge Golf Club in Stillwater. Packer foursomes against Vikings foursomes. It's always a lot of fun and this year it falls on the day after the Packers-Vikings game. For more information, go to


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Comments (14):

Ow!! My lady parts!!

on November 20th, 2017 at 03:09pm

Ok OSSG, let' talk real football, like you asked for. both vikes and pack have tough 1st week draws, you can run on the vikes and that is what the Titans do best. the Packers will need to get some pass rush on Bortles, or long day coming, with those wr's and even Thomas as te, there loaded, and Yeldon, can catch swing passes like forte with ease. we will need to outscore these guys, 12 needs 4 td's passing, and 2 field goals from Crosby, 34-30 Packers, boy and girls. Titans 23- vikes 16 , let it be written, let it be done. GO Packers,

on September 10th, 2016 at 03:39pm

Packers barely beat the Jags ....HaHaHaHa !!! Super Bowl favorites my arse ...

on September 11th, 2016 at 05:02pm

One of us is on crack. The offensive line and middle linebacker were the biggest areas of need. They still are. With Josh being cut, the offensive line is now a liability. A 4th round rookie calling the defense??? He is not to be confused to be the next Luke or Brian Urlacher. I just do not see this team as complete enough to go to the super bowl. I do not think they will even make the playoffs because they are 2 injuries away from the wheels falling off. I predict 7-9 because the offensive line will get blown up.

on September 11th, 2016 at 07:57am

Forgot to mention, Watch Lane today for Sitton, I just don't think he is strong enough to play guard. watch the push they get on him, big key to game, I think they want Tretter to take that spot when Lindsey comes back, but I would put Barclay there, bigger and stronger. hopefully Lane proves me wrong, Don't be surprised if Callahan is #2 qb today, if ankle is not right with Hundley yet. Go Packers

on September 11th, 2016 at 10:37am

Here we go another season. We all know the big guys...Rodgers..Mathews,,,,Nelson et al must have injury free big years for team success. I am going to give you 5 key guys important to team success if a big year is forcast. In no order here are my five. 1- David Bakhtiari..Was reported to have his best camp ever. Came in bigger this year and coaches gushed that he has been dominating. We Sitton gone we need his leadership and protection for Rodgers and the running game. 2- Mike Daniels- Probably the team overall MVP last year. With a thin D line we need his relentless style and leadership to carry this line. 3- Eddie Lacy...Reports are his weight and camp was good....will need a comeback year from him.4- Jared Cook...Could be Rodgers best TE. Is he best pass catcher since Finle?. Team needs it. 5- Blake Martinez...Opened a lot of eyes in camp. Has potential to be an every down LB. Great football IQ and hard worker. If defense improves and team shines this guy could be a defensive rookie of year canidate. All of these guys need to stay healthy but my Five to Watch. GO PACK GO !!

on September 8th, 2016 at 09:53pm

PFF stat: Packers wide receiving corps ranked #8 with Rodgers, Queens receivers #24 with Bradford.(LOL) Its a passing league. Looking forward to another Packer division title.

on September 9th, 2016 at 01:54pm

Ohhhhh right, like last year's division title, J.G.? And last I checked, PFF rankings don't automatically give you a title. Packers were ranking #9 last year. Look how well that turned out.

on September 9th, 2016 at 02:53pm

Look at all of the lavender trolls who have shown up who have been free-basing zimmerol, norvacaine, and purple koolaid. The pathetic squad they follow wins one meaningless division title this decade and suddenly the lavender is a dynasty. Wait till the Titans send their new pretzel of a QB back to the IR again and they're stuck with Shaun Over The Hill for the rest of the season. The lavender fans will be beside themselves and their woes will be fabulous! I'm almost looking forward to their 56th season of abject futility more than I am the Packers season.

on September 9th, 2016 at 03:15pm

LMAO @ a Pack fan referring to another team as "media darlings". Now THAT is absolutely hysterical. Anyway, the Pack one of the worst front-7's on defense in football. It is gonna show Sunday.

on September 9th, 2016 at 08:13am

Waiting for the real Packer regulars to come back to this site and talk football rather than all this trash by these low iifes. GO PACK GO !!

on September 9th, 2016 at 08:20pm

how many SB winners start 0-2?

on September 9th, 2016 at 08:34am

I actually foresee two Superbowls in the Packers future. First is the super big bowl of Lucky Charms Eddie Lacy will be eating before kickoff every week. The second is that super gnarly bowl of weed Letroy Guion will be packing for everyone at the Superbowl viewing party he hosts for his teammates.

on September 9th, 2016 at 08:35am

"Lane Taylor gets the first shot to fill Sitton's large shoes." Why did Sitton leave his shoes, and why in the world would Lane not wear his own? I can tell you this right now, Mr. Slimykin, that position is going to cause you major problems. "Will Eddie Lacy bounce back?" The biggest bounce back he'll have is when he visits the trampoline park. BARROOOOOMP! "I expect the temperatures might limit Nelson and Lacy's reps a bit" If you want to use temperature as an excuse for Fat Eddie panting on the sideline...I guess that's fair. "It just feels like an 'Aaron has a chip on his shoulder' season."'s a giant buffalo chip. Turd.

on September 9th, 2016 at 11:38am

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