Hello Packer Nation!
Training camp is complete. The initial 53 man roster is set. Aaron Rodgers, David Bakhtiari, Davante Adams and Kenny Clark are healthy heading into the Thursday night match up in Chicago to open the season. Is 2019 the season this team gets back to playoff relevancy? As with any season, the Packers chances ride on Aaron Rodgers health. New head coach Matt LaFleur is ready to prove the naysayers wrong. On the field a new offense is implemented and the defense has been retooled with more talent. Things look positive for a rebound. Their schedule is tough and filled with many teams who should make the playoffs. Without further adieu lets go through each game and see where this team finishes up. Please keep in mind all games are predicted without star players missing game action. (Game in BOLD are home games)
at Chicago - LOSS
Here is why: Both teams come into the match up with starters playing very little or no preseason reps. On a preparation level, both teams will use the first game as their coming out party. Chicago comes into the game as a more complete team. Green Bay has the better QB and that will keep the Packers in it. Green Bay leads the all time series 97-95-6. The one positive is Green Bay doesn't have to plan for Vic Fangio's defense as he moved on to Denver as their head coach. Chuck Pagano takes over the Bear defense and while he is better than average, he is no Fangio. I see this as an ugly grind it out affair that the Packers come out on the losing end. The Bears will be pumped and their fans will be jumping for joy and screaming "Super Bowl" after only one game.
MINNESOTA - WIN
Here is why: Minnesota is an absolute juggernaut according to many sport bloggers. I do not feel Minnesota is a great team even though they boast a great defense. They tease with promise almost every year. The pressure is on QB Kirk Cousins to step up his performance after a lackluster first season. These are the games the Packer need to win in order to win the North. They do here even though the Packers come out of the game banged up.
DENVER - WIN
Here is why: Denver likely has one of the best pass rushes in the league with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. They will be difficult to contain. Former Bear DC and now head coach Vic Fangio will find ways to disrupt Rodgers. This game will provide a good barometer how well the Packers OL has improved after a bruising loss in Chicago. This game is really a "toss up" for me but will go with the home team. LaFleur, 49er head coach Kyle Shanahan and Rams head coach Sean McVay are all on record saying the toughest defense to plan against are defenses lead by Vic Fangio. He has always found ways to give offenses fits.
PHILADELPHIA - LOSS
Here is why: Philadelphia is talented and built for another Super Bowl run lead by ex-Packer QB and head coach Doug Pederson. I do not feel the Packers match up well here and only have three days to prepare for this Thursday night match up in Lambeau. A banged up Packer team doesn't put up much resistance and the Packers are beat soundly.
at Dallas - LOSS
Here is why: These are the teams the Packers will struggle against - downhill, physical run heavy offenses. Dallas excels here. They likely have the best OL in the league and their defense is very good. If Ezekiel Elliot is still holding out for a new contract this game is within reach for GB. In the end, Dallas should win handily as they pound the Packer defense who are no match defending the run game. Games are won in the trenches and Green Bay is not strong there.
DETROIT - WIN
Here is why: Green Bay's first Monday night game will feature going against disgruntled former Packer Mike Daniels. You know he will be pumped to prove he is not washed up. This will be an interesting game on prime time. The Lions defensive line will be tough to move against but they are vulnerable in the secondary. I have very little confidence the Lions offense is better than the Packers offense. The Pack should get back to .500 with the win.
OAKLAND - WIN
Here is why: If the Packers want to get back into playoff contention, these are games they NEED to win. Oakland will be an improved team but the Packers are the better team.
at Kansas City - LOSS
Here is why: Kansas City is absolutely loaded on offense and likely the favorite to be the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. This game will be an up and down affair where both offenses put up a lot of points. I don't give the Packers much of a chance in this Sunday night match up. Arrowhead is a tough place for road teams.
at LA Chargers - LOSS
Here is why: The schedule makers repeated a tough two game stretch the Packers went through last season where they went against LA Rams and New England on the road. Two back to back games against the Chiefs and Chargers will be brutal. The Chargers will compete with Kansas City for AFC superiority. The Packers are going up against some great defenses this season and the Chargers are one of the best led by pass rushers Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram, safety Derwin James and former Packer CB and Pro Bowler Casey Hayward. Ageless wonder Phillip RIvers leads the Chargers to a close victory against the Pack.
CAROLINA - WIN
Here is why: Panther QB Cam Newton's health will be a concern this season. He had off season surgery on his throwing shoulder and hurt is ankle in the preseason. He has been a career mobile QB who punished defenses outside the pocket. Injuries are taking a physical toll and he is not a great pocket passer. If he is healthy this is a scary team but the Packers win this one.
at San Francisco - LOSS
Here is why: The 49ers are an enigma. Will QB Jimmy Garoppolo lead the team to their next Super Bowl? They paid him like he will. The 49ers defense will be formidable and tough. They are loaded in the front seven. I see this game as a crushing loss that puts the Packer's playoff hopes in doubt with a tough NFC loss.
at NY Giants - WIN
Here is why: No one knows what kind of team the Giants will be. They have pretty much flipped their roster but are still lead by another ageless wonder in QB Eli Manning and budding star RB Saquon Barkley. This game will come down to the end and the Packers find a way to squeak out a victory.
WASHINGTON - WIN
Here is why: Washington has more QB's that can start for many teams but not one stands out. Alex Smith is recovering from a devastating knee injury. Case Keenum will get first crack with rookie Dwayne Haskins and veteran Colt McCoy waiting for a chance. Either way, the Redskins DL is stout but Green Bay will win a grinder.
CHICAGO - WIN
Here is why: The Packers will come into the game on a two game winning streak and momentum on their side. Unlike the first game in Chicago, the Packer will be ready for this Bear team. It should be a classic battle between two of the oldest teams in the NFL. The game will be won by the team with the best QB. Fortunately the Packers have one of the best! The NFC North is now a three team race between the Packers, Bears and Vikings with a key match up in Minnesota next.
at Minnesota - LOSS
Here is why: The Packers come into the last two games in the thick of a playoff chase so games like this will be a good barometer to see if they are ready for the spot light. Unfortunately, the Packers never play well in Minnesota and show poorly in this Monday night contest. This will be a crushing loss for the Pack.
at Detroit - WIN
Here is why: After a heartbreaking loss in Minnesota, the Packers find themselves with a small chance at the final wild card spot but will need a lot of help. First, they need a victory in Detroit and they sneak out of Motown with a win but are left out of the playoffs for the third straight season. Their inferior road game performances do them in. While not the season fans hope for, it is a positive step in the right direction.
Final Record: 9-7
NFC North Record: 4-2
NFC Record: 7-5
Home Record: 7-1
Away Record 2-6