Hello Packer Nation,
Well, we are less than 24 hours from the start of 2020 season in Minneapolis facing the rival Vikings. This year, like no other, hit this nation like a ton of bricks. But, football is still on. It is ready to rock and roll. There will be some league wide changes from expanding playoff participants, only allowing one bye per conference, and we could see the majority of games without fans.
If you have been following the Packers, it has been hard to navigate through a preseason with no games and a training camp literally behind closed doors. We do not know what this 2020 team is. Maybe...just maybe, there should be comfort in the fact the 2020 team largely remains intact from the 2019 team that went 13-3 and fought to the NFC Championship and proved a lot of people wrong.
I can tell you one thing about this 2020 team: Gutenkunst and LaFleur are heavily depending on internal growth to keep them atop of the NFC North. Players like Robert Tonyan, Jace Sternberger, Equanimeous St. Brown, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Malik Taylor, Josiah Deguara, Yosh Nijman, Montravious Adams, Kingsley Keke, Tyler Lancaster, Oren Burks, Kamal Martin, Rashan Gary, Darnell Savage, and Chandon Sullivan are largely being depended on to step their game up to the next level. If a handful of these players play above their heads (near Pro Bowl level) then they answered the bell. It is very likely the majority of these players will be put in positions to make a difference. The question is, can they?
I guess we will see. Will the run defense improve? Will the offense adjust to a run dependent scheme? Will Aaron Rodgers be depended on less to win every game, but be lethal in play action? Will a wide receiver besides Davante Adams provide another weapon? Will the right side of the offensive line be able to contain dangerous pass rushers the Packers will face, and defensive schemes to attack it?
My predictions for the 2020 season.
@ Minnesota WIN
This is a brutal way to start off any season, but the Packers will not have to worry about a ravenous crowd chanting "SKOL SKOL SKOL." Thank goodness! The Vikings went through an overhaul on defense and lost a ton of talent. Their offense largely remains intact besides Stefon Diggs. This team has been weakened and the Packers actually match up pretty well. The Packers should be able to win this one.
The Lions are the new Patriots which Andrew Hetzel will love! In all seriousness, this team has brought in a ton of ex-New England players, coaching staff and front office personnel. They have revamped their defense. They will have new starting cornerbacks, linebackers and defensive line. The Lions do have talent on offense and have the makings of a team that can challenge for the North title. But, a lot of what if's. Too many to overcome in this game.
@ New Orleans WIN
The Saints are locked and loaded to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. They are ALL IN. This is another game the fans will likely not be a factor in determining the outcome. It will be come down to the team that executes. The Saints pass rush will cause the Packers issues but the Saints are notorious for not playing well when it matters recently. This game will be close, but the Packers sneak a win without a loud crowd presence to worry about.
The Falcons are a part of an NFC South division that is likely the strongest in the NFC. They have transformed the team with guys like RB Todd Gurley and DE Dante Fowler. The Falcons have always given the Packers fits and the Falcons defensive front seven will give the Packers issues. But this isn't the same Falcon team that missed a Super Bowl ring just a few years ago.
@ Tampa Bay LOSS
The Buccaneers have been the talk of the off season. Tom Brady is their QB. Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement. Their offense has all the players to be unstoppable. They have too much talent not to challenge in the NFC. To the Packers dismay, they have one of the best rush defenses in the league and will give the Packers fits trying to make room for Aaron Jones to break free.
@ Houston WIN
The Texans have overhauled their offense, trading away WR DeAndre Hopkins for RB David Johnson. This is a team who has made a ton of questionable roster moves without a traditional GM. The Texans offense is the only thing that can scare opponents. The Packers match up well and will win.
Packers win! Take your SKOL chant back up north!
@ San Francisco LOSS
Do Packer fans remember the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990's? A team that beat the living crap out of the Packers, who ran Emmitt Smith down our throats. Welcome to the 2020 version of the 90's Cowboys. The Packers did nothing this off season to beat the 49ers. End of story.
Jacksonville has removed all remnants of the 2017 team that made it to the AFC Championship and were one quarter from advancing to the Super Bowl. This is a team who will challenge as the worst team in the league.
@ Indianapolis LOSS
Philip Rivers beat the Packers in 2019 and came to Indy to return the favor. The Colts defense is no joke. Watch out!
I cannot remember the last time the Packers have played the Bears so late in the season for the very first time. The Bears pass rush will give the Packers fits. Not only do teams have to worry about Khalil Mack, but add in Robert Quinn. One of these studs will go up against a right tackle not named Bryan Bulaga. The Packers will miss Bulaga...
The Packers always turn on the heat around Thanksgiving. It is always better to play top teams when your starting to turn up the heat.
The Packers will not go through the North undefeated in 2020. Will this be their first loss? I don't think so. But watch out for the Lions rushing attack. It could be formidable.
It will be hard to recognize a Panther team without Cam Newton and Greg Olson. New coach Matt Rhule has the best running back in the league with Christian McCaffrey. He will be a problem for the Packers rush defense.
Derrick Henry against the Packers rush defense? Yikes!
@ Chicago WIN
This could be for the NFC North title. Mitch Trubisky has been lackluster in big games and if he is still the Bears starting QB this late in the season, something doesn't smell right. Will Jimmy Graham stay on his feet for the Bears? Good luck with that Bear fans! This game will end with Davante Adams catching a corner route and taking it to the house and the North Title stays in Titletown! The Packers are my Dream Warriors again going undefeated in the North!
With the playoffs expanded to 7 total teams, the Packers will be challenged to have another playoff bye but should have at least one home playoff game in the Wild Card round, where they win then lose in the Divisional Round. A 12-4 team isn't too bad?
I will say one thing. This country needs football. Watch, enjoy, and root for our Packers!
Go Pack Go!