Team Capsules: Green Bay Packers
August 7, 2023
A look at every NFL franchise heading into the 2023 season
It’s the end of an era in Green Bay. For the first time since 2008, Aaron Rodgers won’t be the opening day quarterback for the Packers.
Sometimes, change isn’t a bad thing. Rodgers had an awesome run, but it ended with just one Lombardi Trophy. And his final season on the frozen tundra finished with a dud, as Green Bay lost to the Lions in Week 18 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2018.
Enter Jordan Love, the 2020 first-round pick out of Utah State who has appeared in just 10 career games with one start. The QB has three touchdowns and three interceptions to his name and remains a total mystery.
Will he be the next great to wear the green and yellow like Rodgers and Brett Favre? Or will he be a total flop? Let’s take a look.
What to like about the Packers…
- Wide receiver Christian Watson is going to be a player. The little-known second-round draft pick out of North Dakota State had a solid rookie year, catching 41 passes for 611 yards and seven touchdowns. With the departure of Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb to the Jets, Watson is going to need to take another big leap this year to keep the Packers’ offense competent. He’s certainly capable.
- Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon form perhaps the best running back duo in the NFL. A season ago, they combined for nearly 1,900 yards rushing and nine touchdowns. Jones averaged 5.3 yards per carry, the best mark in the league for any running back who consistently toted the rock. Dillon was a beast around the goal line, as his 6-foot, 247-pound frame is a tough one to bring down. The Packers will have to run the ball like crazy to find success this year.
- The Packers defense gave up just 197 passing yards per game a season ago, good for sixth in the NFL. The secondary is very good, with Jaire Alexander hauling in five interceptions and Rasul Douglas adding four. Safety Adrian Amos had 102 tackles, but he left for the Jets as well, so Green Bay will need to find a way to replace him. Keep an eye on Darnell Savage to become their best safety after his 58 tackles, one interception, a fumble recovery and a touchdown in 2022. It’s still a strong unit.
What not to like about the Packers…
- There’s no sugarcoating losing Rodgers is a massive blow. He’s a surefire Hall of Famer with four MVP awards on his resume. When it’s all said and done, Rodgers will go down as a top-15 QB in NFL history, perhaps higher depending on who you ask. Love might have some potential, but that’s all it is right now. Green Bay fans can talk themselves into him all they want, but the sample size isn’t big enough yet to make a strong judgement. Rodgers was very, very good. Love is still a huge unknown, and that’s cause for concern.
- Outside of Watson, who are the playmakers on this team at the wide receiver position? Davante Adams isn’t walking through that door. Romeo Doubs flashed a little bit of potential as a rookie, but he’s now thrust into the No. 2 spot. Behind him are rookies Dontayvion Wicks, Malik Heath and Jayden Reed. Who? The Packers hope those guys become household names, but it’s an extremely young unit. Rodgers could make anyone look good. We’ll see if Love can do the same.
- The era of the Packers rolling out of bed and winning the NFC North is over. The Vikings look like fringe Super Bowl contenders, the Lions have become a trendy playoff pick and the Bears have one of the most exciting, young QBs in the game in Justin Fields. Green Bay has to play those teams six times and also sees the Steelers, Chargers, Chiefs and Giants on the schedule. The days of the Packers getting to 10 wins because they have an elite QB are long over. A basement finish in the division doesn’t seem that unlikely.
Steve Quinne’s Pick: Packers under 7.5 wins (+110)
This team isn’t going to the Super Bowl, winning its division or making the playoffs, so the only bet that makes sense is the under on the win total. Packers fans have had an incredible 30-year run with Favre and Rodgers behind center, but the cold reality is that it’s time for a rebuild at the home of one of the proudest franchises in sports. This year could get really ugly in Green Bay, like top-three draft pick kind of bad. The weapons just aren’t there on offense as the receivers are young, Jones and Dillon get a year older and Love will have some expected growing pains. Winning four or five games isn’t out of the question, so the under easily cashes.