Green Bay Packers 2018 NFL Team Preview
2017 Record: 7-9
2017 ATS: 7-9
2017 Overs/Unders: 11-5
2018 Regular Season Wins Total: 10 wins
Aaron Rodgers is back healthy and with that the Green Bay Packers are instant Super Bowl contenders. This clearly isn’t a very good football team without Rodgers at the helm. In fact, Green Bay is just 5-12-1 in games in which Rodgers injured his collarbone or was out of action. But while Rodgers is a Hall of Fame quarterback, he seems to be on the downside of his career. The last three seasons have been a somewhat of a struggle for Rodgers. Over the last three seasons, Rodgers has averaged just 6.99 yards per attempt versus the league average of 7.24. In the six seasons prior to that, he averaged 8.41 yards per attempt – one of the best stretches in NFL history. Can he regain some of that magic and be one of the top quarterbacks in the league again? Everyone is assuming yes, but I’m not so certain.
The Packers have a particularly weak group of wide receivers for Rodgers to throw the ball to this season. Relying on Davante Adams and Randall Cobb to be your top playmakers is asking a lot. Green Bay added big name tight ends Jimmy Graham and Mercedes Lewis in the off-season, but both are well past their primes. The running game is still not fully proven with second-year backs Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones battling for the bulk of the carries. The offensive line has some question marks on the right side.
Two new coordinators were added to head coach Mike McCarthy’s staff and they are familiar faces – Joe Philbin and Mike Pettine. Philbin was the Packers offensive coordinator from 2007 to 2011 and benefitted from some of Rodgers’ best seasons. He failed miserably as the head guy in Miami and wasn’t particularly useful for the Colts the last two years either.
Pettine has his work cut out for himself with this defense. In order for the Packers to make some strides defensively, they’re going to need a few of the young guys to emerge. There are holes at all three levels of the defense and the pass rush is particularly concerning. Nose tackle Kenny Clark came on late with 4.5 sacks in the final five games and they’ll need that to continue. The secondary was hit hard with injuries last season and they brought in cornerback Tramon Williams to help shore up the position. The Packers also added defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and are counting on him to be a productive edge rusher. The defensive depth is lacking so any injuries could spell trouble.
The Packers haven’t taken advantage of the talents of Rodgers during his career. They’ve been to only two NFC Championship games in seven seasons and they are a pretty big underdog to get there in 2018. The NFC is absolutely loaded this season and the NFC North is especially tough. I’ve lost a lot of faith in McCarthy as time has went on. He’s far too conservative and that shouldn’t be the case when you’ve had one of the best arms in the game.
Bettors Should Keep an Eye On: Pay close attention to the numbers that Rodgers puts up in the early weeks of the season. While he continues to boast a tremendous TD-INT ratio, he needs to raise his yards per attempt average and get everything he can out of a subpar receiver group. The running game also has to be above-average for Rodgers to regain his old form. There’s a good chance Rodgers takes another step backwards in 2018.
Professional sports bettor Waz has notched several big accomplishments in Las Vegas football contests including an $86,000 score in the Station Casinos NFL Last Man Standing contest and 5 cashes in 7 years in the Westgate Supercontest (including a top six finish). Subscribe to get access to Waz’s football picks this season.
Read more of BettorIQ’s NFL team previews.