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Cheese Curds, 4/4: Packers among top candidates for playoff rebound in 2019

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If Aaron Rodgers and most of the Packers’ roster remains healthy, there’s no reason to expect a repeat of last season’s struggles.

Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

6-9-1 with Aaron Rodgers starting 16 games is a shocking development. The Green Bay Packers’ record — in conjunction with a terrible performance at home in December — were ultimately what got Mike McCarthy fired with four games to go last season. The fact remains that the Packers underachieved, and even if you give Aaron Rodgers the benefit of the doubt that he was significantly hampered all season long, it’s difficult to absorb that final line at the end of the year.

With all the changes that have gone on in Green Bay this offseason, however, hope springs anew in Titletown. A new head coach and a revamped offense, big-name free agent signings on defense, and (hopefully) an exciting draft class should put the Packers squarely in position to compete again in 2019.

Today, we find that this optimism is not limited just to those of us who follow the Packers. At least one national writer sees the Packers as the non-playoff team that is best-positioned to make a run at a championship in 2019.

Of course, health is and will always be a critical factor. Rodgers needs to stay healthy. His receivers and offensive line do as well. And so do most of the key players on the defense. But if this roster adds some top-end talent in the NFL Draft and manages to stay largely intact throughout the season, there’s no reason to think that the Packers can’t be right in the thick of the NFC playoff picture come December.

Linsleys organizing benefit for father of Corey’s bike kid | Packers.com
This type of event underlines just how close the Packers and their players are to the community. It's a special bond between team and city, and we wish the best for the Kohlbeck family.

Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams both crack top-12 in RB success rate in 2018 | Packers Wire
Williams' 3.7 YPC average lagged well behind Jones' league-leading 5.5, but both players did a really good job in 2018 of getting the yardage necessary to move the chains or at least keep the Packers ahead of the sticks.

Five non-playoff teams that could jump to Super Bowl contention | SI.com
Surprise, surprise: the Packers are on this list. They're at the top of the list, actually, with the Steelers, Browns, Raiders, and Jets behind them.

Jordy Nelson: Would be hard to say no if Rodgers called - NFL.com
Rodgers doesn't make the personnel decisions in Green Bay (which is almost certainly a good thing), so the situation here is unlikely. But at least now Brian Gutekunst knows that if an emergency strikes in training camp, an old friend might be willing to come help out.

Complete NFL Draft Grades for all 31* hats - SBNation.com
Personally, I'm not a fan of the Packers' draft hat for this year, as New Era decided to go with some local flair and incorporate city and state flag designs into the hats. Still, there are some others that are far, far, far worse.

Homes Closer To Breweries Have Higher Property Value Than Those Not Within Walking Distance, Study Finds – CBS Philly
Makes sense to me. I'd love to live within walking distance of a good brewpub!