Predictions are a dime a dozen this time of year, so here are a few more. We asked our writers to forecast the Packers’ season, and it turns out we’re a pessimistic lot overall.
Here’s what our crew had to say.
Tex Western: More of the same
This team should win something like 12 games, host a playoff game or two, and in all likelihood, get to the NFC Championship Game once again. But as has been the case the last few years, I suspect that attrition will take its toll and rob the Packers of a key player or two at critical positions. The defense in particular looks excellent on the top line of the depth chart, but it’s one injury away from starting Jonathan Garvin on the edge or Rudy Ford at safety. Those are the kinds of things that can end a season in January, and as much as I’d love to, I’m not going to predict a Super Bowl appearance with those types of question marks present.
Justis Mosqueda: Good enough to break me
Matt LaFleur’s never won fewer than 13 games in a season and the Packers are currently favored in 15 of their 17 matchups this year. It’s hard for me to believe that their receiving talent and pass-rusher depth, should someone go down, is enough to win three or four playoff games back-to-back against what the league’s best have to offer. 2022 is a reloading year, whereas 2023 is really when Green Bay’s title window should open up. They will do just enough between now and January to reel me in and crush me. Pain.
Mike Vieth: We’ll see what happens
For the regular season, I’d say anything less than 12 wins would be disappointing. This will be on the defense, for a change, rather than the offense though. The defense has the chance to be elite while the offense figures out their wide receiver and offensive line positions, especially early in the season. It won’t matter too much in the NFC North as I don’t see any team challenging for the division but having a solid playoff seed is always key.
As for the playoffs, there doesn’t seem to be a team that sticks out as a huge favorite in the NFC. It’ll be very difficult for the Rams to repeat, the Bucs and Tom Brady will, probably, be a factor and the Eagles or Cowboys will hang around. The Super Bowl is a real possibility for the Packers, especially, if they get rolling the last five weeks of the season. Would be a fitting end for Aaron Rodgers, if this is his last year too. Now all they need to do is stay healthy.
Jon Meerdink: Slow start, hot finish, and who knows after that
I really like the overall talent on this year’s Packers team. They have an elite QB, a good (when healthy) offensive line, solid to elite performers at most of the key spots on defense, and good coaching. That should be enough to contend, and I think by the end of the season they’ll really be firing provided that the injury situation breaks in their favor.
But I wouldn’t be surprised if they started a bit slow. While they have great talent, the defense can only go as far as the offense takes them — even if they’re outstanding, the Packers can still play great defense and lose. It happened in the playoffs, as we know all too well. And I think there’s reason to believe that this offense will take a little time to gel.
The receiver room is going to take some time. I think there’s a lot of individual talent in that position group, but figuring out how it all works together is going to be a process, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see it take a while.
But when it does, I think there’s a good chance this team could get hot. They’ll make the playoffs, and if they’re hot enough, who knows how far they could go?
Paul Noonan: A Super Bowl
I’m not going to predict how they do in the Super Bowl, that’s too far for me, but I do think they get there. They had a really smart offseason, especially given their cap situation, and I like smart behavior, and believe that while the universe is cold and indifferent, that intelligence and hard work is often rewarded.
You can’t run on this team at will anymore thanks to Campbell, Walker, and Reed. You can’t just eat them up with tight ends (I think) thanks to Walker and the secondary. They have three top corners to slow down almost any passing attack. They got both Bakhtiari and Jenkins back (already a stroke of luck) which makes their offensive line incredibly deep.
Yes, they lost Adams, but it sounds as if they tried hard not to, and since all they had was draft capital, they used it as best they could to replace him. They may not have the flashiest receiving corps, but it’s deep, solid, and has high-end potential. I know Doubs was the talk of camp (again, another stroke of luck already), but I still have a feeling that Watson is going to be better, faster, than people think.
And even special teams, they burned that sucker to the ground. They went shopping on the high end with Bisaccia, they brought in a sure thing with O’Donnell. They saw what was wrong and tried to fix it. Generally, they succeeded. This conference is mostly a dumpster fire. Yeah, Brady’s out there hunting, and the Rams are obviously very good, but Stafford’s arm is a question mark, Brady can’t do this forever, Gronk is gone, and nerds are hyping up the Eagles. I’ll take that all day.
This team is good. They’re winning the NFC.