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Green Bay Packers Predictions

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Not even an injury to Aaron Rodgers could prevent the Green Bay Packers from winning their 3rd straight NFC North title and securing their 5th straight postseason appearance. With Rodgers sidelined for 7 games, the Packers stumbled to an 8-7-1 finish after a strong 5-2 start. Luckily, both the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears collapsed down the stretch.

Unfortunately for Green Bay the end result was the same, a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the the playoffs. While it their 20-23 defeat wasn’t anywhere close to as bad as their 31-45 loss the previous season, it stung just as much. The Packers are now just 1-3 in the postseason since winning the Super Bowl in 2010.

Regardless of what has transpired since hosting the Lombardi Trophy, Green Bay will head into 2014 as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. Whether or not the Packers can deliver the franchises 5th Super Bowl is up in the air. Let’s take a closer look at what Green Bay will be sending to field on both sides of the ball this season.

Last Season
NFC North
Record
ATS Record
Home ATS
Road ATS
Over/Under
1st
8-7-1
6-10
3-5
3-5
8-8
Offense Rank
Defense Rank
Turnover Margin
Points For
Points Against
3rd
25th
-3
26.1
26.8
2014 Roster Changes
Draft Picks
S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, WR Davante Adams, DE/DT Khyri Thornton, TE Richard Rodgers, ILB Carl Bradford, C Corey Linsley, WR Jared Abbrederis
Additions
DE Julius Peppers, DT Letroy Guion
Losses
WR James Jones, OT Marshall Newhouse, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, DE/DT C.J. Wilson, S M.D. Jennings
2014 Preview
2014 Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
9/4 @ Seahawks
+5.5
0.31
9/14 Jets
-8.5
0.80
9/21 @ Lions
-1
0.51
9/28 @ Bears
-1
0.51
10/2 Vikings
-10
0.84
10/12 @ Dolphins
-2.5
0.55
10/19 Panthers
-5.5
0.69
10/26 @ Saints
+3.5
0.36
Week 9 BYE
-
-
11/9 Bears
-6.5
0.72
11/16 Eagles
-5
0.68
11/23 @ Vikings
-4.5
0.67
11/30 Patriots
-3.5
0.64
12/8 Falcons
-6.5
0.72
12/14 @ Bills
-4.5
0.67
12/21 @ Bucs
-3
0.59
12/28 Lions
-3.5
0.64
Estimated Wins: 9.90

Even with Rodgers sidelined for nearly half the season, Green Bay still managed to finish 3rd in total offense (400.3 ypg) and T-8th in scoring offense (26.1 ppg), which just goes to show you how good this unit was with a healthy No. 12 under center. With Rodgers back at full strength and still in the midst of his prime at the age of 30, the Packers should once again feature one of the best offenses in the league.

Rodgers wasn’t the only key player who missed significant time last year. Wide out Randall Cobb played in just 6 games and would finish with just 31 catches for 433 yards after exploding onto the scene in 2012 with 80 receptions for 954 yards and 8 touchdowns. While the Packers get back Cobb to pair up with talented wide out Jordy Nelson, the receiving corps will be welcoming in some new faces in 2014. Due the loss of wide out James Jones and tight end Jermichael Finley, Green Bay figures to rely a lot on rookies Devante Adams (WR) and Richard Rodgers (TE). They also get back Jarrett Boykin, who surprised with 49 catches for 681 yards last year.

One of the big positives that the Packers took away from last year was the fact that they appear to have finally found a running back capable of keeping defenses honest. Eddie Lacey rushed for 1,117 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie and the Packers would go on to finish 7th in the league in rushing at 133.5 ypg. With the respect defenses have to give to Rodgers and the passing game, Lacey figures to enjoy and even more success sophomore campaign.

Another promising thing to come from last year was the play up front on the offensive line, which didn’t figure to be the case after projected left tackle Bryan Bulaga was lost before the season ever started with a torn ACL. The main reason for that was the play of 4th round rookie David Bakhitiari, who stepped in and held his own at left tackle. While the unit lost starting center Evan Dietrich-Smith, they are feel they have an adequate replacement in 2nd year center J.C. Tretter. With Josh Sitton and T.J. Lang returning at guard and Bulaga moving back to his more natural position at right tackle, this has the potential to be even better in 2014.

The defensive line for Green Bay returns intact from last year, but the unit will need to get more out of defensive end Datone Jones, who they took in the first round of 2013. A big reason for that is they didn’t bring back veteran defensive end Ryan Pickett. Mike Daniels is expected to step into the vacated spot left by Pickett, but their also going to need youngsters Josh Boyd, Jerel Worthy and rookie Khyri Thompson to contribute.

It’s not like the Packers to go out and spend money on free agents, but they went against the grain this offseason and brought in veteran outside linebacker Julius Peppers, who they feel still has enough left in the tank to be an effective pass rusher opposite Clay Matthews. They also have solid depth behind Peppers with Nick Perry and Mike Neal, which will allow him to stay fresh. The only real concern here is at the two inside linebacker spots, where A.J. Hawk and Brad Jones return. Both are experienced, but neither has the playmaking ability that you would like to see at the position.

The other big addition on this side of the ball came in the draft, where Green Bay used their first round pick on Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. It’s an area that desperately needed an upgrade, as the Packers safeties last year didn’t account for a single interception or fumble. Morgan Burnett will return to start alongside Clinton-Dix and the hope is that his play will improve with better help alongside him. At corner there’s not much concern. Green Bay has two talented starters in Sam Shields and Tramon Williams and a couple of capable backups in Casey Hayward and Micah Hyde.

Odds
Regular Season Win Total
to Win the NFC
to Win Super Bowl XLVIX
10.5
13 to 2
12 to 1
Odds Courtesty of Bovada
Predictions

Prior to last year’s 8-win campaign, the Packers had put together 4 straight seasons of at least 10 wins. A mark I’m confident they will reach in 2014. It’s easy to forget that this team is just two years removed from going 15-1. Adding to this is the fact that no team has been hit harder by injuries over the last two years. Green Bay led the league in most starts lost to injury in 2012 and had the 3rd most last year. Injuries have a way of evening themselves out and it’s a big reason why the Packers are one of my favorites to win the win the Super Bowl in 2014.

The defense will certainly have to play better for Green Bay to obtain that goal, but with Rodgers guiding the offense it doesn’t have to be great. When it comes down to it, the Packers are a clear step above the rest of the NFC North and I would put them on par with the elites in the NFC in Seattle, San Francisco and New Orleans.

While the schedule features two brutal road games against the Seahawks and Saints, plus a couple difficult home games against the Patriots an Eagles, the rest of the schedule is relatively easy. In fact, Green Bay is expected to be favored in 14 of their 16 games this season.

When it’s all said and done, I have the Packers finishing 12-4, which should have them in the mix for the No. 1 seed in the NFC and a couple games clear of the next best team in the division. I’m not normally one to bet big on the OVER with a 10.5 win total, but unless this team is derailed by injuries for a third consecutive season, I see no reason why Green Bay won’t win at least 11 games.

Projections
NFC North Finish
Division Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
1st
5-1
12-4
OVER 10.5
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About the Author: Jimmy Boyd is known for his consistency. He's a proven winner in college and pro football, college and pro basketball and pro baseball. He finished as the No. 1 ranked MLB handicapper in 2007 by earning $1,000/game bettors $50,050. He also finished as the No. 1 ranked basketball handicapper in the 2008-09 season, profiting $1,000/game bettors 38,530. His basketball plays have banked $1,000/game bettors nearly $80,000 the last five years. Check out Jimmy's premium picks for tonight!
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