When the Green Bay Packers lost starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers in a Week 6 game against the Vikings, there season was all but over. Rodgers got the Packers off to a 4-1 start, but they would go just 3-8 the rest of the way.

Rodgers did return to action in Week 15. However, after losing that game and being eliminated from the playoffs he didn’t play another snap.  It was the first time since 2008 that Green Bay didn’t either win the division (won NFC North 5 of the previous 6 seasons) or make the playoffs as a Wild Card.

While I think some were surprised at how bad the Packers were without Rodgers, it really shouldn’t have been. Rodgers is an elite talent at the most important position in the game and you simply can’t replace a talent like that with the likes of Brett Hundley.

Green Bay did make some big changes both to their coaching staff and roster this offseason. The Packers fired both offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett and defensive coordinator Dom Capers. The new offensive coordinator is Joe Philbin, who held this same job with Green Bay from 2007-11. Former Jets defensive coordinator and Browns head coach Mike Pettine will replace Capers.

The Packers have made several notable additions in free agency. They beefed up their defensive line with defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, added two new tight ends in Jimmy Graham and Mercedes Lewis, signed veteran offensive tackle Byron Bell and welcomed back corner Tramon Williams.

After trading away Damarious Randall and safety Morgan Burnett signing with the Steelers, Green Bay made a point to sure up their secondary in the draft. The Packers used their first round pick on Louisville corner Jaire Alexander and second round pick on Iowa’s Joshua Jackson. They also used three picks on wide receivers after releasing one of their top all-time producers at the position in Jordy Nelson.

As long as Rodgers is in his prime and healthy, the Packers are going to be considered a contender in the NFC. That’s definitely the case in 2018. The big question is whether or not they have enough to overtake the Vikings in the NFC North and put together their first Super Bowl run since 2010.

2018 Packers Schedule & Projected Odds

Below you will find the early odds released by Vegas for Weeks 1-16, as well as my projected number for Week 17. Using the lines we are able to give a game-by-game win probability, which we used to come up an expected win total.

WeekOpponentEst. OddsWins
1Bears SNF-8.50.80
2Vikings-2.50.55
3at Redskins-30.59
4Bills-9.50.81
5at Lions-10.51
649ers MNF-40.66
7BYEBYEBYE
8at Rams+30.41
9at Patriots SNF+60.29
10Dolphins-10.50.86
11at Seahawks TNF-10.51
12at Vikings SNF+30.41
13Cardinals-110.87
14Falcons-3.50.64
15at Bears-30.59
16at Jets-60.71
17Lions-70.75

Projected Wins: 9.97

Over/Under Wins Prediction: OVER 10

I’m actually a bit surprised the Packers win total is sitting at 10 and not 10.5 or 11. Sure they only won 7 games last year, but that was with just 6 full games from Rodgers. I’d be willing to bet that if Rodgers didn’t get hurt, this team would have reached at least 10 wins. Keep in mind they started 4-1 with him in the lineup and were coming off a season in which they made the NFC Championship Game.

Outside of Rodgers’ first full season in 2018 when they went 6-10, the only other season besides last year where they failed to win at least 10 games was 2013. That year they finished 8-7-1 and it just so happens that Rodgers only played 9 games that year because of injury.

Unless you want to bank on Rodgers getting hurt again, I feel like you are playing with house money at Green Bay OVER 10. I think worse case is a push at 10-6 with a great shot they win 11+ games.

Odds to Win the Super Bowl: +1400

I think you could do a lot worse than bet the Packers at +1400 to win it all. Keep in mind that prior to the start of last season, Green Bay was around +750 to win the Super Bowl and were at +500 the week before Rodgers suffered that injury.

I also feel like now is the time to jump on Green Bay. Prior to their Week 7 bye, the Packers play the Bears, Vikings, Bills and 49ers at home with the only two on the road against the Redskins and Lions. A 5-1 or 6-0 start to the season is a legit possibility. Oddsmakers won’t hesitate to lower their odds, as they know the public will be quick to jump on the bandwagon after a strong start.

Odds to Win the NFC: +650

There’s some decent value here with the Packers at +650 to win the NFC, but not quite as much as we are seeing with their Super Bowl odds. Only the Eagles (+500) and Rams (+600) have better odds to win the conference.

Odds to Win the NFC North:  +140

It’s unlikely that even with a healthy Rodgers last year the Packers could have overtaken the Vikings for the NFC North crown. Minnesota finished the season 13-3 and were without a doubt one of the best teams in the league.

There’s a lot of hype around the Vikings this season, as they have most of their core in tact an added what they feel is a legit franchise quarterback in Kirk Cousins. With that said, I still think there’s value here with the Packers at +140, as they have won the NFC North 9 times since it was formed in 2002 and 4 of the last 6 years.