The Comeback is previewing all 32 NFL teams from worst to first leading up to the start of the 2018 regular season on Sept. 6. Up next in our preseason rankings are the quarterback-dependent Green Bay Packers.
2017 in a nutshell: They start 4-1 and look like Super Bowl contenders despite a bad defense. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers goes down and they finish 7-9 and out of the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
What’s different: Rodgers is healthy, they’ve got two new coordinators and Jimmy Graham is now the starting tight end.
Why they could be awesome: Rodgers is healthy, the offense could be fresher than ever and Graham is a touchdown machine.
Why they could suck: Rodgers has missed big chunks of two of the last five seasons and the defense remains a liability. Within their franchise quarterback, the Packers are toast.
Major additions: Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, Graham, defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson, and rookie cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson and veteran corner Tramon Williams.
Major losses: Wide receiver Jordy Nelson, safety Morgan Burnett, defensive back Damarious Randall,
Breakout watch: Pick a running back. Ty Montgomery flashed after converting from wide receiver two years ago but saw his 2017 campaign derailed by injuries. Jamaal Williams struggled as a rookie in 2017 but looks like the top dog entering his sophomore season. And Aaron Jones looked fantastic as a rookie fifth-round selection last season but is facing an early-season suspension. I like Jones the most, but all three have breakout potential.
Position to watch: Aside from running back, the defensive backfield is intriguing. They used their top two picks on Alexander and Jackson, both of whom have awesome potential. And that came one year after they used two early selections on defensive backs Kevin King and Josh Jones. Those four will team up/battle with vets Williams, Quinten Rollins and Davon House, and there’ll be a lot of pressure with Burnett gone.
Prediction: Rodgers is the best quarterback in the game, and they’re just good enough elsewhere to get back to the playoffs.
10-6, 2nd place in the NFC North