Green Bay Packers football is nearly here and this time it is for real. The dull and dry pre-season is finally over and the games will start counting. The Green Bay Packers will look to improve on a season in which they went 15-1 but lost in the second round of the playoffs to the eventual Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants.
In terms of the offense nothing should change from last year’s team. The offense remains intact and should only get better as they continue to have time to gel as a unit. Rodgers will continue to put up his numbers and the receivers will be there to catch his passes so don’t look for the passing game to slow down at all.
The biggest question mark the Packers offense had all last season and into the off-season was the running game and those questions remain unanswered. The Packers signed veteran running back Cedric Benson, which they hope will give them a boost in the running game to go with James Starks and Brandon Saine. While it is a good move it doesn’t mean the Packers will have a productive running game right away, which could lead to the pass only type offense the Packers were forced to run last year. Aaron Rodgers can win games all by himself but the better teams will find ways to slow him down and that is where a running game is critical. Benson has had limited playing time during the pre-season so it remains to be seen just how big of an impact he will have.
On the defensive side of the ball there seems to be improvement. The defense played better in the pre-season but there are still some signs of concern. The secondary, which was a big problem last year, seems to have taken steps forward but not really as big as steps as hoped. There were still times where the defense gave up big yards through the air. The defense is also struggling getting to opposing quarterbacks with the pass rush which gives quarterbacks too much time to throw, which only contributes to the issues with the secondary. The Packers went heavy on defense during the draft so those young guys need to keep working to get fully into the system, which will help the defense as a whole, but as of now the defense should still be a cause for concern. The defense will still give up yards and points but they should be just as good as getting takeaways as they did last season.
While the Packers look to be just as good as they did last year don’t expect them to go 15-1. No matter how good your team is, it is too much to expect a team to go nearly perfect. The Packers will still be a force and get their wins but 15 wins is just too much to expect from your team. Here is a preview of the Packers schedule and how I think they will fair with a brief description.
Week 1 – vs. San Francisco – Win
- The Packers start their season off with a tough game at home against the team with the second best record in the conference last year. The 49er’s were a bit of a surprise last season but the Packers should be ready for them. The game will be tight but being at home gives the Packers a slight edge.
Week 2 – vs. Chicago – Win
- Another close game but being at home once again gives the Packers the win
Week 3 – @ Seattle – Win
- First road game will be in a tough environment against a solid team. Packers can win but don’t be surprised if they lose this one.
Week 4 – vs New Orleans – Win
- The Packers won this same game last year and the Saints have been rocked by the NFL with sanctions for the bounty controversy so there is no reason why the Packers shouldn’t win again.
Week 5 – @ Indy – Win
- Packers beat golden boy Andrew Luck and improve to 5-0.
Week 6 – @ Houston – Loss
- This game will have both teams scoring in the 60’s for but I see the Texans winning this one. The Packers quest for a perfect season will end early this year.
Week 7 – @ St. Louis – Win
- Packers win by 40 points.
Week 8 – vs. Jacksonville – Win
- See week 7
Week 9 – vs. Arizona – Win
- Should be another easy win
Week 11 – @ Detroit – Loss
- The Lions will get the better of the Packers at some point this season and I figured it would most likely happen when the Lions were at home, so I am predicting a loss for the Pack in this one.
- While it pains me to say this I think the Giants will best the Packers in this one. The Packers won in New York last year but they could have easily lost that one as well
Week 13 – vs. Minnesota – Win
- Packers win big after suffering two losses.
Week 14 – vs. Detroit – Win
- Packers get revenge for loss in Detroit earlier in the season by beating the Lions at home.
Week 15 – @ Chicago – Loss
- Similar to how I feel about the Lions, the Packers will most likely lose a game to the Bears and it is more than likely going to happen when the Packers are on the road.
Week 16 – vs. Tennessee – Win
- Should be an easy win for the Packers in last regular season game at Lambeau.
Week 17 – @ Minnesota – Win
- Packers end season on a high note by beating the rival Vikings again.
So by my predictions the Packers should finish the regular season 12-4. This should be good enough to win the division or at the very least the wildcard.
Speaking of the division it should be a fun one to watch. The Packers and Lions are the front runners of the division but the Bears should be a solid team, they were doing well until injury’s derailed their season last year, so there should be a solid three team race for the division title.
All this said, this is what fans should expect from the 2012-13 Packers season. The offense will keep doing what it did last year, there are no signs of them slowing down. The defense should improve but we will still see flashes of the poor play that plagued the team most of last season. The division will be tougher but the Packers should prevail and they should still be a favorite to win the Super Bowl.
It will be an exciting season.