2019 NFL Power Rankings:
No. 17 Green Bay Packers
Imagine starting Aaron Rodgers as your team's quarterback and missing the playoffs. It shouldn't be fathomable, but that was the reality for Green Bay in 2018. With a cape-less Rodgers unable to lead the team back to the promised land, the Packers decided to start fresh. First, they axed long-time head coach Mike McCarthy, who had a somewhat tumultuous relationship with Rodgers. Then they tabbed Tennessee offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur to fill the void. We're not going to get into the frivolous back-and-forth on whether LaFleur takes the cuffs off Rodgers and lets him do what he does. Like Long Beach rapper $tupid Young says, "That's mando."
The issue last season had much to do with the Packers' lack of depth at wide receiver. Davante Adams balled, posting career highs in receptions (111), receiving yards (1,386) and touchdown grabs (13). Outside of a massive year from the Pro Bowler, Green Bay struggled to get production from a rookie-laden corps. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown -- his dad added “St.” to their last names because it looked better on the back of a jersey -- put forth valiant efforts but weren't quite ready for the stage. With a year of seasoning under their belts, both big-bodied targets should be viable weapons for Rodgers, especially in the red zone. The loss of Rodgers' safety valve, Randall Cobb, hurts. Cobb was a locker room leader, but he couldn't stay on the field. Now he's in Dallas, catching passes from Dakota Prescott. Luckily for The Pack, Geronimo Allison takes over in the slot role and fits the mold of Matt LaFleur's system. His combination of instincts, quickness, and familiarity with Rodgers should pay dividends.
Everybody and their mama projected running back Aaron Jones to break out in 2018. After missing two games to suspension and another pair of outings, the tailback eclipsed 100 rushing yards just once. With a new year, no distractions and fresh legs, the running back looks to make good on the promise and take his place as one of the league's better young ball carriers. If this team plans on challenging the Bears for the NFC North crown, it has to add some balance to the offense.
Offensive Players to Watch: Aaron Jones, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison
Defensive Players to Watch: Rashaan Gary, Darnell Savage, Adrian Amos
Fantasy Players to watch: Davonte Adams, Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones. ‘
Verdict: I believe in the magic of Aaron Rodgers as much as the next man. I still don’t think this team is good enough to win the North. 8-8
I can't front. I love Green Bay's defense on paper. Jaire Alexander was my favorite cornerback in the 2018 class and should be gearing up for a trip to the Pro Bowl. Kevin King has the length to become an exceptional player who could match up against the league's best receivers. Rookie safety Darnell Savage, aka 21 21, is a human torpedo who covers tons of ground and is a playmaker waiting to happen. And last but not least, Kenny Clark is a monster up front who takes on double teams, allowing the team's pass rushers one-on-one matchups. The linebacking corps may not be anything to write home about, but the Packers have the pieces to be successful.