The 2016 Green Bay Packers’ season will always be remembered for Aaron Rodgers urging the team’s fans to “Relax” after a blowout loss in Washington. Losing that prime time game dropped his team to 4-6 and made a playoff berth look less and less likely. Following the confidence of their perennial MVP candidate, Green Bay went on to win out, finishing 10-6, earning an NFC North divisional crown. They knocked off the Giants and Cowboys in the playoffs before falling to Atlanta in the NFC title game. Looking ahead, the Packers should again be the favorites in the North. Even if they get off to a sluggish start, as long as they have Aaron Rodgers, they always have a chance.
2016 Record: 10-6
Notable Additions: TE Martellus Bennett, G Jahri Evans, DL Ricky Jean-Francois
Notable Subtractions: RB Eddie Lacy, RB James Starks, LB Julius Peppers, CB Sam Shields, TE Jared Cook, OG T.J. Lang, OL J.C. Tretter
Notable Rookies: CB Kevin King, S Josh Jones, LB Vince Biegel, DT Montravius Adams
To put it as bluntly as possible, so long as Aaron Rodgers is under center, the Packers are not going away anytime soon. That is simply all you really need to know. Now it is true Green Bay’s backfield took a bit of a hit losing both Eddie Lacy and James Starks to free-agency, but the team is confident converted wide receiver Ty Montgomery is up for the challenge of being an every down back. The bigger concern on offense is probably along the line, where the loss of longtime guard T.J. Lang will leave a significant leadership role vacant. Defensively, the Packers struggled for much of last season, forcing Rodgers to attempt to win shootouts, and that trend may continue moving forward as the team’s pass rush is not going to scare anyone, Linebacker Clay Matthews has struggled to stay healthy of late, and safety Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix has become really the only playmaker the team has on this side of the ball. Veteran kicker Mason Crosby was extremely clutch down the stretch a year ago, particularly in the round two playoff game in Dallas. If Green Bay finds themselves in games where the last team to possess the ball may win, they believe Crosby can make the big kick needed to secure a victory.