In putting together the Green Bay Packers 2016 NFL preview, it becomes pretty clear that this is the team to beat in the NFC North. But do they finally have the stuff to get back to the Super Bowl? Once again, they bring a deep squad to the field, and they face a soft schedule. This could be the top club in the NFC.
Packers Offense: A-
For Aaron Rodgers (3,821 31 TD, 8 INT) 2015 it was not a great year. His favorite WR Jordy Nelson missed the season with an ACL tear. Nelson is back and healthy, plus the Packers have added Rams’ TE Jared Cook, who is speedy and big. WR Randall Cobb (79 REC, 10.5 AVG, 6 TD) is also a quality pass catcher. The ground game needs Eddie Lacy (758 YD, 4.1 AVG, 3 TD) to step it up. Good news on the O-line, five solid starters return.
Packers Defense: B+
The Packer D had a tough time stopping the run although they were effective versus the pass. They may have the same weakness and strength this season. Tackle Mike Daniels (4 Sacks, 7 TFL) is a major force. The LB unit includes Julian Peppers (10.5 Sacks) and Clay Matthews (6.5 Sacks, 84 Tackles). Despite losing Casey Hayward to free agency, the Packers secondary is still deep. Sam Shields becomes the number one corner and second-year corner Damarious Randall will start. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Morgan Burnett are quality safeties.
Packers Special Teams: B-
Kicker Mason Crosby (36/36 XP, 24/28 FG) is rock solid, but the punting situation is dicey with that job up for grabs. The Pack’s kick returns were a little better than midland, while the punk return game ranked 30th. There’s little hope for improvement in these areas.
Packers Coaching and Management: B+
Head coach Mark Murphy (112-62-1) made some changes last season, including giving up play calling and having the same coach focus on QBs and receivers. Both were disastrous. Partway through the season, Murphy started calling plays again, and for 2016 he’s reconfigured the coaching assignments and replaced a few coaches. GM Ted Thompson does a good job keeping the Pack on track.
Last Word: Green Bay Packers 2016 NFL Preview
What we see in our Green Bay Packers 2016 NFL preview is a club that, once again, will be in the playoffs, and most likely as the NFC North winner. The Pack had an off season last year, starting off on shaky ground, but they improved over time. This team will be tough to beat in 2016.
For our overview of the NFC and to link to other NFC teams, please click here.