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The Green Bay Packers have been kept out of the playoffs with a losing record for two seasons in a row, and the 2019 version of the team includes a lot of new faces on both the coaching and playing sides.
After firing longtime head coach Mike McCarthy in Week 13 of last season, the Packers have brought in young Matt LaFleur hoping his short time with another young and successful head coach, Sean McVay of the Los Angeles Rams, has somehow trained him to lead a team similarly.
Veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers has to prove in 2019 that he can still deliver the goods and put his Packers in a position to play and win in the postseason.
Here we look at some of the offseason moves that Green Bay has made to help achieve their playoff goals, including their recent draft picks and the odds and predictions of their 2019 season.
If you are interested in how other NFL teams are doing in their offseason, you can also check out:
Let’s just say that for the last two seasons, the Green Bay Packers have not been themselves, and for that, their head coach Mike McCarthy was fired in Week 13 after thirteen years of service.
The Packers ended their 2018 season with a 6-9-1 record, in third place of the NFC North and with veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers getting banged up the entire season, starting with a knee injury and ending with a possible concussion.
For the first time since 1990 to 1991, the Packers suffered back to back losing seasons and for the first time since 2005 to 2006, Green Bay missed the postseason in back to back years.
The latest portion of Matt LaFleur’s rapid rise in the NFL coaching world has him head coaching for the first time ever after spending last season as the Tennessee Titans’ offensive coordinator and the season prior as the non-play calling offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Rams under play-calling head coach Sean McVay.
According to Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst, LaFleur’s intelligence and his ability to organize and build relationships on multiple levels are why he was hired, all aspects that he feels are critical for anyone leading an NFL franchise.
According to Gutekunst, LaFleur’s “values and personality fit the culture of our organization.”
LaFleur’s play-calling experience is limited, but his youth, his time under McVay and his relationship with the famous Shanahan family has all helped give the thirty-nine year older a chance to prove himself in a league where youthful head coaches are slowly becoming the norm.
The first thing Gutekunst did this offseason is to beef up the Packers’ underwhelming defense, ranked 18th overall last season, but using free agency to signing two linebackers named Smith, Za’Darius and Preston.
Also added to the mix are free safety Adrian Amos, formerly of the Chicago Bears, and drafted rookies defensive end Rashan Gary and strong safety Darnell Savage.
What remains a mystery to some football experts is why the Packers didn’t go out and get Rodgers another receiving target on the same level as Davante Adams to challenge Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison for departing receiver Randall Cobb’s starting spot.
Outside linebacker Clay Mathews, who signed a two-year, $9.25 million deal with the Los Angeles Rams with $5.5 million of that guaranteed.
Wide receiver Randall Cobb, who signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Dallas Cowboys with $2 million of that guaranteed.
Cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs with $1.15 million of that guaranteed.
Outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith, who signed a four-year, $20 million deal with $20 million of that guaranteed.
Outside linebacker Preston Smith, who signed a four-year, $52 million contract with $16 million of that guaranteed.
Safety Adrian Amos, who signed a four-year, $36 million deal with $12 million of that guaranteed.
Offense: Tackle, tight end
Defense: Tackle, safety
The Packers had 8 picks in the 2019 NFL Draft, and they were:
Over the last decade, the Green Bay Packers have been to the playoffs eight out of ten seasons, with one of those a victory in Super Bowl XLV in 2010 over the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers was named the MVP.
Of those other seven postseason visits, the Packers lost in the NFC Conference Championship twice, the Divisional Playoffs three times and the Wild Card game twice.
The Packers have won the Super Bowl three other times in their 98 NFL seasons, twice with Hall of Famer Bart Starr under center (1966 and 1967) and once with Hall of Famer Brett Favre (1996).
The good news for their fans is the 2019 Green Bay Packers are predicted to be in the playoffs, hopefully ending the possibility of missing the postseason three seasons in a row, something the team hasn’t done since the late eighties, early nineties.
The not as good news is that the Packers are not predicted to win the NFC North – that honor goes to the Chicago Bears (+160) – but they are expected to go as one of the Wild Card teams, most likely the sixth seed behind the Rams, Cowboys, Saints, Bears and Eagles.
The important thing that could spark a turnaround is that Aaron Rodgers has a new head coach and offensive coordinator to work with so it will quickly become very clear if the Packers’ past woes stem from those who were recently let go or the veteran quarterback who remains.
Can the 2019 Packers sneak into the playoffs as a Wild Card team even if they can’t get past the Bears in the NFC North?
Even if Green Bay finds itself in the postseason, has their defense been beefed up enough this offseason to give them a chance against offensive NFC powerhouses like the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints?
Is former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers still capable of taking his team the distance, or has his knee become too much of a liability for him to stay mobile and effective?
Plenty of bets to put money on – but you’d have to be a real Green Bay Packers fan to take some of the long odds being offered.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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