Saints Week 1 showdown: what exactly happened?

What was behind Saints Week 1 big victory?

By: Courtney Burrows

Week 1 is in the books and what a wild one it was to start off the 2021-22 NFL season.  There have been many off-season stories that have left us scratching our heads and others that have us jumping in anticipation.  (Or wait, is it only me jumping!)  All I can say is Week 1 delivered highs and lows for me and others in the fantasy community, and I am very happy that football is back. There were crazy games and players who shined and crashed, but the best game in my opinion of the week was New Orleans Saints versus Green Bay where the Saints came marching in and roasted the Packers 38-3.

                The Packers came to Jacksonville to play the Saints who were displaced by Hurricane Ida. The Saints were led by QB Jameis Winston who won the starting job from Taysom Hill in the pre-season. This was the first game the team played without their leader Drew Brees under center. No one knew what to expect or what to feel, but this die-hard Saints fan knew Winston would be our guy and have been rooting for him. 

In Winston’s last season with the Bucs, he threw for 5,109 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions. He was released by the team, and no one wanted to give the once 1st round draft pick a starting chance. So, he became the 3rd string behind Brees and under Coach Payton’s regime and began to study quietly with his head down, determined, and focused. This is a new Winston under center, a leader in the locker room determined to prove he is the right QB to once again lead a team, and prove he did in Jacksonville Saturday afternoon.

                The Saints defensive attack led by Zack Baun who had five tackles made Rodgers scramble and throw erratically which is not the steady hand we are used to seeing.  Rodgers ended with two interceptions, 15 completions on 28 attempts, and a passer rating of 36.8%.  He could not get anything done in the red zone with his star wideout Adams and star RB Jones was unable to go anywhere on the ground.  The Saints defense came to play, and with them making stop upon the stop, the offensive had ample opportunity to carve up plays. The time of possession was almost a full 10 minutes over the Pack.  Kamara led the rushing attack with 83 out of 171 total yards. Winston only had 148 yards in the air, but they were calculated and precise with zero interceptions, five total touchdowns to four different receivers, and a passer rating of 130.8%. The most surprising was 2nd year TE Juwan Johnson he hauled in two touchdowns and will be another hot wavier wire this week. Though fellow TE Trautman led the team in targets, Johnson is only owned in 1.8% of ESPN leagues. 

The one injury of note is star pass-rusher Marcus Davenport, who ended Sunday with three tackles and one sack, underwent an MRI to see the extent of an apparent pectoral muscle injury which was deemed a strain not a tear.  This is fantastic news for the defensive as he should return sooner than later.  In the meantime, Carl Granderson and rookie Payton Turner will have to step up in a big way. 

For a guy that no one had much faith in besides the WHODAT nation, Winston did well and proved many doubters wrong.  He and the Saints decimated and embarrassed the Packers in the Sunshine State.  It won’t be a walk in the park in every contest for the Saints, but this is a confidence builder. All the parts fit together to make one cohesive, strong unified team under one of the best coaches in the game today. I am proud of Winston and his character today. I look forward to this season, and can’t wait for Sunday Funday.


Find me on twitter at luvtractor3 for any questions and just for everyday football fun. 

Projecting winners of each NFC division

Who will win the NFC East?

By: Jeremy Trottier

The NFC has been an interesting conference in recent years, from the Eagles winning the Super Bowl against the dynasty that is/was the Patriots, to the Panthers making Super Bowl 50, to our current reigning champions the Buccaneers.  The conference could be looking to have new appearances both for division winners as well as Super Bowl contenders, which always makes things interesting.  In this article, I will be going over who I believe will win each NFC division, as well as why they make sense to do so.

NFC North – Green Bay Packers

To be completely fair, this division is getting closer as of late, with players like Justin Jefferson and Justin Fields being added in recent years we see improvements from the other three teams.  With that said, as long as the Packers have Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams, they have a good chance to win.  They were able to lock up Aaron Jones for a few more seasons, and we should see a true debut year from A.J. Dillion at RB2 now that Jamaal Williams is gone.

Additions such as Eric Stokes, De’Vondre Campbell, Amari Rodgers, and Randall Cobb should be definitive pieces to the puzzle for Green Bay as they make another playoff push.  They have not significantly improved their team this offseason, that much is clear, but being able to retain Rodgers for another year and keep the focal points of their offense allows them a chance.

NFC East – Dallas Cowboys

The Dallas Cowboys had two major issues last season that prevented them from going anywhere.  The first being lackluster QB play, which they fix with the return of Dak Prescott.  The other issue was their defense, which struggled immensely, which they have fixed by taking 8 defensive players of their 11 draft picks this year, with their first six all being defensive players.  Just to list them off, they got Micah Parsons, Kelvin Joseph, Osa Odighizuwa, Chauncey Golston, Nashon Wright, Jabril Cox, Quinton Bohanna, and Israel Mukuamu.

This influx of defensive players, as well as the return of Dak, should make this team the best in the NFC East, on top of their top tier receiving core and solid offensive line which just takes them over the top.

NFC South – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The reigning Super Bowl champions were able to retain all 22 of their starters from last year, and the last time that happened it was the Pittsburgh Steelers who went on to repeat and win another SB.  Now, will that be the case?  That is yet to be seen.  But winning the division has to come first, and they have prepared to do so with solid offseason acquisitions.

So far they have brought in players like Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, KJ Britt, Chris Wilcox, and Ladarius Hamilton.  As well as the return of O.J. Howard, Kenjon Barner, Shaq Barrett, Jack Cichy, and A.Q. Shipley from late-season IR.  

NFC West – Los Angeles Rams

Finally, we have the NFC West, which is probably the strongest division all-around in the league, never mind the conference.  With that said, the Rams are probably the most complete team of them all right now, with playmakers at every level of offense and defense.  To state the obvious first, Matt Stafford is going to drastically improve the team’s offense, and the addition of Sony Michel is one that despite losing Cam Akers should be able to create some productivity.

They obviously still have Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey on the team too, both of whom are top players at their position.  Overall the explosiveness that Stafford could bring to this offense could put this team in deep playoff contention this season.

Buying or selling Super Bowl LVI contenders

Are the LA Rams really Super Bowl contenders?

By: Chris Thomas

From the minute the Super Bowl ends speculation begins about who could make the Super Bowl the following year. The odds change throughout the offseason as hirings, signings, and the draft happens. At this point of the offseason, the Super Bowl odds seem pretty firm, barring anything crazy. 

Recently Sportsline came up with their Super Bowl odds for the 2022 NFL Season. According to CBS Sports, they simulate every NFL game 10,000 times to figure out their odds for who will win the Super Bowl. CBS Sports also reported that those who have bet $100 on their model since its inception six years ago are now up almost $7,900.

Even though there are so many talented teams around the league only two teams can make the Super Bowl and only one team can win it. There are a lot of loaded rosters across the league, but only a hand few could be considered Super Bowl contenders. Sportsline has set the odds for every team’s chance of winning the Super Bowl next season. Here is whether to buy or sell Sportsline top-10 Super Bowl contenders as teams who could win the Super Bowl. 

1. Kansas City Chiefs (+525)

Despite losing the Super Bowl last year, many believe the Kansas City Chiefs do have the best odds of winning the Super Bowl next year. It’s pretty hard to argue against it. Kansas City did not have many major losses across their roster this offseason. The Chiefs invested a lot of capital into their biggest weakness displayed during the Super Bowl which was their offensive line. They added veterans like Orlando Brown Jr. (via trade), Joe Thuney, Kyle Long, and Austin Blythe. Then drafted high upside interior offensive linemen Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith. Also, veteran guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardiff and 2020 third-round pick tackle Lucas Niang are returning to the team after opting out last season due to Covid-19. That unit is deep enough to ensure that former MVP Patrick Mahomes plays behind a top-10 offensive line all year. 

Kansas City does not have any major holes across its roster. They have done a great job retaining veterans and filling voids on their roster with high draft picks over the last couple of seasons. The combination of having an MVP caliber quarterback, consistency in the roster, and fantastic coaching is what makes the Chiefs a potential Super Bowl contender this season.

Verdict: Buying

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+650)

It would be shocking to not have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers high on this list. The reigning Super Bowl champs did the impossible this past offseason and managed to retain every single player that started during the Super Bowl for them. Tampa Bay somehow managed to retain Shaquil Barrett, Chris Godwin, Ndamukong Suh, Leonard Fournette, and Rob Gronkowski in free agency. They also retained veterans Steve McLendon, Blaine Gabbert, Ryan Succop, and signed veteran running back Giovanni Bernard to join their running back committee. During the draft, Tampa Bay took the best player available and Jason Pierre-Pauls potential replacement next offseason Joe Tryon. Adding a prospect like Tryon to a defense that was capable of holding Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to nine points during the Super Bowl was a great move. 

After last season it seems that anytime Tom Brady is a team’s starting quarterback they have a chance of winning the Super Bowl. Another season of Brady in that system with the outstanding weapons he has including Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, (A healthy) O.J. Howard, a plethora of great running backs, and outstanding defensive play could result in the Buccaneers winning back-to-back Super Bowls. 

Verdict: Buying

3. Buffalo Bills (+1300)

After the two teams who played in the Super Bowl last year, there is a cluster of teams that could prevent one of them from getting to the big game. Sportsline has the Buffalo Bills as the team most likely to take down the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC and win the Super Bowl. At times last season the Bills looked like the best team in football. Quarterback Josh Allen took a massive leap and asserted himself as a top-10 quarterback and finished the season as the runner-up to the MVP. Last year they also added Stefon Diggs who was arguably the best receiver in all of football. Diggs led the league in receptions and receiving yards last year. On top of that, the Bills have an extremely solid roster with a couple of former Pro Bowl defensive players including Tre’Davious White and Tremaine Edmonds. They let go of John Brown who missed most of last season and replaced him with Emmanuel Sanders. 

The Bills are a really good team, but it is important to ask, how much better did the Bills get this offseason. Buffalo retained a lot of their starters from the year prior and brought in Sanders, but they did not bring any fresh blood who can make a major impact on this roster. During the draft, the Bills spent their first two selections on defensive linemen Gregory Rousseau and Carlos “Boogie” Basham. Both help fill the need Buffalo has for a premier pass rusher. But with all the veteran depth on this roster both in the interior and on the edge, how often are they going to be seeing the field next season? The answer is not extremely likely unless they show immediately that they are better than veterans Jerry Hughes, Mario Addison, Efe Obada, and 2020 second-round pick A.J. Epenesa. The sad truth is that Buffalo didn’t add enough to their roster to potentially become the sole favorite in the AFC and defeated the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Verdict: Selling

T4. Baltimore Ravens (+1400)

Since Lamar Jackson became the starting quarterback of the Ravens during the 2018-19 NFL season the Ravens have been one of the most dominant teams in the league. The Ravens are expected to continue that this season and may go farther this year than they have in Jackson’s previous three seasons. A couple of veteran players left Baltimore in free agency this offseason including Mark Ingram, Willie Snead IV, Matt Skura, D.J. Fluker, Matthew Judon, and Yannick Ngakoue. But the Ravens did a great job reloading their roster with more veteran and young talent this offseason to replace those players. In free agency, Baltimore added Kevin Zeitler, Alejandro Villanueva, Sammy Watkins, Ja’Wuan James (expected to miss the entire 2021-22 season), and Justin Houston. In the draft, Baltimore added both wide receiver Rashod Bateman and Odafe “Jayson” Oweh in the first round after they acquired a second first-round pick in the Orlando Brown Jr. trade.

It is hard to argue against Baltimore having one of the deepest rosters in the league, even after the roster turnover. The biggest factors for how Baltimore will perform this year will be the Ravens passing game and pass rush. The Ravens have gotten below-average play from their wide receivers in recent years, Baltimore hopes the additions of Rashod Bateman and Sammy Watkins could boost the team’s production from that position. The pass rush may have been a concern, but after adding Odafe Owey and Justin Houston to this loaded defense the Ravens should be able to generate enough pressure from the outside to play at a high level. Since Lamar Jackson’s contract is looming over the Ravens’ future this may be Baltimore’s best opportunity to win a Super Bowl with Jackson under center on a rookie contract. 

Verdict: Buying

T4. Los Angeles Rams (+1400)

The Los Angeles Rams started the offseason making a huge trade to upgrade their quarterback position. Before the Super Bowl, the Rams agreed to trade Jared Goff, their 2022 first-round pick, and 2023 first-round pick to the Detroit Lions for Matthew Stafford. This trade signals that the Rams believe they are a quarterback upgrade away from being a Super Bowl contender. A lot of notable players left the team in free agency including Josh Reynolds, Samson Ebukam, Gerald Everett, Malcolm Brown, Austin Blythe, John Johnson III, and Troy Hill. Not to mention they traded away Michael Brockers to free up salary space. The biggest addition the Rams made to this roster is DeSean Jackson who joins a deep receiving core including Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Van Jefferson. The Rams didn’t have a first-round pick due to the Jalen Ramsey trade. They did not add any players who are expected to have an immediate impact, instead, they could likely develop into contributors in year two or three with the team. 

The Rams have a few players on the roster that are considered elite at their position including Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. Then they have a couple of players who are great including Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Leonard Floyd, Matthew Stafford, and Andrew Whitworth. But after those guys, the Rams are relying on a bunch of unproven players who at best couple be solid. This roster is extremely delicate. One injury to a Rams star and they could miss the playoffs. Already the Rams have lost 2020 second-round pick running back Cam Akers to a torn Achilles before training camp. Everything for the Rams would have to go perfectly for them to have a shot at the Super Bowl with their current roster construction.

Verdict: Selling

T4. San Fransisco 49ers (+1400)

It is easily forgotten that the San Fransisco 49ers were in the Super Bowl two years ago. After a season derailed by multiple injuries, the 49ers made the most discussed transaction of the offseason. The 49ers traded two future first-round picks to acquire the third overall pick in this past draft. They used that selection of quarterback Trey Lance. The 49ers lost Richard Sherman and few depth pieces but overall had a positive offseason adding solid pieces in Alex Mack, Samson Ebukam, Maurice Hurst, Arden Key, and Wayne Gallman. Their best signing may be the extending left tackle Trent Williams to a six-year $138 million deal. 

Looking at their roster it is clear that the 49ers can be one of the league’s best if they stay healthy. On offense, they have an elite running game and three outstanding pass catchers in George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and second-year receiver Brandon Aiyuk. Behind their offensive line, it may not matter if Jimmy Garoppolo or Trey Lance is under center. Then the 49ers’ defense still can be as elite as it was two years ago with all their premier talent. If the 49ers could stay healthy and make it out of the NFC West they are as dangerous as any team in the NFL. 

Verdict: Buying

7. Green Bay Packers(+1600)

Since the NFL Draft, the most talked about team in the league has been the Green Bay Packers. The reasoning is that it became public knowledge that league MVP Aaron Rodgers wants to be traded from the team. He felt he has been mistreated by management and would rather go to a situation where he feels he will be treated as he should. Besides that, the Packers have had an okay offseason. Green Bay lost All-Pro center Corey Linsley and running back Jamaal Williams in free agency. They brought in free agents De’Vondre Campbell and Dennis Kelly to fill voids on their roster. Green Bay also retained cornerback Kevin King on a one-year deal and Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones to a four-year $48 million deal. During the first round of the draft, they added Eric Stokes to upgrade their CB2 spot that was exposed during the NFC Championship.

In all honesty, the Packers have an extremely loaded roster. But their biggest problem this season may be what happens in the locker room. After negotiating with Packers brass Aaron Rodgers agreed to come to training camp under the condition that the Packers trade him following this season. Since he has returned he has been extremely passive-aggressive about all that has happened and seems to have the Packers organization doing his bidding. That bidding included traded for veteran receiver and former Packer Randall Cobb who will now likely start over third-round pick rookie Amari Rodgers in the slot. On top of that All-Pro receiver Davante Adams has now expressed that he may leave the Packers this offseason, especially if Aaron Rodgers isn’t there. Both Rodgers and Adams are under the impression that this is the “last dance” and this is their last shot to win it all before they both split from Green Bay this offseason. It is hard to recall a time where a team with this much dysfunction in the locker room won a Super Bowl. 

Verdict: Selling

8. Cleveland Browns (+1800)

After their outstanding performance, last season the Cleveland Browns are being recognized as a potential Super Bowl contender last season. Cleveland had a fantastic offseason as well. The Browns signed John Johnson III, Troy Hill, Jadeveon Clowney, Takk McKinley, Malik Jackson, Anthony Walker Jr., and resigned Rashad Higgins. They also had a great draft taking two first-round talents in cornerback Greg Newsome II and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah in the first two rounds. 

It is hard to find a major hole across this roster. The biggest factor for the Browns this season is the play of Baker Mayfield. So far throughout his career, he has played well but is considered an average NFL quarterback. In year two playing for Kevin Stefanski, Mayfield hopes to make that leap. A healthy Odell Beckham Jr. should help Mayfield realize his potential as long as he doesn’t feel pressure to force plays to Beckham as he has in the past. What may hold this team back at the end of the day is the team’s inexperience in huge games. Last year the Browns managed to pick up a playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers and came close to beating the Kansas City Chiefs. But it is hard to call the Browns a contender without evidence that they can defeat the teams at the top of the AFC let alone the entire league. 

Verdict: Selling

9. Denver Broncos (+2000)

The most shocking team to appear on this list is the Denver Broncos. According to Sportsline, the team that went 5-11 a season ago has the ninth-best odds of winning the Super Bowl. That sounds crazy but after acknowledging all of the Broncos offseason moves it doesn’t seem entirely impossible. They let go of a few veterans including Phillip Lindsay, Jurrell Casey, A.J. Bouye, and Ja’Wuan James. But Denver added to Pro Bowl-caliber cornerbacks in Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby to go with their star-studded secondary that features Bryce Callahan, Justin Simmons, and Kareem Jackson. Simmons and Jackson received extensions from the Broncos this offseason as well as Garrett Bolles and Shelby Harris. During the draft, Denver elected not to draft a quarterback and took cornerback Patrick Surtain II in the first round. 

The most impactful move the Broncos made this offseason can be the acquisition of former Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He is engaged in a quarterback competition with Drew Lock. That uncertainty at quarterback is what holds Denver out of conversations as legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Denver has a very exciting young offense and premier defensive talent. But their below-average quarterback play likely caps their ceiling at around .500. If Drew Lock wins the quarterback job and breaks out then the Broncos may have a chance of making the playoffs. The only way Denver becomes Super Bowl contenders is if Lock plays at least at a Pro Bowl level or possibly an MVP level.

Verdict: Selling

T10. Indianapolis Colts (+3000)

So far the Indianapolis Colts have not had an outstanding training camp. Freak foot injuries to their new franchise quarterback Carson Wentz and All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson have tempered the expectations for the team. However, both may be able to return from their injuries around Week 1. Earlier the Colts made the trade to acquire Wentz from the Eagles to replace the recently retired Philip Rivers. They gave up a 2021 third-round pick and a conditional 2022 second-round pick for Wentz. That conditional second-round pick would become a first-round pick if Wentz plays 75% of the snaps or if he plays 70% of the snaps and the Colts made the playoffs. This offseason Colts lost both of their starting edge rushers Denico Autry and Justin Houston, veteran quarterback Jacoby Brissett, linebacker Anthony Walker Jr., and former first-round pick Malik Hooker. But they managed to retain Xavier Rhodes, T.Y. Hilton, and Marlon Mack. The Colts also signed former Chiefs left tackle Eric Fisher. During the draft, the Colts took pass rusher Kwity Paye towards the end of the first round. 

The Indianapolis Colts have a nice blend of younger players and veterans throughout their roster. But they feel like they’re missing another x-factor player to make them legitimate contenders. That player could be Carson Wentz if he returns to his form during the 2017-18 season. Besides Jonathan Taylor behind the Colts’ elite offensive line, there are a lot of questions about their offense. What Carson Wentz will the Colts get, Is T.Y. Hilton still a threat on offense, and can Michael Pittman Jr. emerge as the Colts’ number one receiver. Defensively the Colts have enough to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders. It all comes down to the offense that would need to take a big leap forward for this team to become a Super Bowl contender. 

Verdict: Selling

T10. New Orleans Saints (+3000)

As it stands right now it appears the New Orleans Saints missed their Super Bowl window over the last four seasons. But they still have an extremely talented roster. The Saints lost some of their major contributors from a season ago including Emmanuel Sanders, Trey Hendrickson, Sheldon Rankins, Janoris Jenkins, and Jared Cook. They also brought in a couple of solid veterans in Nick Vannett, Tanoh Kpassagnon, J.R. Sweezy, Jeff Heath, and Brian Poole. Their first-round pick this past year was a puzzling one. They reached on edge rusher Payton Turner who many had a Day 2 grade on. 

The biggest storyline in New Orleans has been what the Saints do at quarterback in the post-Drew Brees era. New Orleans retained both Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill who are both expected to compete for the starting quarterback job. It doesn’t help that their number one receiver Michael Thomas is expected to miss a huge amount of time due to a lingering ankle injury. The Saints are not very deep at receiver after Thomas. New Orleans still has a lot of talent across this roster but will need trustworthy play at quarterback to make the playoffs next season let alone win the Super Bowl. 

Verdict: Selling

Expect the Lions, Eagles, and Texans to have the worst records in 2021

The worst NFL teams in 2021 will be…

By: Andy Davies

Plenty of uncertainty surrounds the Detroit Lions, Philadelphia Eagles, and Houston Texans going into the 2021 season. Their quarterback situations are far from clear and their overall rosters are mediocre at best.

The same goes for their head coaches, with all three going into their first seasons at the franchise. Neither of Dan Campbell, Nick Sirianni, or David Culley has been a full-time head coach in the NFL. Campbell is the only one to have some experience, with his spell as interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2015.

Here is why you should be expecting the Lions, Eagles, and Texans to have the three worst records in the league in 2021.

Saying Goodbye To A Franchise Legend In Detroit. Struggles For The Replacement

Matthew Stafford was the number one overall pick in 2009, with the entire city of Detroit hoping he would be the man to turn around the fortunes of the franchise. Despite three seasons of making the playoffs, the Lions and Stafford never won a single postseason game as the wait continues. The Lions remain the team with the second-longest period without a playoff win, their last taking place on January 5th, 1992.

Stafford had some great individual moments as a Lion, most notably his Mic’d up moment during his 2009 rookie season. In a week eleven game against the Cleveland Browns, he overcame injury to produce a moment of pure heroism. He played with a separated shoulder despite the efforts of the medical staff to keep him off the field, leading the Lions to a touchdown-winning drive.

Jim Caldwell guided the Lions to these playoff appearances but was not seen as good enough to take them to the next step. New England Patriots assistant head coach Matt Patricia was brought in but never took to life as head coach. The Lions had three consecutive losing seasons under the coaching of Patricia. They will hope that they have found their guy in Dan Campbell. His press conference was certainly not dull, with Campbell referring to “biting kneecaps”. As a former Lions player, he knows what it takes to play in the league. He also knows about the city of Detroit and his intentions are both positive and clear. If he is given time, he has the desire to bring the good times back to Detroit. However, he is inexperienced as a head coach and the roster is below average.

New quarterback Jared Goff has the potential to struggle. This is despite the drafting of offensive lineman Penei Sewell at seventh overall, a selection that had Campbell and new General Manager Brad Holmes very excited.

Despite his brilliant 2018 season that saw the Rams reach Super Bowl 53, Goff had a poor game and struggled in 2020 as he and head coach Sean McVay’s relationship deteriorated.

Goff struggled despite a plethora of offensive talent around him. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp form one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL. He is going to a franchise that let go of their two best wide receivers and failed to replace them.

The Lions have a schedule that features the San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, and Cleveland Browns. There are also two games against their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, and Chicago Bears. The Lions do not have it easy.

Prediction: 3-14

Trouble In Philadelphia; Reason For Hope?

The Eagles have seen three years of gradual decline after winning Super Bowl 52. The 2017 season saw the Eagles lift the Lombardi Trophy for the first time after two previous attempts.

Doug Pederson was the head coach to guide the Eagles to a Super Bowl but was fired after the conclusion of the 2020 season. His decision to bench rookie quarterback Jalen Hurts in order to lose and gain a higher draft pick appeared to be the final nail in the coffin.

Carson Wentz had an MVP caliber season before an injury derailed hopes of winning the award. Backup Nick Foles stepped in and guided the Eagles to the Super Bowl 52 win. He also stepped in a year later and guided the Eagles to a shock Wildcard Round win against the Chicago Bears, with thanks also going to a Cody Parkey missed field goal.

Both Foles and Wentz are no longer Eagles players. Out of the starters in that Super Bowl 52 win, only seven remain with the franchise. Their decision to draft Jalen Reagor over Justin Jefferson continues to be mocked by rival fans and nobody knows how new head coach Nick Sirianni will do in the role.

The schedule is mixed for Philadelphia. Whilst they face the New York Jets, Lions, and twice play the New York Giants, they also have to face the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.. This is as well as facing a rising Washington Football Team twice as well as playing the Dallas Cowboys both home and away.

Reports have surfaced in recent days of the Philadelphia Eagles being the favourites for Deshaun, with talks said to be “heating up”.

This could be a move that transforms the franchise. However, Deshaun Watson had his best statistical season yet the Texans only managed four wins all year. This proves that whilst it is very important to have a good quarterback, you need more around to be successful.

Unless the Eagles do something in what remains of the offseason, they will continue to be mediocre if their roster continues to be this poor. If they get offensive or defensive talent in the next one or two offseasons, then they are a team that will compete for years to come. Otherwise, the Eagles will fail to be a threat to both the NFC and NFC East.

This is why Deshaun should avoid the Eagles at this present time. He will be going into a situation no different to what he experienced in Houston.

Prediction: 4-13

What A Difference A Year Makes

Where do we start with the Houston Texans? The 2019 season saw them take a 24-0 lead against the Chiefs in the Divisional Round. However, they allowed 41 unanswered points as they lost 51-31. What has unfolded since in the following nineteen months has been reminiscent of a Greek tragedy.

Head coach Bill O’Brien, who also was general manager, made the unusual decision to trade star wide receiver, Deandre Hopkins. In exchange, the Texans received a running back past his sell-by date in David Johnson, one second-rounder and one fourth-round pick. O’Brien only lasted four games in the 2020 season as they finished the campaign with just four wins.

Since the conclusion of the 2020 season, franchise legend J.J Watt has left and there continues to be an uncertain future surrounding quarterback Deshaun Watson. Houston’s quarterback requested a trade in January before allegations of sexual assault arose. These have lingered throughout the remainder of the offseason. It is unclear if Watson will play in the NFL at all in 2021 but even if he does, it is unlikely that he will be wearing a Texans jersey.

Houston has said they would listen to trade offers for Watson, with the franchise said to be wanting three first-round picks. They have also acquired Tyrod Taylor via Free Agency and used their first pick in the draft on Davis Mills in the third round. Even if the Eagles stick with Hurts, there will be plenty of other suitors.

Even with Watson, the Texans are light on the ground when it comes to elite talent. Linebacker Zach Cunningham and Laremy Tunsil are talents and despite adding Phillip Lindsay and Mark Ingram to the running back room, the roster is one of the league’s worst.

David Culley has developed somewhat of a worrying reputation after his time with the Eagles, Chiefs, and Baltimore Ravens. During his fourteen-season spell with the Eagles, his four seasons with the Chiefs, and two years with the Ravens, he had 0 wide receivers earn a PFF grade of 80 or above.

The Chiefs wideouts went an entire season without a touchdown under Culley. With a wide receiver room featuring Brandin Cooks, Nico Collins and Anthony Miller, this is not exactly a position of strength for the Texans. Culley is unlikely to see any of these receivers score high PFF grades.

Whilst the Texans might be playing the Jacksonville Jaguars twice and the Jets, they have a tough schedule. They will face the Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks. Houston will also play the Los Angeles Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers as well as the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans twice.

They are unlikely to win many of these games. Fans should be expecting a difficult season.

Prediction: 2-15

Green Bay Packers 2021 Season Preview: Rodgers Last Dance in the Green and Gold

Previewing the Green Bay Packers 2021 season

By: Kyle McKee

What a few years it’s been for Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. From making back to back NFC championship games, to seeing your organization select your replacement in the first round. From winning an MVP award at 37 years old, to an Adam Schefter report coming out hours before the 2020 draft that Rodgers has played his last snap in Green Bay. Fast forward to the present day and all signs are pointing towards the 2021 NFL season being Aaron Rodgers last in Green Bay. 

After the Packers NFC championship loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rodgers had this to say in the postgame press conference: “A lot of guys’ futures, they’re uncertain, myself included… Just going to have to take some time away and clear my head and kind of see what’s going on with everything.“ That was the first real sign that Rodgers’ time in Green Bay may be coming to an end., which sent the NFL world in a frenzy. Then a few days later on the Pat McAfee show, Rodgers doubled down by saying that he’s simply not sure of his future with Green Bay, even saying “It was a realization that ultimately my future is not necessarily in my control.”

Then the off-season came and things got really weird. Before trading for Matthew Stafford, the Rams tried to kick the tires on acquiring Rodgers, but the Packers refused to deal him. Then Rodgers was a guest host on Jeopardy and seriously thought about retirement. Oh, and who could forget when ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on draft day that Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay, and has played his last snap with the team. Last, but certainly not least, seemingly out of nowhere engagement to actress Shailene Woodley and their vacation photos with Miles Teller. 

Despite all of that Rodgers drama in the off-season and many more stories that I didn’t mention, Rodgers reported to training camp and is still the starting QB for Green Bay for one last season. 

So what does all this drama mean for the Packers 2021 season? Well, before we discuss that, let’s first talk about Rodgers first press conference of the 2021 season. 

In that press conference, Rodgers laid out all of his frustrations with the organization. When asked by a reporter, “what was this all about,” referring to Rodger’s displeasure with the direction of the organization, Rodgers said he wished to be more involved in organizational decisions. He also talked about “how some of the out-going veterans were treated and just the fact that we (Packers) didn’t retain a number of players that I felt were core players to our foundation, our locker room, high character guys. I’m talking about Charles Woodson, Jordy Nelson, Julius Peppers, Clay Matthews, Randall Cobb, James Jones, John Kuhn, Brett Goode, TJ Lang, Brian Bulaga, Casey Hayward, Micah Hyde… Many of whom weren’t offered a contract at all, or were extremely lowballed, or were not given the respect on their way out of their status and stature of high character deserved.” 

The most damning line from the interview is when Rodgers says in his answer the  question of what this was all about that he wanted to be in organizational conversations about free agents, “which has never happened in my career.” That’s crazy! How was Aaron Rodgers never been involved in organizational decisions? He’s a surefire hall of fame Quarterback. He’s one of the best to ever play the quarterback position, most important football. For goodness sakes, he just won an MVP award at the age of 37! 

Sorry, I had to get that off my chest. The fact that organizations like the Packers think they’re the main reason for the team’s success and not the players that PLAY and the coaches that coach the games is ridiculous to me. Of course, a good front office is needed, but the players are the ones who do the heavy lifting. With that being said, I’d like to take a second to thank Rodgers for expressing what he feels in that press conference, and actually giving the media and fans real answers to the questions that we’ve all had. Whether you love him or hate him, you’ve got to respect him for speaking his mind and being so open. Now, back to your regularly scheduled program. 

Despite all the drama with Rodgers and the Packers this off-season, I expect Green Bay to be just as good as they’ve been the last two seasons. They’re pretty much bringing back the same roster from that made back-to-back NFC championship games, so why can’t the Packers make it three in a row and maybe even get back to the Super Bowl? I mean, a healthy Aaron Rodgers is guaranteed 10 wins, and now with the extra game, probably at least 11 wins for Green Bay. 

In all honesty, I could see the Packers 2021 season going one of two ways, that is assuming Rodgers is healthy all year. Either the Pack loses in the first round of the playoffs and the entire season is just a media frenzy with each week consisting of a news story related to Rodgers. Or everyone on the Packers buys into the one the last dance mentality, finishes the regular season with one of the best records in the league, and goes on to win the Super Bowl. I’m of the belief that the latter is more likely than the former. Here’s why:

According to Pro Football Focus, the Packers have the sixth-best roster heading into the 2021 season. On offense, they’ve Aaron Rodgers. What more needs to be said. They still have one of, if not the best receiver in the game in Davante Adams. Other than Adams, Rodgers still has Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard to work with, as well as newly required Randall Cobb, Devin Funchess, and Amari Rodgers. Rodgers has a solid backfield at his disposal in Aaron Jones and AJ Dillion, and the Packers offensive line finished the 2020 season as the second-ranked unit in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Not too shabby. 

On the other side of the ball is a different story. The Packers defense in 2020 was about an average unit. The one area where they excelled though is with Jaire Alexander and Adrian Amons who form one of the league’s best defensive back duos. However, one area where the Pack needs improvement is their defensive line. 

Kenny Clark is the Packers best defensive lineman. Selected to the Pro Bowl in 2019, Clark has been the most consistent D-lineman for Green Bay. According to J.E. Barnett of SB Nation, “When healthy, Clark eats up blockers, demanding the attention of blocking schemes and making the edge rush more effective.” Other than Clark though, Green Bay needs someone to step up. 

There’s Dean Lowry who’s been a solid, consistent D-lineman throughout his career, but has never really blossomed into a every down guy. There’s Kingsley Keke, who like Lowry, is another solid D-lineman who has yet to blossom into something more. Then there are guys like Tyler Lancaster, TJ Slaton, and Delonte Scott who are all just rotation lineman. Having said that, Green Bay’s hoping the consistency of returning players like Clark, Lowry, and Keke will contribute to an improved D-Line. 

Looking at Green Bay’s linebackers, they bring back two-time Pro Bowl Edge rusher Za’Darius Smith also returns and will try to make it a third straight Pro Bowl. Preston Smith, Krys Barnes, and Rashan Gary also return. Plus, newly acquired De’Vondre Campbell will move right into the starting inside linebacker position. 

Last season the Packers defense was an average unit, with some nice pieces in the secondary, a decent pass-rush and talented linebackers, but didn’t have any serious stars. However, Green Bay’s hoping that the consistency of returning players, the chemistry they built last season, will carry over into 2021, and morph into a top ten defense. 

With all that being said, the Packers Super Bowl hopes all hinge on Aaron Rodgers. If he can duplicate the success he had last season, or even improve, if that’s even possible, then Green Bay will be sitting pretty atop the standings, looking to add another Lombardi trophy. But if the Packers get off to a rough start to the season, and reports start coming out early on in the season about Rodgers’ frustrations with the organization, then things could turn sour fast. However, I’m of the belief that Rodgers is more motivated than ever. In his last year in Green Bay, Rodgers has to be more motivated than ever to prove to the organization he’s been a part of for the past 17 seasons that they are making a huge mistake in moving on from him in a year’s time. It’s not going to be easy though. 

According to CBSsports, the Packers have the fourth hardest strength of schedule for 2021, with their 2021 opponents combined 202 win percentage at .542. They’ll face difficult matchups such as going to Kansas City, Baltimore, Arizona, New Orleans, and San Francisco. Despite all of that though, and even with all the drama that happened this off-season between Rodgers and the Packers, don’t be surprised if Aaron is holding up the Lombardi trophy in February, laughing his way out of Green Bay. 

Why Jordan Love could be a Pro Bowler if Rodgers is moved

Jordan Love Pro Bowl bound in 2021?

By: Reese Nasser

Second-year quarterback Jordan Love could be the QB1 in Green Bay quicker than anyone anticipated. Longtime quarterback Aaron Rodgers hasn’t shown any indication that he is willing to return to the Packers and a trade could still be on the horizon.  

The Green Bay Packers may have no option but to go all in on their former first-round pick. 

The Packers shocked much of the NFL when they chose to trade up and draft Love with the 26th pick of the 2020 draft. Originally, there seemed to be a sense of hope that Love could follow a path like Rodgers did when he first arrived in the NFL. Sit behind an all-time great quarterback and retain as much information as he could until it was time to take over. Green Bay envisioned a long-term plan when selecting Love but it seems as if things could change rather quickly. 

So the question must be asked; what level could Jordan Love play at if he is given the QB1 spot? There is potential that he could play at the level of a pro bowl quarterback.

The Packers have an offense that is top-loaded with talent. The trio of Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, and Robert Tonyan can keep up with the NFL’s best defenses. With a group like that surrounding Love, he could find instant success in the league. A Pro Bowl trip could be in Love’s near future and here’s why.

A Year with Rodgers

Even with Rodgers’ future in Green Bay uncertain, Love was still able to learn from him for an entire season. As we’ve seen numerous times in just the last few years, quarterbacks that have been able to sit behind such accomplished quarterbacks have done very well in the NFL. 

Patrick Mahomes may be the most notable player to sit for a season and then be prepared when jis opportunity arrives. While there are no expectations for Love to play anywhere near the level of Mahomes, he could shock the NFL in a manner somewhat similar to that of Mahomes. 

Aaron Rodgers is arguably one of the single greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and he has been a QB1 for as long as he has become he knows the game better than most. 

Many young quarterbacks could benefit greatly from sitting behind a quarterback such as Rodgers and it could prove to be a pivotal factor in Love’s career. 

Coaching Impact 

Head coach Matt LaFleur has quickly become one of the best offensive masterminds in the NFL. After spending time with the Atlanta Falcons, Los Angeles Rams, and the Tennessee Titans before arriving in Green Bay, LaFleur has had the chance to work with some of the league’s best quarterbacks and best coaches, from Matt Ryan to both Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay. The knowledge that LaFleur has gained up to this point could allow for Love to transition into a starting role easier. 

Love doesn’t necessarily fit the typical mold of quarterbacks that LaFleur has had in the past but that doesn’t mean that he couldn’t fit an offense around him. Love has proven to be capable of throwing the ball deep and accurate, something that current Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is elite at. 

LaFleur’s ability to make any offense that he touches turn into an at least average unit would not be different here. 

With Love at the helm, LaFleur could potentially unlock another level to this unit. Love would be an upgrade over Rodgers in terms of athleticism. He ran a 4.74 40-yard dash and frequently made plays with his legs while in college. In his final season at Utah State, he rushed 81 times. He almost scored nine touchdowns with his legs. The addition of an athletic quarterback has revolutionized offenses all throughout the NFL, and this could happen in Green Bay. 

Everything that Love has encountered up to this point in his NFL career has prepared him to be great. The offensive weapons that Green Bay has assembled will allow Love to lean on them when he struggles. A security blanket in Davante Adams and a quality running back in Aaron Jones could also help mask any issues that Love has in his game. 

The coaching staff surrounding Love has proven to be prepared to let the quarterback learn the NFL game. They drafted him with him being the eventual QB1 and they clearly have an idea for what he can become. If Love can quickly grasp the NFL game, a Pro Bowl nod may be in his near future. 

3 GMs that lost this NFL offseason

Did the Packers GM lose this offseason?

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

The NFL offseason is now more than halfway complete. Between free agency, trades, and the draft it has been eventful as always. Teams have opened camps and players are coming together to start preparing for the upcoming season. The goal of every offseason for a GM is to make roster moves that will improve the team moving forward. Most of the GMs were able to accomplish that this year, but there are some that definitely did not. There are teams that will head into the 2021 season in a worse situation than 2020 because of decisions made by the GM of the team. Here are three that were the biggest losers this offseason.

Green Bay Packers: Brian Gutekunst

The Packers find themselves in a very messy situation right now, and that is mostly because Aaron Rodgers is unhappy with the direction of the team. He feels so strongly that he has not yet reported to the team for camp and rumor has it that he will refuse to play for them this year. He wants out of Green Bay and at least for now is apparently insisting that he would rather sit out this season than play for the Packers if he is not traded to another team. If Rodgers is this unhappy, it is an epic fail by the front office lead by Gutekunst.

Like it or not, when an organization is lucky enough to have a quarterback like Rodgers, they must do everything in their power to keep him happy. He is a once-in-a-lifetime type of player and widely considered a top-five quarterback in NFL history. He is a three-time NFL MVP, a Super Bowl champion, and a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. For as long as he is there, the organization needs to cater to him. He gives the team a real chance to win every game each season no matter what the rest of the roster looks like. He is an absolute luxury and they should be grateful to have him. If organizational decisions have made Rodgers so unhappy that he refuses to play for them anymore, then Gutekunst failed massively at his job.

In addition to the Rodgers disaster, the Packers made some questionable roster moves this offseason as well. First, they gave running back Aaron Jones a big contract extension. This is a bit of an odd decision because they just used a second-round pick on AJ Dillon, who has looked good. The money used on Jones could have better been used to keep center Corey Linsley while transitioning the starting running back job to Dillon. The Packers also gave cornerback Kevin King an extension but still used a first-round draft pick on another corner, which is a questionable strategy as well. All things considered, Gutekunst had the worst offseason of any GM this year and if Rodgers really does not come back, it was historically terrible.

Indianapolis Colts: Chris Ballard

The Colts made an enormous gamble this offseason by trading for quarterback Carson Wentz, who struggled so much with the Eagles last season that he lost his starting job to rookie Jalen Hurts. A strong case can be made that Wentz was the worst starting quarterback in the entire NFL last season after throwing 15 interceptions in just 12 games and recording an abysmal 57 completion percentage. This didn’t stop Ballard from acquiring him in hopes that head coach Frank Reich could get Wentz back to his old form before the injuries and extreme drop-off in production. After all, Reich was with Wentz in Philadelphia when he was playing by far his football.

The idea that Wentz is going to magically return to an MVP candidate after how bad he has been, is a serious long shot. The move may have been worth the risk for Ballard if the price was cheap enough, but that is far from the case. Besides the huge financial burden that Wentz brings with him, which is over 20 million in 2021 and 27 million in 2022, the Colts had to surrender valuable draft picks as well. They sent to the Eagles a third-round pick in 2021 as well as a 2022 conditional pick that will be either a first or second-rounder. The condition is that if Wentz plays at least 75 percent of the snaps for the Colts this season, the pick becomes a first-rounder.

The condition set on the pick is a losing one for Ballard unless Wentz becomes a superstar immediately, which is highly unlikely right now. The Colts can only retain their first-round pick if Wentz does not play over 75 percent of the snaps. There are only two ways that can happen and neither of them is good. It would mean either Wentz once again got injured or he continues to play so terribly as he did with the Eagles that he loses his job in Indianapolis as well. If he does play enough snaps, he would have to have a spectacular season to justify the price tag of a first and third-round pick to go with a nearly 50 million dollar salary hit over the next two years. When weighing risk versus reward, this was a terrible trade by Ballard and is the reason why he was one of the biggest losers this offseason.

Las Vegas Raiders: Mike Mayock

What Mayock did to the Raiders offensive line this offseason was baffling. He turned one of the best units in the entire NFL into one of the worst and didn’t get any real value for it in return. Tackle Trent Brown and center Rodney Hudson are elite at their positions and two of the better offensive lineman in the entire league while guard Gabe Jackson is a very solid player as well. All three of them were traded away this offseason, in addition to two seventh-round draft picks, and in return, the Raiders received just one third-round pick and two fifth-round picks. Rebuilding and retooling is sometimes a good idea and maybe Mayock felt it was time to do that to the offensive line. The problem is not necessarily what he gave away but there is no denying that he did a terrible job at getting back proper value.

Since taking over as the GM of the Raiders, Mayock has been questionable at best when it comes to the NFL Draft. He has often reached on players by over-drafting them when they would likely be available for him to select at a later time. A good draft strategy should be about getting the best value for your selection and Mayock has not done a great job at that. This year was no different when he selected offensive tackle Alex Leatherwood with the 17th overall pick. He may very well be a great tackle in the NFL but if that was the guy they wanted, they could have traded down to get him while receiving additional draft capital at the same time. Mayock did an awful job at maximizing the value of his transactions and that is why he had one of the worst offseasons.

3 NFL Trades that still need to happen

This NFL offseason is far from over.

By: Adam Hulse (@AdamHulseSports)

June 1st is a key date on the NFL offseason calendar. Players that are either cut or traded after this date require less dead cap money for their former team in the current year. This is why teams often wait until after June 1st to move on from certain players on the roster. Now that the date has passed, some of the big names on the trade market have a much better chance of actually being moved. Blockbuster deals can now transform from rumors to stories. Let’s take a look at three trades that need to happen.

Aaron Rodgers to the Broncos

There is no name bigger than Aaron Rodgers when it comes to players that could potentially be traded before the start of the upcoming 2021 season. He is the reigning NFL MVP and one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. At 37 years old, he is still in the prime of his career and would give any team a realistic shot to win a Super Bowl immediately. He has spent his entire career with the Packers, but he has grown increasingly upset with the organization and has demanded a trade.

Whether or not the Packers actually trade him is yet to be seen. They technically do not have to but if Rodgers is serious that he would rather sit out than play for them, they should maximize his value and a get huge haul in return via trade. The Broncos are one team that would almost definitely be interested and would likely give up whatever is necessary to get it done. They have been searching for an answer at quarterback since Peyton Manning retired and this would more than solve that problem.

The Broncos are a destination that makes sense not only because of their desire for an elite quarterback but also because they are a complete team everywhere else and ready to win now. QB is the only real thing that is missing so with Rodgers they would immediately become a Super Bowl contender. He would have plenty of weapons on offense including Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Noah Fant, Melvin Ingram, and Javonte Williams. Pair that with their very solid defensive unit and they are a real threat to win it all this year if Rodgers is playing quarterback.

Julio Jones to the Titans

It appears almost certain that Julio Jones is going to be traded away from the Falcons. He is being openly shopped around for the best potential deal that would both benefit his future and what the Falcons receive in return. One team that Jones has admitted that he is very interested in joining is the Titans. This destination makes a ton of sense because the Titans lost Corey Davis to free agency and have a bit of a need at wide receiver. Few are capable of filling that hole better than Julio Jones. Pairing him with superstar AJ Brown would be a match-up nightmare for opposing defenses.

Brown and Jones are both physically dominating wide receivers with deep threat abilities as well. They both usually require double teams or safety help at least, so it would be a major problem for opponents trying to scheme up ways to keep both of them covered. To further complicate things, they still have Derrick Henry at running back who absolutely destroys defenses that don’t load the box. All of these reasons combined would make the Titans offense an extremely difficult puzzle to solve if they do indeed trade for Julio Jones. It could realistically boost them from a playoff team to a real Super Bowl contender.

Zach Ertz to the Cardinals

There are two main reasons why the Eagles may be looking to trade their superstar tight end, Zach Ertz. First, they are a rebuilding team and Ertz is a veteran that could bring back draft capital in the trade market. Second, they already have the younger Dallas Goedert on their roster who is a very talented tight end. All things considered, it makes sense why the Eagles would deal him and the Cardinals are a team that just may be interested.

The Cardinals have fully committed to surrounding their young star quarterback Kyler Murray with as many weapons as possible to give him the best chance to succeed. They traded for Hopkins last year and followed that up this year by adding AJ Green and James Conner. Their offense is loaded but the one thing missing is a reliable tight end so that is where Ertz could come in. The Cardinals do not necessarily need another offensive weapon but they have already shown that they are willing to go above and beyond for Murray. Therefore, it would not be surprising at all if they made this move.

three biggest question aside from Rodgers for Packers right now

Who is the WR2 for Green Bay?

By: Noah Nichols

The Green Bay Packers have a lot to worry about right now. Mostly it concerns the deteriorating relationship between the Packers and Aaron Rodgers. Those are not the only problems that face them as they prepare to begin training camp. Positional battles will take place in training camp to determine who exactly starts as the number two receiver. Or who the center is.

Another problem that the Packers seemingly have ignored is their run defense. While they were ranked at 13th, to 11th last year, those numbers do not tell the true story. The Packers run defense in 2020 was mostly a liability. The Titans – Packers game where Derrick Henry did not rush for 100 yards was an aberration. Packers fans heading into that game fully expected Henry to have his way with the Packers run defense.

So, what real problems face the Packers heading into training camp? There are three big ones, as I have already outlined. And while the Packers have drafted some players to potentially fill in those spots, that does not mean that these questions have been answered. Only that a potential solution exists. The 2021 NFL season will prove whether or not those solutions are effective.

Who is the number two receiver?

Davante Adams might be the best wide receiver in the NFL. He’s in the top 3 if he is not number one. However, the players that line up with him don’t exactly crack any “top 25 wide receivers” lists. For good reason. Adams had 149 targets last year. (149! Let that sink in how dependent Rodgers was on Adams. Or how good Adams is. Or both.)

The next closest receiver, Marques Valdes-Scantling, had 63 targets. Aaron Jones, the Packers running back had the same amount of targets. However, Valdes-Scantling only caught half of the footballs thrown his way, for 33 receptions. Jones had 43. Allen Lazard, who had 43 targets, had the same amount of receptions as well. Robert Tonyan actually was second on the team with 52 receptions. The problem here is that Tonyan is a tight end.

So, who is the number two receiver? Is it Lazard? Perhaps, but the lack of targets is concerning. Valdes-Scantling certainly underperformed, with 30 targets resulting in no receptions. If the quarterbacks best options are his two running backs, who combined for 78 receptions, or his tight end, then the quarterback is in trouble. Especially if that quarterback is not Aaron Rodgers.

The Packers seem to be hoping that third-round draft pick Amari Rodgers can be that number two receiver. Rodgers (the receiver) is a fast, quick ,sure handed receiver. Matt LaFleur will certainly take advantage of Rodgers speed on jet sweeps and screen passes. Training camp will certainly help the Packers figure out who is the number two receiver. Amari Rodgers shows a lot of potential, with his speed and talent. However, if he does not win the job, that does not bode well for the Packers wide receiver core.

Who replaces Corey Linsley?

This might seem like a dumb question. After all, the Packers drafted Josh Meyers in the second round of the 2021 NFL draft. While Meyers will certainly have the inside track to start the season at center for the Packers, the level of play he gives will probably not be equal to what Corey Linsley gave. And there is no guarantee that Meyers picks up the job. He is a rookie and sometimes rookies underperform. Should he win the job? Yes. Will he? Probably, but he could not.

Being a rookie, his level of play will just not be as strong as Linsley’s was. Meyers might eventually reach that level of play, but not this season. He will be learning how to call out protections, read the defense to an extent, and how to play center at the NFL level. Even more concerning perhaps, is the depth behind Meyers. If Meyers falls, the level of play falls off a cliff. The only player behind Meyers on the Packers roster is Jake Hanson, who has never started an NFL game. Or played in one.

Can the run defense be fixed?

Out of the three questions facing the Packers as they enter into training camp, the run defense has the least amount of possible answers. The Packers ranked around 13th best rush defense in the NFL last year. However, they were 26th in yards per carry. The Packers did nothing in free agency to add a player to help their linebackers or defensive line. They added a 6th round pick at linebacker, and a 5th round pick at DL.

Those players will probably not start, and the 6th round pick, Isaiah McDuffie, may not even make the team. So the Packers will essentially be returning the same players, on one of the worst run defenses in the NFL. Their scheme will probably be changing in some portion with Joe Barry being named the new defensive coordinator. But there is only so much a scheme change will do. In the end, it will come down to talent and skill, and the Packers simply lack that when defending the run. Can Barry fix it? Perhaps. But I would not bet on it.

3 big events that led to Rodgers wanting out of Green Bay

What three events have led to Aaron Rodgers wanting out of Green Bay?

By: Jeremy Trottier

As most NFL fans know by now, Aaron Rodgers has quite a bit of disdain towards the Green Bay Packers right now for various reasons. This has led to quite the plethora of trade rumors coming out about him, as well as some of the reasons as to why he is unhappy with the Packers. In this article, I will be going over the biggest three of these reasons, as well as what made Rodgers unhappy for each issue.

Release of Jake Kumerow

This is one of the biggest reasons Rodgers has been upset with Green Bay, and honestly, it is for a valid reason besides just cutting Kumerow. The story behind this that is causing issues is that the day before GB cut Jake, Aaron was talking openly about how much he trusted and enjoyed having Jake on the team. This is what the media has been calling the boiling point that got Rodgers to where he is now in his level of annoyance with the GB management, as they blatantly broke his trust the day after he spoke of it.

This is less about Jake as a player and less about the cutting itself, but more about what it meant for them to immediately remove him off the roster less than 24 hours after Rodgers said that he trusted him. This was brought up by Trey Wingo, Pro Football Talk, and many other sources as a point of contention between Rodgers and the Packers front office.

Drafting of Jordan Love in 2020

This is probably the most well-known reason by fans as to why Rodgers wants out, and logically it makes sense. The Packers not only drafted what could be viewed as a replacement QB for Aaron but traded up to do so as well when they could have taken anything else. This is similar to the situation of them drafting Aaron while they still had Brett Favre, who then left Green Bay soon after.

The Packers WR situation outside Davante Adams is relatively mediocre at best. Getting one of the WRs left on the board at that point (i.e. Tee Higgins, Denzel Mims, Michael Pittman Jr., Chase Claypool, Laviska Shenault, etc.) would have hugely helped Rodgers in his capabilities to throw the ball. Instead, they chose to draft his position, specifically in the first round as well.

General Manager Preferences

One more issue that has been becoming more prominent as of late is the Packers choice of general manager. The Packers signed Brian Gutekunst in 2018 to be their general manager, who as of right about now Aaron Rodgers despises for the prior two reasons. There have even been reports (from Charles Robinson, Bleacher Report, and Pro Football Talk) that Rodgers wants Brian fired, and may not remain with the team if he is not fired.

On another note, reports from Bob McGinn of The Athletic even said that Rodgers mocked Gutekunst in a group text with teammates, jokingly referring to him as “Jerry Krause”. For those who do not know, this is the former manager of the Chicago Bulls who ended up killing the Bulls dynasty by getting on Michael Jordan’s bad side. If this is true to reports, that likely is not a good sign at all for this relationship in Green Bay.

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