The Green Bay Packers were considered Super Bowl contenders heading into the 2012 season but their defense and offensive line completely let them down. Have they done enough to address those areas and become a serious factor on the NFL betting lines again?
Best Offseason Move:
The Packers’ selection of running back Eddie Lacy in the second round of the draft (pick No. 61 overall) was their best move during the draft. (The team made very few proactive moves in free agency.) Lacy is a powerful, bruising runner who should be quite valuable in short-yardage situations. Moreover, Lacy’s physical heft should enable him to be a decent pass blocker for quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It is paramount that Green Bay takes some heat off Rodgers, given that the gunslinger from the University of California is the team’s best player and the icon of the franchise. The biggest reason to protect Rodgers, though, is that he absorbed 51 sacks last season, an average of over three per game. That’s simply unacceptable for the Packers – giving Rodgers more blocking and a better, more reliable running attack were paramount needs, and the Lacy pick could very well fill both gaps at the same time. This could be the team’s “two birds with one stone” draft selection in 2013. Lacy is a proven winner, coming off a national championship at the University of Alabama. He knows how to deal with pressure and elevate his game in moments when the spotlight is the brightest. In light of all the goals the Packers needed to achieve in their attempt to revamp their roster, choosing Lacy was about as good a move as Green Bay realistically could have made.
Worst Offseason Move:
The Packers obviously think Lacy can be a blocker for Rodgers, but in light of the fact that Green Bay’s offensive line allowed 51 sacks last season, the team needed to go after quality offensive linemen with at least one of its first two picks in the draft. Green Bay had the No. 26 pick and the No. 61 pick in the draft, and the team’s next pick after that was in the fourth round, at 109. The Packers needed to go after an offensive lineman at 26, but they instead went with defensive end Datone Jones. It’s true that Green Bay needs help on defense, but here’s the point to realize about taking one defensive player in the first 110 selections of the draft: One player is not going to transform a defense. The kinds of changes Green Bay needs to make on defense are scheme-based and rather wholesale in nature. By selecting a big-time offensive lineman, Green Bay really could have set its whole offense in place. Instead, the Packers picked offensive linemen at 109 and also at 122 in the draft. Green Bay probably won’t have the quality up front it needs to give Rodgers a maximum degree of help.
How They’ll Finish In The Division:
The Packers are clearly the best team in the NFC North and you won’t get much of an argument from people around the NFL. However, football betting fans know that the lack of a proven offensive line will probably be enough to limit this team to 11 wins, which will likely mean no first-round bye in the playoffs.
Super Bowl Odds: +600