The Green Bay Packers may have pulled off one of the great stunts of 2013, surviving the loss of Aaron Rodger to somehow win the NFC North. It didn’t do them much good, they eventually were knocked out of the playoffs early, but it did show that this offense is packed with weapons and capable of performing at a very high level even without Rodgers. Of course, when Rodgers is in there, it’s at an entirely new level.
The 2014 Packers schedule is another challenge and this time Green Bay is in better shape. Aaron Rodgers is healthy and his arsenal now includes second year running back Eddie Lacy, a guy who tore things up in his rookie season and should be even better in 2014. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb make a very effective set of receivers and Jarret Boykins is poised to become a game breaker.
Which all means the Green Bay Packers will run through the schedule scoring plenty of points. But can the Packers defense, a notably weak unit in 2013, come up with enough stops to elevate the Packers into a Super Bowl contending team? Well, they’re trying. Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers now has Julius Peppers, who will be used in a variety of ways, both hands down on the line and standing up as a roving linebacker. With Peppers and Clay Mathews behind the line, Green Bay should improve on a less than effective run defense. On the passing defense, Green Bay added “Ha Ha” Clinton Dix, a guy who can cover plenty of space while bringing the hammer on tackles.
The Packers schedule within the division carries some obstacles. The Chicago Bears are considerable improved under Marc Trestman. The Detroit Lions, always talented, are now under a stable coaching staff. With a schedule that includes Seattle, New Orleans, Philadelphia, New England, and Atlanta, the Packers defense is going to have to step up in 2014.