The Green Bay Packers made a shocking move on Day 1 of the 2020 NFL draft. Coming off of a 2019 season that saw them go 13-3, win the division and play in the NFC Championship game, they signaled that the time to rebuild is near. Green Bay drafted Utah State quarterback Jordan Love 26th overall.
That leaves Green Bay, and longtime quarterback Aaron Rodgers, in a position that is hard to believe. Rodgers could be playing for his job. Whenever he has a rough week, the calls to replace him with the rookie will begin.
But the scariest version of Rodgers may be a motivated Rodgers. One of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, maybe the greatest of all time, may be on his way out, and it is hard to imagine that he goes away quietly.
The NFL season is almost upon us! Over the next few weeks I will be previewing each of the 32 NFL teams, and ranking them 1-32 as to how likely I believe they are to win Super Bowl LV. This week we finish the list with teams that have a real chance to win the Super Bowl.
15. Green Bay Packers
Rodgers has clearly been on the decline in recent seasons. He has become one of the more risk-averse quarterbacks in the league, throwing more passes away than anyone else. While the interceptions have largely disappeared, so have many of the big, spectacular plays you are used to seeing from the future Hall of Famer.
Health has been a concern for the Packers quarterback as well. While he has played all 32 games over the past two years after missing nine games in 2017, he was clearly hobbled for long swaths during that time.
Part of Rodgers’ struggles have also been due to the poor talent around him. Outside of Davante Adams—one of the best wide receivers in the league—there are not many receivers for Rodgers to work with. Free agent signing Devin Funchess opted out of the year, leaving Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling—two subpar options—as WR2 and WR3.
Green Bay should feature one of the stronger running back rooms in the league this season, though. Aaron Jones was an 1,000-yard rusher last year, and led the NFL with 16 rushing touchdowns. Rookie AJ Dillon—who was selected in the second round of the draft—has a great mix of size and speed that makes him nearly impossible to stop once he gets downhill. Add in Jamaal Williams, who had over 700 yards from scrimmage last year, and you have a formidable trio.
Rodgers has a knack for maximizing the talent around him, though, and with his career potentially on the line in 2020, he may shed some of the passivity that has plagued him. If he can lead an elite passing game and the running backs can get going as the year goes on, Green Bay could sneakily have an elite offense heading into this season.
Just like the offense, the defense has elite potential but still has a few reasons to make you skeptical. The Packers lost their top linebacker in Blake Martinez this offseason, alongside partner Kyler Fackrell, to the New York Giants. Martinez will be replaced by Christian Kirksey, a great linebacker who has struggled with injuries over the years.
Their interior defensive line and pass rushers are where the stars truly reside on this defense. Preston and Za’Darius Smith are one of the best pass rushing duos in the league, with Za’Darius being a Defensive Player of the Year candidate for 2020. Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry feature on the interior.
The secondary has some major problems, though. While Jaire Alexander is one of the league's best corners, there is not much talent around him (Lions fans may be familiar with this situation). Adrian Amos, the 2018 free agent signing, has proven to be a great addition, though youngsters Kevin King and Darnell Savage have struggled thus far in their short careers.
Green Bay could be great this year if everything works out. Even if it does not, they should still at least be okay. Just Rodgers and the talent in the front-7 alone should be able to win get them around .500, but if Rodgers ascends to a different level then they could prove to be a sneaky Super Bowl bet.