The Green Bay Packers have won 13 games in each of the last three seasons. However, in each of those seasons they have flamed out in the playoffs before reaching the Super Bowl: In both 2019 and 2020, losing in the NFC championship game. Last year, they failed to secure even one postseason win, losing in the divisional round to the San Francisco 49ers, which led to Jimmy Garoppolo’s infamous expression of excitement following the win. Logically, even with a normal offseason, one would question whether a fourth consecutive 13-win season is feasible.
Although, as you are probably aware, this was anything but a typical offseason with the departure of All-Pro Wide Receiver Davante Adams. With Adams leaving, we are left to wonder not only if the Packers will reach 13 wins, but also if they have added the necessary pieces to advance deeper into the playoffs. What should we expect from the Packers in 2022? Let’s break it down.
This is simple, if Aaron Rodgers stays healthy, the packers have nothing to worry about. Jordan Love is still the second string. He hasn’t been particularly inspiring in preseason play. Behind Love is Danny Etling.
The Packers return both of their impact rushers from 2021: Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. It’s possible that both of them take on a larger role in the passing game with the absence of a star receiver. When asked about their role in the air attack this year, Aaron Rodgers said “I think 50 for both those guys is realistic,” meaning that he believes both backs can catch 50 passes this year.
The receiver position had the most turnover from last year by far. In addition to trading away Adams, the packers also lost Marquez Valdes-Scantling to free agency. Speculation is that Allen Lazard will be the number one guy. They also picked up free agent Sammy Watkins in the offseason. QB Aaron Rodgers recently said that he currently believes Lazard, Watkins, and veteran Randall Cobb are the top three receivers. In no particular order, here are the receivers expected to get significant playing time this season: Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers, and rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. This is undoubtedly the biggest question on the offensive side of the ball.
The Packers should get back Robert Tonyan from injury this season, and also return Marcedes Lewis and Josiah Degura. Expect the Tight End position be utilized more as well due to the receiver situation.
The Packers return starters Jon Runyan, Royce Newman, and should get Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari back from injury. They lost starters Billy Turner and Lucas Patrick. Also expected to get playing time are Jake Hansen, Josh Myers, and Yosuah Nijman. The key here will be staying healthy.
Returning are starters Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Preston Smith, De’Vondre Campbell, and Rashan Gary. Jarran Reed was added in free agency and Quay Walker was drafted to mitigate the losses of Krys Barnes, Kingsley Keke, and Za’Darius Smith. This remains a strong and young group on the defensive front. Time will tell if the newcomers can live up to the rest of the group.
The Packers return one of the best Cornerbacks in the NFL in Jaire Alexander after missing most of last season. Also returning are solid starters Eric Stokes and Rasual Douglas. The Packers let Kevin King walk after struggling in 2021. Both starting safeties Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage Jr. are returning in 2022. When this group is healthy, it is one of the better Defensive secondaries in football.
The Packers return longtime kicker Mason Crosby and add former Bears Punter Pat O’Donnell.
How will the Packers Fare in 2022?
Overall the Packers did a pretty good job of retaining their most impactful players from last season…except for the Wide Receivers. Not only did they trade away the best Receiver in the football in Devante Adams, but they let arguably their next best option walk in free agency. Rodgers has always been known for elevating the players around him, but this season will likely be his biggest challenge yet when it comes to lack of star power at the Receiver position.
All that being said, all hope is not lost. It is still to be seen how the other Receivers step up with more opportunity on the table than ever before. Additionally, the Packers have just the 22nd most difficult schedule in the league in terms of opponent win percentage from last year. On their 2022 schedule, they only play 6 teams that made the playoffs in 2021. Even if they lose all of those games, and go 11-6, they would likely secure a playoff berth. I think that it is safe to expect a fourth consecutive playoff appearance for the Packers. Whether or not they make any noise when they get there will be determined on the development and growth of their returning players.