The regular season is two weeks away! After wrapping up preseason games, the Packers now turn their focus towards their matchup with the Vikings in week 1. Not many starters suited up in the preseason. Aaron Rodgers didn’t play. Neither Aaron Jones or AJ Dillon suited up. The top three receivers plus Christian Watson never saw the field. While this was to not risk injury, the question is will the offense be game ready by week 1. Last year, the Packers came out flat. Can the Packers avoid a week 1 letdown this year?
Week 1 of the 2021 Season
This feels so long ago and with how the season turned out, Packers fans forget this game happened. An embarrassing 38-3 loss to the Saints was not the way to start the season. Everyone looked bad but the offense looked particularly bad. Rodgers threw 2 interceptions which is uncharacteristic for him. The running game was non existent though being down early meant turning to the passing game. The defense was put in tough positions and couldn’t get any big stops. Overall it was a huge Packers week 1 letdown. The hope is that this does not happen this season.
What’s The Same
What worries me is how similar the preseason has felt in terms of starters playing. I get it. The last thing you want is one of your star players getting injured in game that doesn’t matter. However, game reps are different than practice reps. Even veterans sometimes need some time to get back into the rhythm of the game. Last year, week 1 of the regular season looked like the Packers needed a game to get back into a rhythm. The Saints are one thing. Losing to the Vikings week 1 puts the team a step behind in the division plus we have to hear insufferable Vikings fans blab about how Rodgers stinks without Davante Adams and how they are going to take the division. The similarities between this year and last year are pause for concern. It seems like a Packers week 1 letdown could be in store again.
The huge difference is the lack of drama this offseason. Yes this offseason has had storylines but nothing compared to last season. The Aaron Rodgers saga was a dark cloud that hung over the Packers team for the whole summer and spilled over into the season. While players will tell you they could ignore it, it is unlikely that it didn’t affect something in the preparation for the season. Rodgers has been very complementary of the team this year and training camp has had a lot of positives come out of it. Also, with last year’s week 1 dud, you better bet LaFleur and his staff are doing a better job preparing for week 1.
I expect the Packers to do better than last year in week 1. However, it is important to remember that even with the week 1 dud, the Packers still went 13-3 and got the number 1 seed in the NFC. The hope is that the Packers can avoid a week 1 letdown and start the 2022 season off right.