The possibilities for the Packers to make the 2023-24 playoffs is unlikely, but not impossible. For the first time since 2008, the Green Bay Packers have started an NFL season without stalwart quarterback Aaron Rodgers. As the franchise did with Brett Favre, Rodgers’ legendary predecessor, the Packers traded their long-time starting quarterback to the New York Jets before the season started.
Then, with the trade deadline approaching, Packers’ General Manager Brian Gutekunst traded starting cornerback Rasul Douglas to the Buffalo Bills. The trade of the 29-year-old Super Bowl winner apparently shocked his ex-teammates while leaving a gaping hole in the Green Bay roster.
What do these player losses mean for Green Bay in 2023? Can the youngest Packers roster in many seasons improve and make the 2023-24 playoffs this season?
The Green Bay Packers and 2023-24 Playoffs Question Marks
Let’s face it, with Aaron Rodgers controlling plays, the Packers haven’t set the NFL alight over recent seasons. In fact, every Green Bay team going back to 2010 has failed in its pursuit of a coveted Super Bowl triumph. Some pundits predict the franchise may be better off without its stalwart quarterback in control.
Fourth-year quarterback Jordan Love assumes Rodgers’ starting role in 2023 and is enjoying stepping up. With the season nearing it’s mid-point, Love is enthused about his new personal challenge.
“It’s awesome, man. I just try and take it day by day and just focus on what I can do right now. Today. And get better. It’s definitely an awesome feeling and I’m just excited to keep growing with the guys, keep getting better, and attack this season.”
To date, Love has a passer rating of 81.9 in 2023. In eight games he’s thrown a total of 1,720 yards, with 12 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. Early signs are that Love is successfully filling the starting quarterback role. With him dictating plays, there’s been a shift in the Packers’ playing style, but can we determine whether this has improved the Packers’ fortunes?
Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur previously held the position of offensive coordinator in Los Angeles and Tennessee. He arrived in Green Bay to fulfill the same role in 2019. His previous charges both incorporated as much running as throwing in their styles of play, so the Packers building a roster now including a polished duo of running backs is no surprise.
In AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones, Green Bay has an elite running back pair contributing to one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. With LaFleur’s offense better suiting his style than before, we’re witnessing a more ground-based Packers playing style in 2023. Jones believes this will help the team’s performance in inching towards the Lions and grabbing a 2023-24 playoffs spot.
“I don’t know if the running game is going to become our identity or not. I just run the plays they send, but I know we can be really good running the ball. And I know it would help Jordan out if we can be great in that area.”
The Green Bay Packers still have defensive issues. Replacing Rasul Douglas internally means 7th-round rookie Carrington Valentine will have to play a much larger role this season. Douglas mentored the young cornerback, meaning Valentine is now lacking his advice in the locker room. In his three starts this season, Valentine has been inconsistent but is showing promise.
Odds and Playoff Chances
Green Bay has started the 2023 regular season in much the same way as they finished the last. There have been some top-notch performances, including a 38-20 win over the Chicago Bears to open the season. With a younger roster, this will likely be a transitional season for the franchise, as the odds reflect.
After eight games, the Packers lie third in the NFC North, the same position they finished in last time out. Online sportsbooks rightly reflect the inconsistency in Green Bay results. They do offer hope by offering +110 NFC North odds on the Packers making the playoffs. The bookies don’t think much of the Packers’ Super Bowl chances, though, with odds of +15000 on offer.
The Packers roster is a work in progress. This season will show whether Gutekunst and LaFleur are on the right track. Packer Nation members and other bettors can take advantage of the many available options to bet online to back their favorites in 2023. The Green Bay Packers do have the ability and potential to surprise some more favored teams if they can sneak into the 2023-24 playoffs.