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More or less than 10 Ws in 2014? Here are 10 reasons Rodgers & Co. get at least that many this season
By CHRIS HAVEL
How many games will Green Bay win in 2014? According to RJ Bell at pregame.com, the Packers’ over/under for total wins is 10, which would be enough to claim the NFC North title.
Denver and Seattle have the highest projected win totals at 11, with New England and San Francisco at 10 ½, followed by the Packers at 10. The Chicago Bears (8 ½), Detroit Lions (8) and Minnesota Vikings (6 ½) round out the division.
With the NFL draft completed, free agency petering out and the undrafted free agents signed, the Packers’ 2014 roster essentially is established. Is it good enough to win the NFC North and make a deep playoff run?
There is reason for optimism.
Here are 10:
The NFC North is a much-improved division going into this season. On one hand that suggests the Packers may be in trouble against upgraded outfits in Chicago and Detroit. On the other hand nobody is saying the Packers are a team in decline. On the contrary, any discourse regarding a surging NFC North begins with the defending champions.
The NFC North appears to be better. So do the Packers.
The Packers’ schedule begins with a bang Sept. 4 at Seattle. While beating the Seahawks and the 12th Man in the Pacific Northwest is an incredible challenge the season opener offers the greatest opportunity for an upset.
The Seahawks will be coming off an entire offseason where accolades and fat contract extensions were thrown their way. Getting the Seahawks’ defense to play at a Super Bowl level is impossible in the opener. Furthermore, each team should come into the game healthy.
Green Bay’s best is good enough to beat anything even slightly less form the fat and sassy Seahawks.
The offensive line enters the season with talent, depth and only a battle at center to be determined. Whether J.C. Tretter or Corey Linsley wins the starting job, either will be an upgrade over the limited Evan Dietrich-Smith.
Khyri Thornton, the rookie defensive tackle who played at Southern Miss, moves much faster and smoother than most 300-pound men. The addition of Thornton inside and Julius Peppers outside along with the healthy return of Jerel Worthy gives reason to believe the Packers’ defensive line is going to be light years ahead of last year’s.
The signing of Peppers signaled to some that the Packers’ personnel department and coaches were serious about winning now. It also suggested that GM Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy truly believe this team is close to championship caliber.
Thus far, the Packers’ offseason (knock on wood) has gone without incident. Free agency brought Peppers. The draft upgraded the roster on both sides of the football. And off the field, the Packers have managed to stay out of the headlines.
The hiring of Ron Zook as special teams assistant coordinator should be a boost to the units. Zook’s knowledge and new perspective should be an asset to special teams’ coordinator Shawn Slocum.
The running game is for real. Eddie Lacy gives the Packers one of the most explosive ground games in the NFC. He and James Starks form a powerful 1-2 punch that should give quarterback Aaron Rodgers the opportunity for play action and big plays.
Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the game today. Everything appears to be lining up for a sensational season for No. 12. He has the arm, the experience and the weapons to do major damage to defenses in Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit.
Nobody talks much about the coach, but all McCarthy does is win games and qualify for the postseason. That shouldn’t change in 2014. I see at least 10 wins, and pregame.com’s RJ Bell confirmed it. According to RJ Bell at pregame.com, the Packers’ over/under for total wins is 10, which would be enough to claim the NFC North title.