Packers Season Preview – 2023 Week 0

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By BruceIrons

Packers Season Preview – 2023 Week 0

It’s Week 0 of the 2023 NFL season for the Packers! In lieu of a gameday preview, here’s a full season preview to get you ready for the season!

The last time the Packers started a season, they were coming off a third straight 13-win season and expected to easily win the division again.

In case you missed it, that’s not how it panned out. Injuries and underperformance across the board led to a disappointing season that no one saw coming. 

Football is unpredictable, which means that, no matter how many pundits predict a disastrous season for the Packers, they are more than capable of taking a wide-open NFC North, even in a year of transition.



Jordan Love.

Jordan Love.

Jordan Love.

The narrative the whole season will be centered on Jordan Love. The most important part of the season – maybe even the only thing that truly matters for the franchise – is if Jordan Love looks like a long-term starter.

Yes, he has grown every year and yes, he has shown flashes of great play while also showing the ability to limit mistakes, but don’t fool yourself: this is a first year starter and there will be growing pains. Aaron Rodgers had them, Brett Favre had them, and Jordan Love will have them this year.

While it’s easy to focus on some of his great passes (the sideline route to Doubs, the back shoulder touchdown to Watson, the quick reads and darts over the middle), let’s not forget how badly he missed Luke Musgrave on a wide open drag route, or how he led Christian Watson just a little inside when he should have dropped the ball to the outside.

Those mistakes, be they by yards or inches, will be magnified when he’s plays 60 minutes against first team defenses that are making game plans specifically designed to attack him and his play style.

Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to see Jordan Love take over (I was one of the first people to say it was time to move on to Love) and I think he can be a long time starter, but no matter what his future holds, I expect a lot of clunking around this year.

This isn’t just on Love though, he’ll be working with a very green and unfamiliar cast of pass catchers. The 9 wide receivers and tight ends on the team (I consider Deguara a fullback) have a combined 3 years of NFL experience – second year receiver Christian Watson is the longest tenured wide receiver or tight end on the team. They will not kick off the season with a Rodgers-to-Jordy like chemistry. 

Still, I think there is cause for excitement in the passing game. Christian Watson is a big play machine and Romeo Doubs is an emerging WR1… but they both need to stay healthy. On top of that, I think Jayden Reed and Luke Musgrave are going to be instant contributors. Reed looks like a natural in the slot and Musgrave seems like the rare tight ends who can make an impact as a rookie – he should be a beast down the seam.

The passing game will be helped a lot by the offense line, who looked great in the preseason, racking up the top pass blocking grade in the league from PFF, despite playing without David Bakhtiari.

The team also looked good in run blocking, and the run game figures to be a bigger part of the offense than it has in recent years.

Sure, they’ve had a great running back tandem for years, and underused it pretty much every single game, but the year looks different. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon are a top pairing, just like last year, but they aren’t playing with a quarterback who is as pass happy as Jordan Love’s predecessor. Love has said repeatedly that he wants to simply run the offense. That should mean running more.

With talent up and down the lineup, and a largely unknown cast of key players, the Packers may be able to catch teams by surprise, especially early in the year. But misdirection will be a part of the offense all year long. The Packers look primed to use a lot of tight end and full back sets, giving them the flexibility to run or pass from many different looks. And if the preseason is any indication, they plan on passing to their backs a lot and working intermediate routes in the middle of the field more than they have in previous years.

This type of offense isn’t without risk, and we can safely assume that the offense will turn the ball over more than they have in recent years, but this looks like a young, athletic group, brimming with potential, that should be a lot of fun to watch grow.

Look for the Packers to spread the ball around with creative concepts they haven’t used before. I expect we’ll see a faster pace that will lead to communications miscues, mental errors, and turnovers, but also a lot of really exciting plays.



There’s a lot of focus on the youth on offense, but the Packers defense isn’t much older. Aside from a handful of veterans, this unit is also full of young guys without a single one looking past their prime.

Starting up front, Kenny Clark looks like he has the most help he’s ever had with an ascending Devonte Wyatt ready to take on a larger role and a developing TJ Slaton becoming a solid every down player in his own right.

Behind them, De’Vondre Campbell and Quay Walker are maybe the best pair of inside linebackers the Packers have ever had.

In the defensive backfield, the Packers are loaded at corner. Jaire Alexander is still in the conversation for best cornerback in the league. Rasul Douglas has been a solid starter, and Carrington Valentine looks like a revelation as a rookie surprise. Keisean Nixon may still play a big role, while Eric Stokes’s injury looms over his long-term future. There’s some question marks, for sure, but the cornerback position is deeper in Green Bay than most places.

Safety is another story.

Darnell Savage has looked like the second coming of Nick Collins at some times, and the second coming of Kentrell Brice at others. And he’s the bright spot. The rest of the group (Rudy Ford, Jonathan Owens, Anthony Johnson, Zayne Anderson, and Dallin Leavitt) are a jumble of core special teamers and unknown first year players. It’s hard to tell which of these guys should be starting, or even if any of them are starter quality.

For all the strength the Packers have at cornerback, the question marks at safety could undo the defensive backfield.

The bright spot to that is the safeties may not have to cover they’ll get a lot of chances to make plays because the Packers edge group looks loaded. With Rashan Gary primed to return early in the year to join incumbent Preston Smith, along with rookies Lukas Van Ness and Brenton Cox (who took such different paths to the team that it’s funny) and second year man Kingsley Enagbare, who, even if he doesn’t improve on his rookie campaign, will still be a great rotational rusher. This unit can really be the foundation of a top defense.

If Gary and Stokes can return to form, the Packers will have unrivaled depth and the two most important positions on defense. Even with the weakness at safety, if the Packers pass rush can get home, their corners can hold down coverage, and the the line and inside linebackers are good enough to slow any run game down.

There is a ton of talent on this side of the ball… but coaching may determine how they perform.

Yes, I know we all hate Joe Barry, but he tested out some promising wrinkles in the preseason with the defensive line. There were more stunts and switches than we’ve seen in the past, where he usually just charges linemen straightforward. It might not be enough to turn this unit into the best in the league, but it’s enough to make me optimistic in Week 0, so let me have this.

We’ll know soon enough if Barry is putting things together in Green Bay.

He certainly has the players. 



Injuries always play a big role in how a team’s season goes. This year, the Packers have a head start. Rashan Gary, Eric Stokes, David Bakhtiari, Romeo Doubs, and De’Vondre Campbell are all banged up and missed time this offseason. How quickly they can come back, and how healthy they can stay, will go a long way in determining the outcome of the season.

Special teams are a big question mark, and not just because they have new guys at kicker and punter. In releasing guys like Shemar Jean-Charles and Corey Ballentine, the Packers may not have disrupted the starting defense, but they did take away some guys with core special teams experience. This could also be a sign that the Packers are willing to play more starters on special teams.

Keisean Nixon is certainly the headliner of the special teams unit, though, regardless of who else plays on it. He could take over Desmond Howard’s place as the Packers all time best returner. It’s worth noting, however, that if he plays a bigger role on defense, it could impact his effectiveness in the return game. Last year, without playing much defense, he was usually completely fresh for his return opportunities. A larger role on defense could diminish his effectiveness as a return. Even if it slows him down a step, he’s still one of the best returners in the game.



I’m so excited for this team.

With Jordan Love showing poise, decisiveness, and command of the offense in the preseason, the sky is the limit. His development, along with a ton of other young starters, will determine the fate of the team this year. If it all falls into place, they could do anything…

But things don’t usually all fall into place.

We’re gonna see a LOT of rookie mistakes. Almost half the roster hasn’t been in the league more than a year. The quarterback, receivers, and tight ends are all still wet behind the ears. I expect a lot of excitement and a lot of bumps.

Same thing on defense, where injuries carried over from last year and gonna hurt early on.

Still, this team has a ton of talent, a great attitude, and a relatively easy schedule.

I’m looking for entertainment and signs of growth this year. If the last two draft classes can show growth for the future, the Packers could open up a new Super Bowl window.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Let’s enjoy a young, loose team finding out what it can really do.

I expect the team to challenge for the division title and maybe sneak into a wild card spot if they can get a hot start with the weak part of their schedule. If they can galvanize around midseason and stand up to some tough, things could get really interesting.

Even if they don’t, this should be a fun year without the pressure of unrealistic expectations for the first time in a long time.

10 wins is probably the ceiling for this group, but that’s a lot better than last year.

The basement really could be #1 pick territory if Jordan Love somehow flames out. But that doesn’t seem likely given how he looked in the preseason.

Final prediction:

Packers go 9-8 and miss the wild card on a tie breaker, but give us a lot to look forward to.

Buckle up, and check back here first thing in the morning every gameday throught the season!

Bruce Irons has played, coached, and studied football for decades. Best-selling author of books such as A Fan’s Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft, A Fan’s Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap, and A Fan’s Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits And Misses, Bruce contributes to CheeseHeadTV and

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