The Green Bay Packers have been perennial underachievers in the NFL since their Super Bowl triumph in the 2010 season. The club has not managed to return to the title game since the franchise’s victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers at AT&T Stadium, despite boasting arguably the best quarterback in the league in Aaron Rodgers.
Mike McCarthy did guide Green Bay to the NFC Championship Game twice in the space of two seasons, only to be defeated by the Seattle Seahawks and the Atlanta Falcons. Two years removed from the team’s last appearance in the Conference Championship, the Packers opted to move on from their long-standing coach in the 2018 campaign.
Green Bay’s last two terms have been well below the standard expected out of the storied franchise, failing to win over eight matches. The health of Rodgers has played a role in the Packers’ decline as he missed the majority of the 2017 season before struggling to find his peak form in 2018. All eyes will be on Rodgers in the upcoming term under new head coach Matt LaFleur.
The Packers will be one of the leading contenders in the free sports picks for Super Bowl LIV due to the quality of Green Bay’s quarterback, although it will take a complete effort from the team and an outstanding performance from their new head coach to galvanize the franchise from its slump.
Priority one for LaFleur will be the displays of Rodgers. The 35-year-old’s statistics were impressive last season, throwing 25 touchdowns to just two interceptions. However, his offense struggled for rhythm at crucial times and was not good enough to carry the team as they were in the past. McCarthy took a lot of the blame for the issues due to his dated system.
LaFleur may be able to conjure life into Rodgers and his receiving corps as he did in 2016 with Matt Ryan. LaFleur was the quarterbacks coach of the Falcons during Ryan’s run to the MVP award. The offense was balanced and allowed Ryan to throw downfield in rhythm with wideouts Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Taylor Gabriel, along with tight end Austin Hooper, firing on all cylinders.
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Green Bay has the potential to produce similar results, boasting a top-end talent in Davante Adams. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown will be aiming to take the next step in their development after decent albeit challenging rookie seasons. Rodgers just needs to be able to find his explosive rhythm once again. At the peak of his powers, he was averaging nearly eight yards per attempt in his two MVP-winning seasons. LaFleur has to unlock the vertical passing game for Rodgers and the Packers to regain their swagger.
The Packers’ once-dominant offense has been surpassed in the NFC Conference by the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints. Matching their explosiveness and productivity on the field could be enough to launch them back on to the path to the Super Bowl. It’s an important season for Rodgers to enhance his credentials for the Hall of Fame and prove that he is one of the most talented and successful quarterbacks of his generation.