Green Bay Packers 2022 Season Preview and Win Total Prediction

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Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers against the Los Angeles Rams. Patrick McDermott/Getty Images/AFP.

The Green Bay Packers became the first team in NFL history to win at least 13 games in three consecutive regular seasons. But despite a fourth MVP award for quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have still not returned to the Super Bowl since the 2010 season.

This latest playoff collapse against the San Francisco 49ers at home was predictable in some areas, but the 13-10 final score was a shocking way for Rodgers to go out after leading the Packers to at least 20 points in each of his first 20 playoff starts, an NFL record. Green Bay is the only team to win at least 39 games in a three-year span and not appear in a Super Bowl.

Now the Packers move on with a quarterback playing the final season of his thirties with quite arguably the weakest receiving corps of his career after Davante Adams was traded to Las Vegas. Is it a recipe for even earlier disappointment? Many of the top-rated sportsbooks still have the Packers with an Over/Under of 11 wins in an NFC that is not overly impressive.

The Notable Changes for 2022

As it turned out, 2021 was “The Last Dance” for the pairing of Rodgers and Adams in Green Bay. But while the receiver is being handsomely paid by the Raiders in the AFC, the back-to-back MVP is facing perhaps his most challenging season yet with the Packers.

The last time Rodgers was in this predicament with his receiving corps, it was 2015 and things did not go smoothly.

Losing Davante Adams

The wide receiver movement in the league this offseason has been fascinating, and some teams are taking a huge risk in trading their No. 1 receiver without having a clear replacement. The Kansas City Chiefs did it with Tyreek Hill, a rare speedster with a long history of clutch plays, and just as big as Green Bay sending Davante Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Adams came a long way developing into one of the best in the game, and his importance to Rodgers’s MVP resurgence the last two years cannot be overlooked.

In 2020, Adams had 684 more yards than the next closest Green Bay receiver. The gap got even wider in 2021 when Adams had 1,040 more yards than Allen Lazard, who will now feel the pressure to produce at a much higher level in his fifth season.

Adams was also a favorite target in the red zone, especially when the Packers got closer to the end zone. Adams had 20 touchdown catches inside the 10-yard line the last two seasons.

New Offensive Coordinator

The Packers have a big hole to fill here, and it will also be part of the challenge for new offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich.

He replaces Nathaniel Hackett, who took the Denver head coaching job after serving as Matt LaFleur’s coordinator for the last three years. But Stenavich has been coaching the offensive line the last three years in Green Bay, so he knows the players and the LaFleur system is still going to be in place.

Life Without Davante Adams

It’s just unusual for Rodgers to not have an established No. 1 wide receiver after years of playing with Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, and Adams. In 2015, Nelson tore his ACL in a preseason game and missed the entire season. Rodgers still had Randall Cobb, Adams was in his second year, and James Jones ended up leading the team with 890 yards and 8 touchdowns.

But despite a 6-0 start and great numbers from Rodgers, things fell apart after an ugly loss to a great Denver defense. Rodgers had a very challenging season as it was the only time in his career he was under 7.0 yards per attempt as a starter.

In playing for LaFleur, Adams has missed seven games since 2019. In those seven games, Rodgers completed 68.6% of his passes, averaged 293 passing yards, threw 19 touchdowns with one interception, and averaged 8.57 yards per attempt.

The Packers were also 7-0 in those games and averaged 31.6 points per game. Those are extremely encouraging numbers, but now we have to see how things go for a full season.

Davante Adams’s Replacements

Randall Cobb is still there for his second Green Bay stint, but that 2014 season remains his only 1,000-yard season. He’s a familiar target for Rodgers, and the return of a healthy Robert Tonyan at tight end should also help. But there have to be some new faces to make up for the losses of Adams and big-play threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who went to Kansas City.

The Packers signed veteran Sammy Watkins, who will be playing for his fifth team at age 29. Watkins has not played a full 16-game season since his 2014 rookie year, so health is always the main concern with him. He could give the Packers a few stellar games, but he has not played in six consecutive games without injury since 2019 ended.

Allen Lazard may have the best combination of experience, talent, and trust with Rodgers to shine for the Packers in 2022. He had a career-high 146 yards against the 2020 Saints in one of the games Adams missed.

If Lazard does not pan out as something greater than he’s been this year, then perhaps it’s the rookie class that will have to deliver for this passing game as it looks to use a committee approach to make up for Adams’s dominant numbers.

The 2022 Draft Haul

No First-Round Wide Receivers

In the 2022 NFL Draft, the Packers used three selections ranging from the 22nd to 34th pick, but they once again waited until that second round to choose a skilled player for Rodgers.

That means the 2002 draft is still the last time the Packers used a first-round pick on a wide receiver, tight end, or running back when they took wideout Javon Walker. Every other NFL team has used a first-round pick on a skilled player as recently as 2012.

Fresh Defense

The draft being considered a deep one for wide receivers likely made it easier for the Packers to wait on that pick while they scooped up two defenders from Georgia’s incredible, championship-winning defense in the first round.

The only downside is that interior defenders in their rookie years are unlikely to be huge contributors to the team in 2022, and this team is absolutely in win-now mode with Rodgers’s age.

But linebacker Quay Walker could start Week 1 and defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt can compete with free agent Jarran Reed, who is coming off a one-year stint with the Chiefs.

The New Wideout

There was a run of six wide receivers taken in the range of picks No. 8 through No. 18, but the Packers made North Dakota State’s Christian Watson the seventh wideout off the board with the 34th pick.

The Packers drafted his father Tim, a safety, in 1993. Watson did not have huge numbers in college, but he was a big-play threat with 20.4 yards per catch. He also ran a 4.31 second 40-yard dash at the combine.

This does not make Watson the Davante Adams replacement by any means, but he could be an upgraded version of Valdes-Scantling for Rodgers and the offense.

Special Teams Changes

In the least surprising move ever, the Packers found a new special teams coordinator in Rich Bisaccia, who was the interim coach for the Raiders in their playoff appearance last year.

Anything would be an improvement over what the Packers got from that unit last season.

While the Packers are looking to stick with 37-year-old veteran kicker Mason Crosby, they got a new punter in Pat O’Donnell from the Bears.

Defense Changes

As for the defense, Green Bay’s strategy of returning nearly the entire 2020 unit did not quite work out last year for new coordinator Joe Barry. However, that unit only allowed 2 field goals in the playoff loss.

The defense also only got four games in the regular season out of standout corner Jaire Alexander due to injury, and he played just eight snaps in the playoff game as he tried to come back in the nick of time. A healthy 2022 for Alexander will be good news for the defense.

Outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith was another starter who was lost in Week 1, tried to come back in the playoffs, and he even notched a sack in that game. But he is off to the Vikings after he made the Pro Bowl in 2019 and 2020 for Green Bay.

The Packers should be fine there with Rashan Gary and Preston Smith leading the team in sacks last year as the edge rushers.

2022 Packers Prediction

The loss of Adams is troublesome enough to feel confident that Green Bay will not win 13 games for the fourth year in a row, which would double the previous record. But with the help of a 17th game, the Packers can become the sixth team to win at least 12 games in four consecutive seasons.

  • The Chiefs with Patrick Mahomes are currently riding a four-year streak of 12 wins.
  • The Dallas Cowboys did it during their dynasty run in 1992-95.
  • The Broncos did it in 2012-15 with Peyton Manning, who also led his Colts to at least 12 wins in seven consecutive seasons in 2003-09.
  • Tom Brady’s Patriots hold the record with an eight-year streak from 2010-17.

So, it can be done with an all-time great quarterback play, and the Packers do have one of those players still at their disposal even if his days look numbered.

Looking at the Schedule

The Packers’ schedule could make it very tight with Green Bay being one of the teams most likely to push on their Over/Under of 11 wins. The bye is not until Week 14, but the Packers have three of their last four at Lambeau, including a game with a Rams team they have played well against.

The NFC North still does not look like a daunting task, but Minnesota should get at least a split, and trips to Tampa Bay and Buffalo likely won’t be kind to the Packers. The Patriots are never fun to play, and Rodgers has a history of difficult trips to Florida with a game in Miami scheduled for Christmas afternoon.

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However, LaFleur has been outstanding at getting this team to win games in his career, and 12-5 still looks more than doable with a push at 11-6 comforting. I would take the Over 11 wins on the Packers for your NFL picks. But maybe being an underdog could help the Packers out.

The last eight times the Packers have won 12 games in a season, they failed to reach the Super Bowl. No other franchise in NFL history has a longer such streak than six seasons.

2022 Packers Wins: Over 11 Wins (-125) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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On the Last Season of “The Packers”: Special Teams End Chance for Special Season

The Packers entered 2021 with high expectations after losing the NFC Championship Game at home to Tampa Bay. There was also high anxiety after rumors floated about Rodgers going to Denver in a trade, and the meaning behind Rodgers and Adams both posting “The Last Dance” memes in the offseason.

But both were there for Week 1, and things could not have gotten off to a worse start. The Packers lost 38-3 to the Saints in a game played in Jacksonville in the first 35-point loss of Rodgers’s career. But instead of the sky falling and Rodgers succumbing to Father Time, the Packers brushed it off as another bad trip to Florida.

Green Bay rebounded immediately and won the next seven games, including a thriller over the 49ers, an overtime battle with the Bengals, and it handed 7-0 Arizona its first loss of 2021. But while the long-haired Rodgers celebrated Halloween in his John Wick costume, the headline some people were expecting came to life.

Rodgers Gets COVID

The sideshow to Green Bay’s 2021 season was some of the comments Rodgers would make to the media or on his weekly podcast appearances. One of the most contested moments came in the preseason when Rodgers played coy about his COVID-19 vaccination status. He said he was “immunized” but that did not necessarily mean he was vaccinated.

As it turned out, Rodgers did not have a COVID vaccination, so when he tested positive for the virus, he had to miss the big game with Kansas City in Week 9. Once again, NFL fans were robbed of a Rodgers vs. Patrick Mahomes matchup.

Backup quarterback Jordan Love made his first Green Bay start and it did not go well at all. He managed just one late touchdown drive while the defense held Mahomes to 13 points as the Chiefs were not at their best at that point. The 13-7 loss probably would have been a win with Rodgers, but by rule, he could not play without a vaccine.

Soon after Rodgers’s return, there were reports of a toe injury with some speculating that he had “COVID toes” because of his infection with the virus. But contending it was a normal injury, Rodgers still played very well in a game against Minnesota. The defense just had no answers for the Vikings, and the Packers lost 34-31.

Best Team in the NFC?

Much like after the Week 1 fiasco against the Saints, the Packers quickly moved on from just the second loss of the season with Rodgers at quarterback. The Packers won their next five games, including a win over the Rams, with Rodgers heating up at the right time. He threw 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions in those five games with a 118.9 passer rating.

With the Packers at 13-3 and in control of the No. 1 seed, Green Bay was able to rest starters during the Week 18 finale with Detroit, a 37-30 loss. Rodgers finished the season with 37 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, only throwing two picks after that Week 1 start.

While it was not as stellar as his 2020 season, Rodgers was once again named MVP and first-team All-Pro at quarterback. He could go into the playoffs with a huge chip on his shoulder after some fans soured on the veteran during the season. Rodgers was living his best 1997 Shawn Michaels life, but a hard dose of reality was about to come.

The Playoff Run

While the Packers were the No. 1 seed in the NFC and Rodgers was the back-to-back MVP, a good analyst could have told you this team was a high risk for the postseason.

The defense finished 21st in both yards and points per drive allowed, which is almost never a good sign for playoff success. The special teams were also the worst in the league and could down the Packers in any close game.

The Playoff Flop

San Francisco was not the ideal first opponent for Green Bay in the divisional round, and the poor weather (cold and snow) favors a physical, run-based team like the 49ers. But after the Packers marched down the field for a touchdown to start the game, the offense went cold, only producing a field goal the rest of the way. Mason Crosby had a 39-yard field goal blocked before halftime, which proved critical.

A 10-3 lead into the fourth quarter may have been enough for Green Bay to hang on for a win, but that special teams’ unit cemented its legacy as one of the worst in NFL history. With just under five minutes to play, the Packers were punting before the punt was blocked and returned for a game-tying touchdown.

The Packers went three-and-out, and the 49ers were able to drive for a game-winning field goal on the final snap for a 13-10 win to shock the NFL landscape.

With the loss, Rodgers became the first quarterback in NFL history to lose four playoff games to one franchise (49ers). Prior to the defeat, Rodgers was 41-0 in starts he finished where the Packers allowed fewer than 14 points.

A 2011 Throwback

It was the first time since losing to the 2011 Giants that the Packers were not swept out of the playoffs by a team that beat them in the regular season too.

But something the 2011 Giants and 2021 49ers had in common was that they played the Packers very tough in that first game, only to lose to a field goal drive engineered by Rodgers in the final minute.

Rodgers returns for another season, but we are over a decade into a franchise of Groundhog Day sequels for this team in the playoffs. It never ends well.