Green Bay Packers

What ESPN's Power Football Index Tells Us About Green Bay's Roster

Photo credit: Mark Hoffmann-Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via USA TODAY Sports

The Green Bay Packers enter the 2022 NFL season as the best team in the NFC, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index. By their metric, the Packers are 8.8 points above an average team, only behind AFC’s Buffalo Bills (9.4). Even though there is a growing perception that the AFC is stronger, the NFC is significantly top-heavy. Four of the first six teams in FPI are from the NFC: the Packers, Los Angeles Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Dallas Cowboys.

How they stack up in the NFC

The first takeaway is that the Packers are clear favorites to win the NFC North for the fourth year in a row. They are much higher in FPI than the Minnesota Vikings (3.2), Detroit Lions (-4.3), and especially the Chicago Bears (-13.2).

Even though they have the best team in NFC, they don’t have the highest chance of reaching the Super Bowl. ESPN gives them a 6% chance, just behind the defending champions Los Angeles Rams (7%).

Great unit

According to the FPI, the Packers have the best offense in the NFL, at 7.9. ESPN puts them ahead of offensive juggernauts like the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills, both at 7.6. The Dallas Cowboys have the second-best NFC offense at 6.1, so it’s a significant margin.

Not so great

Meanwhile, the defense doesn’t receive so much love, despite the enormous investments made by Brian Gutekunst. The Packers’ unit is slightly above average, at 0.7, 10th in the NFL and sixth in the NFC. The Rams have the best overall defense, at 2.7.

Position by position

In addition to the Football Power Index, ESPN has also released a post-draft Unit Grades. In this regard, Green Bay has the best-overall roster, ahead of the Bills. The defense also gets much more love in this analysis, being in second place, just behind the New Orleans Saints. The Packers have the seventh-best offense.

Strongest parts of the roster

ESPN’s system gives four points for the best unit in the NFL and 0.1 for the worst one. The Packers are in first place regarding quarterbacks because of Aaron Rodgers, and the position has a weight of 28% in the total evaluation.

Offensively, they have good grades at running back (3.1) and offensive line (3.3). Overall, the defense is incredibly strong and deep. The Packers have grades above three points at the interior of the defensive line (3.4), cornerback (3.8), and safety (3.3).

Average

According to ESPN’s Unit Grades, the defense doesn’t have a weak link. Still, there’s an area where it’s not elite. The edge group (2.5) is only slightly above average. The linebacker group is a little under three points (2.9). It’s fair to expect an improvement in that area if rookie first-rounder Quay Walker is as good as the Packers think he could be.

Worst units on the roster

Unsurprisingly, the wide receiver position is the weakest area of the roster for Green Bay. At 0.4, it’s only ahead of the Atlanta Falcons and the Baltimore Ravens. That’s because the Packers don’t have any proven commodity here. The young players will have to establish their reputations in the NFL, and even guys like Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb must show they still can be effective.

Speaking of offensive weapons, the tight end group is not as bad as the WR unit, but it’s still below-average, according to ESPN. The Packers received a 0.9 grade, one of the worst in the league. However, it could be higher if Robert Tonyan can get healthy and replicate the productive season he had in 2020.

Still, the Packers’ roster is strong in general. The passing offense clearly took a step back after trading Davante Adams and losing Marquez Valdes-Scantling in free agency. But the team got better in other areas and should be competitive if Aaron Rodgers can keep the level of play he has shown in the last two seasons.

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