Green Bay Packers

How Realistic Is Packers 2024 Super Bowl Contention?

Photo credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

The 2023 Green Bay Packers faced betting odds of -140 to win over 7.5 games and +110 for the under. The Packers finished the regular season with a 9-8 record, securing a playoff spot.

Green Bay finished the season with a 3-3 record against playoff opponents. They split the series against the Detroit Lions and defeated the Los Angeles Rams and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. However, they lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On Wild Card weekend, Green Bay traveled to Arlington, Tex. to face the No. 2-seeded Dallas Cowboys. The Packers triumphed with a 48-32 victory, highlighted by Jordan Love‘s masterful performance. Love achieved a 157.2 passer rating and threw three passing touchdowns.

The Packers traveled to Santa Clara to face the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round. Green Bay controlled the game for 55 minutes, but everything fell apart following Anders Carlson‘s missed field goal. The 49ers scored during the two-minute drill, and Love threw his second interception to Dre Greenlaw, ending Green Bay’s season.

The Packers were the youngest team in the NFL since the 1970s to make the postseason. Still, they managed to contend with the big dogs throughout the season. They beat the Super Bowl Champions, defeated the No. 2-seed in the NFC on the road, and controlled the game against the No. 1 seed on the road for 55 minutes. Undoubtedly, Green Bay is ready to compete and win now.

The Packers made an unusual move during the offseason by signing two top free agents, Xavier McKinney and Josh Jacobs. This move deviated from their conservative approach to free agency spending. Typically, they prioritize retaining their players rather than making big splashes in the market. However, Brian Gutekunst opted for a different strategy this time, which indicates confidence in the team’s ability to win immediately.

Last season, Love was a top-10 quarterback in nearly every statistical passing metric. Notably, he ranked among the top-five quarterbacks in big-time throws under pressure and led the league in big-time throws when blitzed. While his first year as a starter began gradually, he was the NFL’s best quarterback in the second half of the season. As history dictates, teams with exceptional quarterback play in the NFL often enjoy consistent success.

The Packers released Aaron Jones but signed Josh Jacobs. According to PFF, Green Bay’s offensive line was a top-10 unit in pass-blocking. However, it struggled badly in the running game, ranking in the bottom 11 in run-blocking last year.

Green Bay’s primary receiving corps, which consists of Romeo Doubs, Christian Watson, Jayden Reed, and Dontayvion Wicks, amassed 208 catches, 2,783 yards, and 27 receiving touchdowns. Watson and Doubs are entering their third year, and Reed and Wicks are heading into their second. With another offseason to refine chemistry and grasp the playbook, there’s every reason to believe this group can become borderline unstoppable if they stay healthy.

Green Bay’s run defense ranked 18th best last year, while it was 15th best in tackling and 13th best in the pass rush. Additionally, it placed 19th in coverage. Overall, the Packers’ defense delivered average to below-average performances across the board. Consequently, it was graded 21st in the regular season.

The Chiefs secured back-to-back titles despite sharing similar regular-season rankings with Green Bay. However, Kansas City’s defense underwent a drastic transformation in the playoffs. They emerged as a top-five unit in overall defense, run defense, and coverage, further illustrating that what a team achieves in the regular season may not carry as much weight if its defense heats up in January.

Furthermore, Green Bay’s defense should make significant strides under Jeff Hafley. His scheme is tailored to the physical strengths of the defensive backs and can potentially elevate the entire unit’s game. With a more aggressive approach, the Packers will aim to cultivate a winning and hard-hitting culture on defense.

Green Bay’s special teams unit ranked as the seventh worst last year. Anders Carlson struggled, posting the sixth-lowest extra-point percentage in the league and missing six field goals. Special teams proved costly for the Packers in 2021 and 2023 against San Francisco. If the Packers aim to contend for the championship, they can’t afford to repeat such costly mistakes.

According to FanDuel, Green Bay holds the fifth-best odds to win the NFC and the eighth-best odds to win the Super Bowl. If the Packers can maintain their health throughout the season, they have the potential to compete with any team in the NFL.

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Photo credit: Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY NETWORK

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