Green Bay returns most of the team that made the playoffs last season and Al Dannity likes the Packers to make a return trip.
Off-season changes Green Bay will have to do without the services of Johnny Jolly in 2010 as the defensive end is suspended pending trial over a drugs charge. Jolly is the only notable absentee from the Packers team that made it to the post-season in 2009.
There are a few new faces in Green Bay that could make an immediate impact. Bryan Bulaga, an offensive tackle out of Iowa, will rotate in to relieve the aging Chad Clifton before becoming the veteran’s long-term replacement. Georgia Tech’s Morgan Burnett has been a star in training camp and could start this season. NFL betting fans should monitor how well running back James Starks recovers from a hamstring injury. The sixth round pick, out of Buffalo, could become Ryan Grant’s back-up if he can regain top form.
Mark your calendar The week 7 visit of Minnesota and the return trip in week 11 leap off the Packers’ schedule as potential classics. Following last season’s sweep by the Vikings, Green Bay will be keen to gain some measure of revenge over Brett Favre.
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A week 8 road game with the Jets will give Packers fans plenty to think about, while the visit of Dallas in week 9 could be a dress-rehearsal for the NFC Championship game. Weeks 12 and 13 see Green Bay facing likely playoff chasers Atlanta and San Francisco, completing the most challenging part of the Packers schedule.
The verdict Now that we know Brett Favre is back in Minnesota, it’s easier to compare the Packers to their biggest divisional rivals. In short there’s nothing in it. Both teams possess enviable threats on defense, although the Packers secondary gives them a slight edge. Green Bay, like Minnesota, has a wealth of options in the passing game and a reliable rusher. I’d lean narrowly to the Vikings in this comparison purely because Adrian Peterson is a more fluid runner than Ryan Grant.
With such similarly stacked line-ups there is only one sensible decision to make, back the Packers to match Minnesota and go 11-5. That will be enough for a trip to the playoffs. Whether Green Bay can do enough to secure the divisional title, and with it a possible bye into the divisional round, will come down to tie-breakers. For now take the over of 9.5 wins at -200 with Sports Interaction.