The Green Bay Packers lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2 of the NLF preseason, 19-24. While the loss does little for or against the odds of the Packers, who are still one of the favourites win Super 50, the loss of top receiver Jordy Nelson may change Green Bay’s outlook on the upcoming NFL season.
Early in the first quarter of play against the Steelers, Nelson caught a pass from Aaron Rodgers with room to run near the sideline. Upon landing, Nelson appeared ready to make a move in the open field, but immediately dropped to the ground, untouched. The early diagnosis is a torn ACL, which if confirmed today, would put Nelson on the injured reserve for the entire regular season.
To give an idea of the importance Nelson has to the Packers offense, Nelson started all 16 games for Green Bay last year, totaling 98 catches on 151 targets, good for 1,519 yards on the season. He had 13 touchdown catches on the year and was named to the Pro Bowl, in addition to being ranked no. 18 on the NFL’s Top 100 Player’s list.
Despite such a devastating blow, the Packers should still have reason to believe they can reach the top of the mountain this season. It’s hard to replace someone with Nelson’s on-field production and leadership, but Green Bay’s deepest position is at wide receiver. Second-year receiver Davante Adams is expected to make a big jump in terms of targets and yardage after getting full off season of work with Rodgers under his belt.
Green Bay was also able to resign free-agent Randall Cobb to a long-term deal, who also made the NFL Top 100 Player’s list at no. 100. Cobb caught 91 passes for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns last season and will likely see an increase in targets should Nelson be out for the year. In retrospect, this resigning may be the biggest reason why the Packers’ Super Bowl odds may not change should Nelson’s season-ending injury be confirmed.
Super Bowl 50 odds
The Packers are currently set at +550 to win the Super Bowl, behind only the +400 Seattle Seahawks.
When put into perspective, the loss of any team’s no. 1 receiver in what is basically an exhibition game is hard to swallow. In a time when the NFL front offices claim to be worried about player safety above all, it’s not a good look to continue to play four preseason games each year while charging fans regular season prices for tickets while star players continue to drop.
Aaron Rodgers had this to say when asked about Nelson’s injury: “This is a sport we’re all going to be injured at some point, it’s a 100% injury rate for every player. You’re going to deal with it. You just hate to see it in the preseason because it doesn’t count for anything. It’s difficult to lose a guy like that in a meaningless game.”
So far this off season, Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey also sustained a significant injury in the same game Nelson suffered his knee injury, breaking his ankle. Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Phil Loadholt was carted off with a torn Achilles tendon during their preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s likely that we’ll see even more injuries in the next two weeks of preseason football.