The Green Bay Packers came within one game of winning the NFC in 2019, but a loss to the San Francisco 49ers prevented the team from winning their sixth NFC Championship.
The Packers, who hold 12/1 odds to win the NFC Championship at SportsBetting.ag face uncertainty, as they drafted for the future when they selected quarterback Jordan Love. It’s an odd move for a team who took a trip deep into the playoffs.
However, the team still has a ready-and-willing Aaron Rodgers to take them back to championship contention. To be frank, hardly anyone in the game is better at winning in close calls than Rodgers.
The Packers also possess a vicious and under-the-radar triple threat in the backfield, which will help them in a year where they lack playmakers at receiver and tight end.
So, are the Packers a safe bet in 2020? Below are four different qualities to consider before you bet on the Packers this season.
1 – Love in a Strained Relationship
Aaron Rodgers knows it. Most of the league knows it. His days in Green Bay are numbered, and it is a question of “if” instead of “when” Jordan Love will take over. Rodgers admitted in a recent interview how early quarterbacks play in their careers these days.
Most play at least a few games during their rookie season, with Patrick Mahomes being the only outlier. But even Mahomes started in his second season, and well, the rest is history.
Plus, you just can’t help but compare Love to Mahomes. He has a big arm, which he trusts so much that he’s not afraid to squeeze the ball into coverage. He also has a mediocre record in college, possesses identical physical gifts, etc.
And you can’t help but wonder if Rodgers will face an injury-riddled 2020, something that has plagued him throughout his entire career.
The Packers will decide how much Rodgers still means to the organization within the first eight games of the season, where they face an arsenal of talented teams. They play Minnesota twice, then New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Houston, San Francisco, and Atlanta.
They also play the Detroit Lions in Week 2, a team who—despite their 3-12-1 record—lost to the Packers by a total of 4 points, including a one-point loss in Week 6.
After a break against the Jacksonville Jaguars, they play Indianapolis, Chicago, and the Philadelphia Eagles. Then, there are three more teams who figure to contend for playoff spots in 2020.
If the Packers have another season like 2017 or 2018 by the time December rolls around, consider it a done deal. Rodgers is playing in a different uniform in 2020, and the Packers aren’t going to the playoffs, let alone winning the NFC Championship.
On the flip side, Rodgers is still fantastic at pulling out nail biters against talented football teams. But you must consider the strength of schedule among the first eight games, where five of the eight opponents made the playoffs in 2019.
The NFL universe knows how early teams play their rookie first-round picks, and Rodgers is no exception. He either wins or he’s out. It all comes down to how much you trust Rodgers to continue to pull out the victories we’ve all become accustomed to seeing.
2 – Green Bay’s Three-Headed Monster
Here’s some good news if you’re up to betting on the Green Bay Packers… Let’s say that Rodgers goes down with an injury, in the exact same way it has happened a few times throughout his career, and Love steps in.
Green Bay has a bit of a closet running attack coming to you live in 2020. And they will either help a declining Aaron Rodgers (whose statistics are actually declining) or a rookie in Jordan Love.
Playoffs? Hey, you can’t count them out if head coach Matt LaFleur wishes to go ball control. It starts with Aaron Jones, a former fifth-round pick who logged 236 carries in 2019, despite his scatback size. He averaged 4.6 yards per carry on his way to 16 touchdowns. That’s not too bad for a guy who’s supposed to spell other backs and receive a handful of carries a season. Perhaps it’s Jones’ size that makes him part of a committee?
That leads us to Jamaal Williams, the team’s fourth-round pick in 2017. Williams isn’t just a runner; he can also help block in pass protection. He is a durable, workhorse type of back who averaged 4.3 yards per carry on 107 rushes in 2019.
Then, you got a speedy power back in A.J. Dillon, who may take the featured back role away from Jones, given his status as a second-round pick in 2020. In a layman phrase, the guy is built like Derrick Henry at 6’0 and 247 lbs.
He scored 38 touchdowns and rushed for 4,382 yards at Boston College, breaking the school record. Then, he ran a 4.53 at the NFL combine, which is lightning-fast for a 247-lb. power back.
The San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, running the ball and throwing just 8 passes.
The Packers have a rushing attack that can rival that in 2020. So, if Rodgers falters or if the team inserts Love, it’s not smart to assume your bet is a loss. This team can run the football, and they should run the football often in 2020.
This will melt defenses early and allow either Rodgers or Love to go over the top.
3 – Rush Hour in Green Bay
When you lose the NFC Championship Game because the opponent’s quarterback threw just 8 passes, something is wrong. And the Packers realized it. The team hoped first-round pick Rashan Gary would help, but he logged just 21 tackles. The potential-based pick continued to struggle as he did in college.
Then, the team lost tackling ace Blake Martinez, as well as part-time starter and key contributor B.J. Goodson. Their replacements? Christian Kirksey and Oren Burks.
Kirksey hasn’t seen the field in two seasons, while Burks is the best of a bad crop. Considering Lindy’s NFL Preview, he has offered nothing to date. And it just doesn’t bode well for a rushing defense that ranked 23rd in the NFL last season.
Worse yet, it allows teams to conquer the Packers pass rush, where Za’Darius and Preston Smith combined for 25.5 of the team’s 41 sacks. They have a fantastic nose tackle in Kenny Clark, who logged 89 tackles in 2019. The problem is, you don’t rely on nose tackles to make plays in a 3-4 defense. They help you win games by filling gaps and taking on double times while the linebackers converge, not by making tackles 5 yards down the field.
Without Martinez and Goodson, look for more of the same struggles, as teams will run often on the Packers. Given their talent at corner in Jaire Alexander and Kenny King, the former leading the team with 23 passes defensed and the latter leading the team with 5 interceptions, teams will run the ball down Green Bay’s throats.
The Packers can do the same to their opponents. But teams like their rival, the Minnesota Vikings, have a system in place that will take full advantage of the Packers’ weaknesses.
4 – Close Calls
No one is better at this than Aaron Rodgers. Okay, so perhaps Russell Wilson gives Rodgers a run, but you hardly see an outlier.
If the team sticks with Rodgers, you can expect him and the Packers to somehow pull out at least half of the one-possession games they will find themselves in.
In 2019, the team finished 7-2 in one-possession games, 8-2 if you count the 28-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks in the divisional playoffs. It’s the same script, different year for the Packers.
The problem is, what if Rodgers continues to decline and it leads to narrow losses? Or what if the injury bug hits him again and the team goes with Love? Does Love do the same thing? He has a running game to lean on but not much of a defense.
Rodgers can still pull out miracles. The guy finds ways to win, even with a subpar receiving and tight end unit. He has an outstanding backfield in Aaron Jones, A.J. Dillon, and Jamaal Williams. All of whom can pick up the slack if he starts to slack.
But in the receiving unit, he has Davante Adams. That’s it. No one else is even worth a blip in the starting lineup for the other 31 teams. Maybe Jace Sternberger would be reliable if he plays as he did in the playoffs.
However, if you believe Rodgers will return in 2020 and is still somewhat the same quarterback we’ve come to know, then feel free to place your bet on the Packers, as he will find ways to win the close ones… or at least most of them.
To be honest, I think 12/1 odds are pushing it for the Packers. The quarterback conundrum will happen during the season, and it could happen as early as Week 9 if the team is sitting with a losing record or if the injury bug strikes Rodgers.
While the team boasts one of the best rushing committees in football, they also have one of the worst—if not the worst—rushing defenses in the league.
The Packers pulled out some close calls in 2019, but it doesn’t mean the same holds for 2020. Sure, Rodgers can come out and give the Packers a reason to sit Love for the year, but the team has its doubts if they drafted a quarterback.
What are your thoughts? Are the Packers worth the bet in 2020?
Michael Stevens has been researching and writing topics involving the gambling industry for well over a decade now and is considered an expert on all things casino and sports betting. Michael has been writing for GamblingSites.org since early 2016. …