Around the Web: NFL predictions, rising stars
Each week, PackersNews.com will look at stories involving the Packers from national and local internet sites:
The lead-up to Week 1 tends to offer a myriad of national content when it comes to the Green Bay Packers, and this week has been no exception.
There are, of course, a bevy of season predictions to choose from, including CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco predicting the Packers will go 15-1 and win the Super Bowl (after losing this Sunday’s opener in Jacksonville, no less).
In the end, my Super Bowl pick is the same one from a year ago: Green Bay against New England. I came close to picking the Seahawks to beat the Packers in the title game, but I think this is a big-time, bounce-back year for Aaron Rodgers . So let's put to rest the misguided notion that he was off last season.
He will show why he's the best in the NFL this season as he leads the Packers to his second Super Bowl title.
Sports Illustrated’s Peter King also is predicting the Packers will participate in Super Bowl LI in Houston, though he has the Packers losing the game to the Steelers.
For Green Bay, this could be the last chance Clay Matthews and 36-year-old Julius Peppers have to be impact players together on a playoff team. GM Ted Thompson is a ruthless sort, and wouldn’t feel guilty if he had to cut one or the other for age or performance after the season. It’s only a matter of time before Peppers gets that tap on his shoulder. I love versatile defensive tackle Mike Daniels. The Packers will have to be good with some unproven players at inside linebacker (fourth-round rookie Blake Martinez needs to prove much as a nearly every-down player), which is why Peppers, even at his age, is so important.
Elsewhere, Dan Pompei writes for The Athletic that the surprising release of Josh Sitton was indeed contract driven, but that there may have been other factors in play.
From Pompei (emphasis mine):
In Green Bay, behind-the-scenes money issues also were at work. Sitton was entering the last year of his contract and believed he deserved an extension. The Packers were not prepared to commit to him beyond this year, in part because he is one of many Packers with contracts that will expire after this season. Others include starting offensive linemen T.J. Lang, J.C. Tretter and David Bakhtiari, running back Eddie Lacy, tight end Jared Cook, linebackers Julius Peppers and Nick Perry, defensive end Datone Jones and safety Micah Hyde. The contract issue created tension between the team and Sitton, who is known for being a bit salty. Had the Packers kept him without committing to him beyond 2016, there would have been problems on the horizon.
Ominous, to say the least.
When it comes to current Packers players, Mike Daniels gets the royal treatment from Sports Illustrated, not only being feted as one of their "rising stars", but also scoring one of four regional covers for the magazine this week.
Check out the Sports Illustrated video production on Daniels below:
Finally, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has enlisted teammate Clay Matthews in his newest State Farm commercial. I particularly liked the extras in the locker room scene at the beginning that would have no business in an actual NFL locker room.