National writers project how the Packers will finish in 2022, and yes, several are seeing Super Bowl in Green Bay's future
Most national writers pick the Green Bay Packers to finish in a typical spot, atop the NFC North standings where they've landed each of the past three seasons (and eight of 11 seasons since winning the Super Bowl). But what about thereafter?
Yes, some believe the Packers are going to win the NFC and advance to the Super Bowl, too, and more than one is projecting a Lombardi Trophy coming home to Titletown.
Here's a sampling of what people had to say:
In its poll of experts, Jeremy Bergman was the lone writer who felt the Packers would win the Super Bowl, topping the Ravens. But several others saw Green Bay at least getting to the big game at the end of the season, including Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson as one of five experts picking the Packers to lose the Super Bowl to either the Bills or Chargers.
Twenty-four of the 25 experts at NFL.com picked the Packers to win the North, with the lone other vote going to the Vikings.
"The Packers will miss All-Pro receiver Davante Adams this fall, no doubt about it," Chad Reuter wrote. "But they play a manageable schedule and will rely on an improved running game and defense to win their fourth straight division title."
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Nate Davis picked the Packers to go 12-5 and finish as the only North team above .500. Then, he also selects Green Bay to win the Super Bowl in Phoenix on Feb. 12, 2023.
He's also projecting that the Packers will take the Revenge Road to get there, with wins over San Francisco in the divisional round and Tampa Bay in the championship game.
"Sometimes less is more, but the defection of Adams suggests this team will have to reinvent itself — at least offensively — and may struggle to provide HC Matt LaFleur's fourth consecutive 13-win regular season," Davis wrote. "Yet, just maybe, learning to rely more heavily on a promising defense and the backfield tandem of RBs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon — while QB Aaron Rodgers recalibrates himself to a receiving group that lacks an obvious alpha — might just produce a less predictable team, and one that's still sufficiently formidable enough to secure home-field advantage while ultimately better built for an extended run in January amid Wisconsin's capricious winters. And the Pack could get hot late given the schedule only serves up one 2021 playoff team after November."
Not only does John Breech view the Packers at 12-5, two games ahead of the Vikings, but he also makes the bold prediction that much-discussed wide receiver Romeo Doubs wins Offensive Rookie of the Year.
"The rookie receiver had an impressive training camp and although he's struggled slightly with drops, I'm not too concerned about that," Breech said. "I mean, there was a concern about drops with Ja'Marr Chase during the preseason last year and everything seemed to work out just fine for him. This is a bold prediction because Doubs is currently somewhat of a long shot to win the award. At 14-to-1, there are four players with better odds."
Breech gives the Packers the top seed in the NFC, again with wins over the 49ers and Buccaneers to get to the Super Bowl. Cathartic!
Well, right up until he picks the Broncos to beat the Packers in the Super Bowl, 31-24. Legitimately, that is the exact score he used. Even now, that's too soon.
"The prediction here is that (Russell) Wilson and (Nathaniel) Hackett (lead) the Broncos to a 31-24 win over the Packers, which will be somewhat poetic since the win will come 25 years after the Broncos beat the Packers 31-24 in Super Bowl XXXII," Breech wrote. "I fully expect this game to be a thriller because that's basically what happens any time Wilson and Aaron Rodgers face each other (See: Fail Mary and/or 2014 NFC title game)."
Also too soon.
ESPN has the Packers at No. 6 in its preseason power rankings, but it's not an all-out endorsement. Eric Moody wrote to take the under if the Packers were set at 11 wins.
"While Rodgers is coming off consecutive MVPs, this season will be much different without Pro Bowl wide receiver Davante Adams, who commanded a large target share," Moody said. "In spite of a strong running game, offensive line and defense, I'm leaning toward the Under."
Matt Bowen makes the bold prediction that AJ Dillon will lead the Packers in rushing yards.
The Packers are given the fourth-best odds to win the title, according to Austin Gayle, who isn't seeing the Davante Adams departure as a damning loss.
"I trust that Rodgers, who has won back-to-back league MVP awards, will make the best of an Adams-less receiving corps led by Sammy Watkins and Allen Lazard," Gayle wrote. "The Packers are a lock for a top-five spot on any 2022 preseason power ranking as long as Rodgers is in a Packers uniform."
Sheil Kapadia, however, in his rundown of 10 bold predictions for the 2022 season suggests that the Vikings can win the North.
"For the first time in a while, the Vikings will have a head coach, in Kevin O’Connell, who doesn’t hate his quarterback or his offense. That’s got to count for something! The cupboard is not bare in Minnesota. Kirk Cousins is surrounded by Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and Dalvin Cook. The offensive line is a question, but the Vikings are talented enough to put out a competent pass-protecting unit."
More:Packers know what mistakes they made to let Vikings' Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen light them up last year
Kapadia admits it's a reach.
"I’ve flip-flopped on this one about a thousand times, but hey, the prediction game is not for the timid. Eleven wins and a one-game edge over the second-place Packers! ... I already hate myself for this."
Vinnie Iyer has a favorable forecast for Packers fans — a Super Bowl championship.
He's got the Packers topping the Chargers for all the marbles.
"Rodgers' career, with his prolific and efficient numbers, profiles for at least having two Super Bowl victories," Iyer wrote. "(Justin) Herbert's unprecedented work as a young gun calls for him getting a shot like (Patrick) Mahomes and (Joe) Burrow. After Rodgers digs deep to beat Herbert late, Green Bay can once again be called 'Titletown.' "
Iyer slotted the Packers as the No. 1 seed in the NFC, with wins over the Rams and Buccaneers en route to the big game in Phoenix. He picks the Packers to finish 14-3 in the regular season and run away with the North.
"The Packers have been stuck on 13 wins for three seasons and under Matt LaFleur and even with consecutive MVP runs with Aaron Rodgers, have no Super Bowl trips to show for it. They can post a better record without Adams given Rodgers, the running game and their best overall defense in a while."
Peter King, who claims to have picked the past four Super Bowl winners before the season, is picking an "Arctic Circle Super Bowl" for Phoenix. Yep, that includes the Green Bay Packers, though he's giving the edge to the Buffalo Bills in the game itself.
King also thinks the Packers will have only the No. 2 seed in the NFC, tied with the Saints at 12-5. But he has the Packers getting the best of New Orleans in the NFC title game before a 30-23 loss in the Super Bowl.
Among his other observations is mentioning new Packers special teams coach Rich Bisaccia as a difference maker.
"After the Packers lost the divisional game to the Niners on a blocked punt last January, they made Bisaccia (reportedly) the highest-paid special-teams coach in history and gave him the authority to use players from all over the roster to resuscitate the morbid kicking game," King said. "He told the players: 'The only ‘I’ I want to hear in here is, What can I do to help us win?’ Results should follow."
More:Will the Packers' special teams be better? It may be a question of whether some starters are used
Maurice Moton pegs the Packers for an 11-6 season.
"Rodgers won't win a third consecutive MVP, but he can still lead a squad to the playoffs with a depleted wide receiver corps," Moton said. "Green Bay drafted wideouts Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs in the second and fourth rounds, respectively. They'll need to earn Rodgers' trust. Veterans Randall Cobb and Sammy Watkins will likely see most of the targets early in the season. Allen Lazard could develop into a decent third option."
Hmmm, "decent third option" probably undersells where the Packers see Lazard this year.
Some Bleacher Report writers picked the Packers to reach the Super Bowl, but the Bills (beating the Buccaneers) proved to be the overall choice of the staff.
JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.