It’s obviously not easy to do an in-depth betting analysis of the 2021 Green Bay Packers without knowing whether future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers will be the team’s quarterback this season. However, most believe that Rodgers eventually will turn up at training camp later this month and bury the hatchet. Green Bay is +1400 on the NFL odds to win the second Super Bowl in the Rodgers era.
Analysis NFL 2021 | Green Bay Packers
At a recent celebrity golf tournament, Rodgers said he would decide his future in a couple of weeks, which just so happens to coincide with the start of training camp. The first Packers practice of camp is Wednesday, July 28. The first preseason game is Aug. 14 against the Houston Texans at Lambeau Field.
There has been talk of a possible Rodgers trade to Denver, but that’s almost surely not happening at this point. Even another former legendary QB and former Bronco, Peyton Manning, expects Rodgers to play for the Packers in 2021.
“The fact that Aaron Rodgers might not play this year, I can’t fathom it. He’s too good of a player. Too fun to watch for the fans. I personally hope it’s in Green Bay. That’s what I see him as. I hope they can kinda make amends and work [it] out. That team is so close, if he were to leave there it’d be a major change, obviously, for them. … My gut is he’s not coming to Denver. At this point, you gotta kinda know what your plan is, you can’t be having a new quarterback three weeks before the season.”
The Green Bay offense should be terrific again. The team has arguably the best trio of QB/RB/WR in the league in Rodgers/Aaron Jones/Davante Adams. Of course, Rodgers was the 2020 NFL MVP, his third time winning the award.
Jones wasn’t franchise tagged this offseason and could have signed anywhere but got a four-year, $48 million deal to return. Aaron Jones 26, is one of only two players in NFL history to post 3,000-plus yards rushing (3,364) and 35-plus rushing touchdowns (37), with an average of 5-plus yards per carry (5.2) in their first four seasons. Jim Brown is the other.
Adams, who caught 115 passes for 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, is in the final year of a four-year, $58 million deal. Adams earned a stellar 92.2 Pro Football Focus rating in 2020 and grabbed 589 yards after the catch to lead all wide receivers. Rodgers had a 136.0 passer rating when targeting Adams. He’s the best receiver in football right now.
The Green Bay defense has some question marks. Coordinator Mike Pettine was not brought back after last season. Pettine, who was hired by former coach Mike McCarthy in 2018, was the third straight defensive coordinator to be fired or let go by the Packers without a head-coaching change. Green Bay’s defense last year jumped into the top 10 in yards allowed (ninth) but regressed in points allowed (19.6 to 23.1).
Joe Barry is the new coordinator. He came to Green Bay after having served as the Rams assistant head coach/linebackers coach from 2017-20. Barry previously coordinated statistically poor defenses in Detroit and Washington. In two-year stints as the coordinator in each spot, Barry’s units ranked between 28th and 32nd in yards.
One position to watch is starting cornerback opposite Jaire Alexander. The Packers brought back 2020 starter Kevin King on a one-year deal and he’s the odds-on favorite to start once again, but the team also used a first-round pick on cornerback Eric Stokes out of Georgia. It was the ninth time in their last 10 first-round picks they’ve addressed defense in the first round. Brian Gutekunst took Alexander with his first pick as GM in 2018. Stokes is lightning-fast. At slightly over 6-foot and 194 pounds, he turned in a pair of 40-yard dash times under 4.3 at his pro day.
Green Bay opens the season Sept. 12 as an early 2.5-point underdog at New Orleans, although once Rodgers is officially back that spread could change as the Saints have some quarterback questions with Drew Brees having retired.
I have read enough, I need to place my bet now. What to do?