Welcome to “Pretty Much Screwed,” our definitive guide to the upcoming NFL season. This team-by-team preview details why your favorite franchise might have to start looking forward to next year — but highlights at least one reason for you to be hopeful. Today we’re taking a look at the Green Bay Packers. Redrum!
Recent History Indicates They May Be Cursed, In A New York Mets, Chicago Cubs Kind Of Way
Somewhere way up north in the frozen tundra, land of acidified coagulation of milk proteins, where goats graze on rooftops and the people are so polite as to make you uncomfortable, something evil has happened. We’re not sure what, but the Packers are cursed, and here’s the evidence.
Green Bay won 11 games in 2012-13, bookended by these two plays:
After a decade or so of domination, the Packers suddenly cannot seem to figure a way to beat the Left Coast. Their Kryptonite: Golden Tate, pushoffs in the end zone, replacement refs and the San Francisco 49ers. So far in the 2013-14 season, the curse remains in effect.
Sure it was only a preseason game, but you had to figure that the revenge factor was high when the Packers met the Seahawks — at home — this past weekend. It was a rematch of the infamous Replacement Refs Game, and they lost to Seattle again, 17-10.
Another, more important rematch occurs in Week 1 of the regular season Sept. 8, when they travel to San Francisco. Aaron Rodgers will not only have to dodge the numerous Candlestick Park field invaders, but also their actual defense, which is the most ferocious in the league. Also, how to stop Colin Kaepernick, who outpassed Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs last season (263 yards to 257), and rushed for an ungodly 181.
Mike McCarthy had six weeks to prepare for the run option, and whiffed. The Niners have won two straight in this series, which brings us to …
Aaron Rodgers won’t pay his bets
Wait, we think we’ve uncovered the source of the curse. Of course we recall back this past Sept., when Rodgers made a bet with Boyz II Men lead singer Nathan Morris (hahaha) that if they sang the National Anthem prior to their game with the 49ers, Rodgers would wear an Alex Smith jersey if the Packers lost.
The Packers lost, and Rodgers refused to honor the bet (saying it was “all a misunderstanding”).
Then during the offseason, Rodgers said he’d “bet a year’s salary” that Ryan Braun was innocent of taking PEDs. Hmm, how’d that turn out? So far, we haven’t seen Rodgers signing over any paychecks.
At this point Rodgers has less credibility than Matt Damon’s buddy in “Rounders”.
What is this ‘running game’ you speak of?
Rookie Eddie Lacy will probably end up as the Packers’ No. 1 running back, supplanting DuJwan Harris, who has the job now. This is a team whose top rusher last season had 464 yards (Alex Green). I don’t see how the Packers are going to win it all without a balanced attack. The O line hasn’t improved. Neither has the defense. That’s not to say they’re bad — I’m just not excited about any of it.
Fans think they are NFL owners. Didn’t they get the memo?
The Packers first sold shares of their stock to fans in the 1930s, with the proceeds helping the franchise survive the Great Depression (RIP, Staten Island Stapletons). A few years ago they offered them again — $25 per share, with no one being able to buy more than 200 shares. But fan shareholders have no voting rights, and receive no dividends other than the occasional player in their lap during the Lambeau Leap.
The stock sale was primarily a plan to raise revenue to upgrade Lambeau Field. In other words, kind of like those companies who offer to name a star after you for $50. So basically Packers’ fans purchased a low-grade souvenir.
“Look, it’s all a bit technical, but the important thing is that my company’s future is secure.” — Bruce Wayne, Batman Begins.
Reason they may not be screwed
As of Sunday, receivers Jordy Nelson (knee surgery) and Randall Cobb (biceps injury) are back, and on track to get considerable playing time in the opener. Which means that for the first time since the opening week of training camp, Rodgers will have a full complement of receivers to aim at.
Actual season prediction: 9-7, tied for first in NFC North. Win NFC Wild Card game, lose in second round.