No one player is irreplaceable, but the Green Bay Packers figure to have some work to do to be as good offensively now that star receiver Davante Adams is now a member of the Las Vegas Raiders. Three receivers were taken by Green Bay in the 2022 NFL Draft including Christian Watson going early in the second round. It will be worth watching how things work without perhaps the best receiver in football being on the end of Aaron Rodgers passes in 2022.
Green Bay entered the 2021 playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the NFC before being upset by San Francisco. Green Bay had won at least one postseason game in the last five trips to the playoffs. There is still plenty of talent for the Packers to be a factor in the NFC yet again.
The Green Bay Packers (-200) are the favorites to win the NFC North Division title for the fourth season in a row according to the Vegas NFL odds.
The Packers (+1200) are third among NFC teams in the odds to win the Super Bowl, trailing only Tampa Bay and the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, according to the NFL playoff odds.
- 2021 record: 13-4 (first in NFC North)
- Playoff result: Lost to San Francisco 49ers 13-10 in the wild-card round.
- Season opener: at Minnesota Vikings, Sept. 11, 4:25 p.m. EDT
- Playoff teams on the 2022 schedule: HOME – Arizona, Dallas, Green Bay, New England; AWAY – Buffalo, Green Bay, Philadelphia
- Key newcomers: WR Sammy Watkins, DT Chris Slayton, DL Jarran Reed, P Pat O’Donnell, LB Quay Walker (first-round pick), DL Devonte Wyatt (first-round pick), WR Christian Watson (second-round pick), OL Sean Rhyan (third-round pick), WR Romeo Doubs (fourth-round pick), OL Zach Tom (fourth-round pick).
- Key losses: WR Davante Adams, LB Za’Darius Smith, OL Billy Turner, WR Marquez Valdes Scantling, DE Tyler Lancaster, OT Dennis Kelly, LB Owen Burks, WR Equanimeous St. Brown, CB Chandon Sullivan, S Henry Black, LB Whitney Mercilus, CB Kevin King.
- Award candidates: Quay Walker, +900 in the NFL Defensive Odds of the Year odds; Christian Watson, +900 in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year odds; Aaron Rodgers, +2500 in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds; Devonte Wyatt, +2500 in the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds; Aaron Jones, +4000 in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds; Jaire Alexander, +6600 in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year odds; Rashan Gary, +8000 in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year odds; Allen Lazard, +8000 in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds; Randall Cobb, +10000 in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds; AJ Dillon, +10000 in the NFL Offensive Player of the Year odds; Romeo Doubs, +10000 in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year odds.
Green Bay will be without not only Adams, who had more than 100 catches in three of the last four seasons but also saw third-leading receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling exit. Tight end Robert Tonyan was limited to eight games a season ago so having him for the entire season will be a huge help.
Veteran receivers Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb will be joined by key offseason acquisition Sammy Watkins along with rookies Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, and Samori Toure.
It will be worth watching how the carries are distributed after AJ Dillon finished with more carries and rushing yards than Aaron Jones during the 2021 season. They combined for 102 catches and it won’t be a surprise to see them heavily involved in the passing game in 2022.
Left tackle David Bakhtiari is still working his way back from injury. Green Bay used second-round picks on interior offensive linemen Elgton Jenkins in 2019 and Josh Myers in 2021. Sean Rhyan and Zack Tom were picked in this year’s draft, so the Packers have been working at upgrading the offensive line.
Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks and players in the NFL and he will continue to fill the air with footballs. There will be an adjustment period because Rodgers got used to looking for the reliable Adams at the most important moments. The passes figure to be spread around more in 2022.
Adams wasn’t the only key player to move on. Za’Darius Smith might have been limited to one game in 2021 but he had 26 sacks in his previous two seasons with the Packers. Now he is a member of division rival Minnesota. Underrated linemen Tyler Lancaster and Kingsley Keke as well as cornerback Kevin King are no longer in Green Bay.
Cornerback Jaire Alexander only played in four games during an injury-shortened 2021 season, so his return will be huge. Green Bay has a young nucleus of playmakers with Alexander, linebacker Rashan Gary, and cornerback Eric Stokes being taken in the first round from 2018 to 2021. The Packers added linebacker Quay Walker and defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt, teammates on Georgia’s dominating defense.
Green Bay finished in the top 10 in total defense in 2021. However, the red-zone defense wasn’t a strength of the team. Wyatt and Walker combined for four sacks in their senior seasons so it might be asking a bit much for either of them to replace what Smith added to the defense in the pass-rush department.
Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage form one of the top safety duos while linebackers De’Vondre Campbell (a team-high 146 tackles) and Krys Barnes should benefit from the arrival of Walker.
De’Vondre Campbell is no longer the NFL’s best-kept secret.
A look at the LBs before #PackersCamp 👀
Countdown to Camp ⤵️ https://t.co/VWyM90iRq3
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) July 23, 2022
Keeping defensive tackle Kenny Clark healthy will be crucial as he has missed games in four of the last five seasons.
2022 Pakcers Outlook
Green Bay is not a stranger to the challenges of facing a first-place schedule. Still, there are some tough stretches during the upcoming season. Green Bay faces NFC favorite Tampa Bay followed by New England in Weeks 3 and 4. The Packers have a three-game stretch against Dallas, Tennessee, and Philadelphia later in the season.
A road matchup with Minnesota, considered to be the biggest challenger to Green Bay’s run of NFC North titles, in the season opener should be a tough opening act. The Packers are currently favored by two points.
Getting key players like Bakhtiari, Alexander and Tonyan back is key after they combined to play in just 13 regular-season games in 2021.
This is not the first rodeo for Rodgers so while he will miss throwing the ball to Adams, he should be able to have the Packers in contention for a fourth straight NFC North title. The NFL lines have Rodgers (+900) tied for fourth in the NFL regular-season MVP odds. He is trying to join former Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre as the only player to be named the MVP in three straight seasons.
The Packers have an expected regular-season total of 11, the third-highest total in the NFL. The NFL odds are at -125 to go over and -105 to finish under that total.
Something of note for those who bet online: Green Bay covered in just one of its last five games in 2021. That included a three-point loss at home in the playoffs as a six-point favorite.