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NFL 2023: Lambeau Leap for Love?

Packers Head in New Direction

In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers made one of the most puzzling picks, selecting Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the No. 26 pick in the first round. Aaron Rodgers seemed to be headed nowhere anytime soon and needed more support on offense. Many NFL expert picks were projecting a wide receiver to Green Bay.

Rumors began that selecting Love was a shot at Rodgers, signaling a bad relationship between the franchise and superstar quarterback. Rodgers responded with back-to-back MVP Awards in the 2020 and 2021 seasons. However, the Packers were still failing in the postseason. Following several years of rumors, Green Bay finally moved on from Rodgers this offseason, trading him to the New York Jets.

NFL 2023: Lambeau Leap for Love?
Jordan Love #10 of the Green Bay Packers | Patrick McDermott/Getty Images/AFP

It is now Love’s time to take over as the Packers’ starting quarterback. The sportsbook is offering specials for his stats in the upcoming season. Will Love live up to high expectations in Green Bay?

Love: Big Shoes to Fill

The Packers franchise has a rich history that dates back to 1919 when Green Bay was established. The Packers officially joined the NFL in 1921 and are the third-oldest franchise in the league, behind the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals.

Green Bay has the most championships in NFL history with 13, including four Super Bowls. Few teams can match the Packers’ traditions. Curly Lambeau and Vince Lombardi are among the greatest coaches in league history. They led Green Bay to 11 combined championships.

The Packers’ fan base has also been perhaps the best in the NFL. They have continued to show rabid support for their team in bitter-cold weather, repping their cheeseheads and participating in Lambeau Leaps.

Taking over a franchise of this magnitude comes with a ton of pressure. In fact, quarterbacking in Green Bay could be one of the most stressful jobs in all of sports. Will Love be up to the task? That is the question on many fans’ minds ahead of the 2023 season.

Love has huge shoes to fill, taking over for one of the most talented quarterbacks in league history. We cannot forget about other legends like Brett Favre and Bart Starr. NFL lines do not expect Love to take the league by storm as the Packers have a projected win total of 7½. Green Bay is also priced at +195 to make the playoffs, offering sizable profits for NFL picks backing the Packers.

Let’s dig into how Love could fare and how it relates to online gambling.

Packers Set Love Up for Success

Vegas NFL odds are offering three specials for Love’s debut season as the starting quarterback:

  • Over/Under 3400½ Passing Yards
  • Over/Under 22½ Passing Touchdowns
  • Over/Under 13½ Interceptions

His projected passing yards are viewed as a pick ‘em with both choices at -120. The over for 22½ passing touchdowns is favored (-130), and the under for 13½ interceptions is the popular pick (-130). Which lines look like the best sport bets?

Green Bay has been grooming Love, following its formula for Rodgers’ success. Rodgers sat behind Favre for his first three seasons after being selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft. The Packers also wasted no time in upgrading Love’s support on offense.

Second-year receivers Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs are key pieces going forward. Plus, Green Bay added second-round wide receiver Jayden Reed and tight ends Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft in the 2023 NFL Draft. Reed is +6000 to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, and Musgrave and Tucker are athletic targets with high pass-catching upside.

Love has appeared in 10 games over the last two seasons with one start in 2021. He struggled in his sole start, totaling 190 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception paired with a 69.5 passer rating. However, Love started to create a buzz after coming in for an injured Rodgers against the Philadelphia Eagles last season. He was extremely efficient, completing 6 of 9 passes with 113 yards and a 146.8 passer rating.

His play against the Eagles, who went on to play in Super Bowl 57, is the performance many have circled. If this is what Love can consistently do, the Packers have another special talent on their hands.

Green Bay’s investment in its receiving corps proves it still intends to throw the ball often with Love at the helm. It’s unlikely the Packers’ passing attempts per game take a sharp drop. Therefore, the over for Love’s passing yards seems like a favorable NFL prediction. For comparison, some of the league’s struggling signal-callers totaled more than 3,400 passing yards last season, like Derek Carr and Russell Wilson. When healthy, Green Bay’s starting quarterback has eclipsed 3,400 passing yards in 17 consecutive seasons.

The Packers have also leaned on the passing game in the red zone. Running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combined for only eight touchdowns in the red zone in 2022. However, Green Bay finished 23rd in red zone touchdown percentage.

Coach Matt LaFleur will likely tweak the red zone offense following underwhelming production. He commented on it following the 2022 season, “There is a lot we have to study this offseason. Whether it was poor play design, or lack of execution or all of the above, it wasn’t good enough. We did a piss poor job in the red zone,” LaFleur said.

Running the ball more often in the red zone could be the answer, which would take away from Love’s passing touchdowns. I like the under for Love’s projected 22½ passing touchdowns (-110).

Will Love be the next successful quarterback for the Packers? His play in the 2023 season will be one of the most intriguing storylines in the NFL.

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