Every NFL season brings with it outliers who far exceed expectations or disappoint miserably. With the futures odds set for the 2021-22 NFL season, we examine that broad range of possibilities for the Green Bay Packers.
When Last We Met
The Green Bay Packers kicked off their season with four straight wins heading into their bye week and were immediately among the favorites to win the NFC in the sportsbook. When they returned, they were walloped by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 38-10 but then lost only two more times the rest of the way to finish with a 13-3 record. That gave them the best record in the conference, a first-round bye in the postseason and the shortest NFL betting lines to win the conference.
They met up with the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional Round and had a pretty tight game, though they eventually came out on top for the 32-18 victory. They moved on to get a rematch with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship game but once again fell short, losing 31-26.
It was yet another season with Super Bowl aspirations, but the team just wasn’t able to get over that championship hump and make it into the big game. Many who are betting online are wondering if their Super Bowl window has shut.
To Miss the Playoffs (Off the Board)
Given how the team is already going through some massive issues internally heading into the 2021 season, missing the playoffs is a pretty substantial possibility. The NFL playoff odds are off the board right now, a result of waiting to see if Rodgers would report to camp.
Their roster overall is still incredibly talented but there have been questions regarding Rodgers. He made it clear he hasn’t always seen eye-to-eye with the front office and their decisions, which could end up pushing him away from the team if they chose to do something halfway through the season that he doesn’t agree with.
It could also be an issue if they don’t make it a priority to re-sign Davante Adams, who could potentially hold out if he feels disrespected by their offers. The team did acquire former Packer Randall Cobb in a trade on Wednesday, so maybe that makes Rodgers happy for now.
There is also the question regarding their best linebacker, Zadarius Smith. His contract was adjusted, so the front office could cut him later down the line and save themselves some money. Rodgers is the linchpin. If he’s not onboard mentally and physically, this team probably isn’t going to the playoffs.
To Make the Playoffs (Off the Board)
If Rodgers is in, making the playoffs is very possible for Green Bay. If he plays, the Packers will be among everyone’s NFL predictions to make the playoffs. If they want to have another shot at the postseason, they will desperately need their main core of players to be active and ready to go. We have all seen what Rodgers can do on the field – he’s the reigning MVP – but keeping him on it should be their top priority.
Pairing him up with Adams once again on offense is bound to make them one of the most explosive units in the league. They will also need to figure out how they want to run their backfield as re-signing Aaron Jones gives them a committee that they must understand how to utilize.
Flipping over to the defensive side of the football, developing a solid No. 2 cornerback opposite of Jaire Alexander is critical. Kevin King was torched in the NFC Championship Game and will have to improve to solidify their secondary. If this team returns with the same mindset, then we are very likely to see Rodgers make his way back into the postseason for another run at the trophy.
To Win the NFC North (-160)
Green Bay has dominated their division for quite some time now and are expected to once again, barring any holdouts or injuries. The NFL division odds indicate that they are favored.
The Chicago Bears (+425) could be the biggest competition for the Packers, mostly because they finally seem to have found their quarterback of the future in Justin Fields. However, until he is able to develop the way they want him to, we will be getting Andy Dalton instead. Chicago already has a solid defense but has always been dragged down by its offense. If the Bears are finally respectable on that end of the field, they will be a tough battle for the Packers.
The Minnesota Vikings are right behind Green Bay at +250 and even beat the Packers last season. Their offense can be pretty explosive with Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook all ready to go. Their defense was the biggest problem as they couldn’t stop a fly last season. Assuming they make some adjustments and improve that unit, they could keep up with Green Bay offensively, which not many teams can do.
Finally, we have the Detroit Lions. Detroit is the one team that isn’t expected to compete for the NFC North title because it is in the midst of a rebuild. The Lions traded longtime starting quarterback Mathew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff, who could be their quarterback of the future if all things go well. Goff has a couple of solid young running backs to take some pressure off him but the team doesn’t have much talent in the receiving corps – especially after Kenny Golladay walked in free agency.
Their defense showed signs of improvement, but they are too young to be able to determine how good they are. Green Bay will have to battle it out through both Minnesota and Chicago in order to win this division, with both teams making a good claim to win it this season. The Packers can’t take these teams lightly or else they could be screwed over by a tiebreaker at the end of the season.
To Win the NFC (+600)
The Packers finished the regular season with the best record in the conference, but it didn’t help them win the NFC title. Remember, the NFL conference odds are focused on who wins the conference in the playoffs and represents the conference in the Super Bowl.
The Packers are hoping for different results but the path is going to be much harder than last season. The Buccaneers will yet again stand in their way behind seven-time Super Bowl winner Brady, who is back along with every single starter from their Super Bowl season. Tampa Bay’s offense and defense have proven to be incredible at times, which could easily knock Green Bay out of contention in the postseason. Then you have the Rams, who grabbed Stafford in a trade during the offseason. Pairing Stafford up with Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods was a fantastic idea as this will be the best team that the veteran quarterback has had throughout his career.
Not to mention the fact that Los Angeles also has Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey on defense. Even the Arizona Cardinals could cause some problems for the Packers down the line. Green Bay has had trouble containing mobile quarterbacks and Kyler Murray could light them up. He also has DeAndre Hopkins to throw the football to and a new running back in James Conner. Their defense also took a step forward, hopefully getting Chandler Jones back despite his trade request, and the addition of J.J. Watt and Zaven Collins round out some of their issues up front.
All three of these teams are expected to compete for the NFC title in 2021, so the route for the Packers is incredibly difficult. They are going to need to shake off the loss from last season if they want a chance.
To Win the Super Bowl (+1200)
The Super Bowl Odds for them to win it all are at 12/1. If the team is able to fight their way through the NFC conference, they would still face a very tough battle in the Super Bowl. One of those possible matchups are the Kansas City Chiefs, who boast one of the best offenses in the entire league behind Patrick Mahomes. It helps that he has fantastic weapons with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce rounding out their receiving corps. The team also has a solid offensive line after picking up a number of new players to replace the ones they lost during the offseason. Their defense is probably their biggest flaw right now, but they still have quite a bit of talent to set them apart from the rest of the league.
The Buffalo Bills are another team that could challenge Green Bay for the Lombardi Trophy. Buffalo has a team similarly structured to Green Bay with an above-average defense and an offense that is built around a quarterback-wide receiver duo. Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs were terrorizing opposing defenses all last season and they are expected to do that once again.
They will have to improve their offensive line in order to get a consistent rushing attack going, but the second they do that, this team will become unstoppable offensively. Their defense has a couple of issues that they need to work out, but their secondary is fast and competent. Another team in contention is the Baltimore Ravens, who are led by Lamar Jackson. He’s a mobile quarterback who could give the Green Bay defense fits. The Ravens even improved the receiving corps to give him more weapons to work with.
The Packers are going to have a tough time dealing with any of those aforementioned teams. The only way they win Super Bowl betting matchups against them would be if they win the defensive battle, which may seem unlikely, but their defense is going to be critical to them winning the Super Bowl or falling out of the playoffs early.