2011 Green Bay Packers Prediction and Preview

2011 Green Bay Packers Prediction and PreviewFor a team that was considered a Super Bowl contender before the season started and then won the Big One, 2010 was a roller coaster of a season for the Green Bay Packers.

The Pack began last season getting right around 11/1 at most online sportsbooks to win the Super Bowl. But going into the last couple of weeks of the season the Packers sat at 8-6 (all six losses coming by four points or less) and on the verge of missing the playoffs. The Packers then beat the Giants and Bears to sneak into the playoffs as a wild-card, then won three playoff games on the road before beating Pittsburgh 31-25 for their fourth Super Bowl title.

Green Bay went 9-7 ATS last regular season, and is now 40-23-1 ATS over the last four seasons. The Packers also went 6-10 on the over/unders last year, as Packers games averaged just 39 total points per, thanks mainly to a defense that only allowed 15 PPG, second-best in the league.

The Packers only ranked 24th in the league in rushing at 100 YPG, using instead their quick-strike passing game, powered by QB Aaron Rodgers and one of the best receiving corps in the league, to move the ball. Then in the playoffs they got some decent production out of the ground game, thanks to some bursts from rookie James Starks.

Overall the Packers ranked seventh in the league in total yardage at +49 YPG.

Green Bay was not expected to do much on the free-agent market this summer. Instead the Packers will benefit from the return of guys like RB Ryan Grant and TE Jermichael Finley, who got knocked out last year by injuries. The Pack also, unexpectedly, resigned WR James Jones, and drafted Kentucky WR/KR Randall Cobb, who could upgrade the return teams. The Packers did part ways with a couple of veterans on the O line, so they’ve got a couple holes to fill, but offensively Green Bay is a dangerous outfit.

On defense GB lost DT Cullen Jenkins and three linebackers, including Nick Barnett. And while they ranked fifth overall last year, allowing 309 YPG, they also only ranked 18th vs. the run at 115 YPG. But they still have a bunch of playmakers, led by LB Clay Matthews and CB Charles Woodson, and the bend-don’t-break thing seems to work for them.

This year’s schedule only includes five games against teams that made the playoffs last year, but also visits to San Diego and the Giants, plus the usual two games with the Vikings and improving Lions. Overall Green Bay’s strength-of-schedule is tied for 13th-toughest in the league.

Bodog.eu is listing the Packers as 7/2 favorites to win the NFC this season, and as 7/1 second favorites to win the Super Bowl, with a regular-season wins over/under of 11.5. We don’t like the short odds, but 12 wins seems a good bet.