Let’s have a look at what lies ahead for the Green Bay Packers so you can plan your bets against their NFL Team Totals odds.
Green Bay Packers to Take a Step BACK in 2021: Season Betting Preview
The Offseason Drama
Aaron Rodgers has had a well-documented and growing feud with the Packers front office for a couple of years, which came to a head this offseason when he delivered an ultimatum: fire General Manager Brian Gutekunst, or get rid of me. The final result may not be as black and white, but if changes are not made, the dysfunction in Green Bay could continue to grow.
The Packers managed to re-sign most of their important pieces but lost Corey Linsley to the Los Angeles Chargers, and chose to release Christian Kirksey and Rick Wagner. They also opted not to draft a wide receiver with their first-round pick, another vote of confidence against Rodgers, ultimately selecting Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes.
This team will go as Aaron Rodgers goes, so if he does get traded, watch out— with that being said, he is the reigning Most Valuable Player and led the Pack to a 13-3 season in 2020.
Minnesota finished in second place at 8-8 last season behind mediocre quarterback play from Kirk Cousins and a productive but incomplete season from Dalvin Cook. The Vikings brought in veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson to sew up the secondary, although the defense as a whole is nowhere near where it was in 2017 when they reached the NFC Championship game.
The Bears went 7-9 in 2020 and drafted their quarterback of the future, Justin Fields, with the 11th-overall pick in the NFL Draft; he should be expected to see action sooner than later with Andy Dalton and Nick Foles competing for the spot. Fields have a cannon for an arm and ran 4.44 at Ohio State’s Pro Day, giving the Bears a viable dual-threat quarterback not named Mitchell Trubisky (now a Buffalo Bill).
The 4-12 Lions began a new chapter as an organization by trading Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff and a slew of draft picks; Goff will get a new start in a location with lower expectations, albeit in less favorable circumstances. The Lions got Penei Sewell, the best offensive lineman in college football, with the seventh pick, and he should prove to be an impact starter as a rookie.
Schedule Breakdown and Predictions
Green Bay’s over/under for 2021 has been set at 10.5 wins in an extended 17-game season, meaning that the oddsmakers expect much less production from them.
The Packers have a tough schedule with non-divisional home games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington Football Team, Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Rams, and Cleveland Browns. While they are normally solid in Lambeau, the Packers would only be heavily favored to defeat Washington and Seattle and will struggle against the other teams. The mystique of Green Bay’s back-to-back 13-win seasons will wear off, and teams will figure out how to exploit them.
GB will hit the road for intra-divisional contests with the New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, and Baltimore Ravens. Of these, they should beat the Saints in the season opener as Jameis Winston will come out rusty, take down the young Bengals in Cincy, and knock off the Cardinals in Arizona. The other teams all play well at home and should hold serve against last year’s top seed in the NFC Playoffs.
Based on the breakdown above, Aaron Rodgers would need to lead his team to a flawless record against his division rivals to reach 11 wins. As tough as Green Bay’s matchups outside of the division are, they have dominated the NFC North recently, going 11-1 over the past two years. I expect them to run the table again, reach 11 wins, and hit the over.
The Packers are due for a step back, just as the oddsmakers suggest— there is an internal conflict in Green Bay between Rodgers and his head coach and front office, and I do not think that he has enough internal drive to completely put it aside.
The Wisconsin faithful got dealt a tough hand having to play the NFC West and AFC North, perhaps the best divisions in football, and they will have a losing record in these matchups. They will still make the playoffs by virtue of their division but should be expected to get bounced out in the first round.
All it would take is one loss to an NFC North opponent to derail their chances at covering the spread; even still, take the Packers to go over as Aaron Rodgers produces moments of magic in timely situations.