2016 Lions Opponents: Did They Improve? NFC North & More
By Al Stahl
Green Bay Packers
2015 wasn’t the best year for the Packers, but they managed to make the playoffs regardless. When you have the best quarterback in football, you can make up for a lot of poor play and bad luck.
How different is the offense?
|2015 Offensive Starters||Proj. 2016 O Starters|
|LT||David Bakhtiari||LT||David Bakhtiari|
|LG||Josh Sitton||LG||Josh Sitton|
|C||Corey Linsley||C||Corey Linsley|
|RG||T.J. Lang||RG||T.J. Lang|
|RT||Bryan Bulaga||RT||Bryan Bulaga|
|TE||Richard Rodgers||TE||Richard Rodgers|
|WR||Randall Cobb||WR||Jordy Nelson|
|WR||Davante Adams||WR||Randall Cobb|
|WR||James Jones||WR||Davante Adams|
|RB||Eddie Lacy||RB||Eddie Lacy|
|QB||Aaron Rodgers||QB||Aaron Rodgers|
In true Ted Thompson style, the offense is almost identical to last year’s. Rodgers gets his top weapon Jordy Nelson back from injury, otherwise everything else is the same.
So how does the defense look?
|2015 Defensive Starters||Proj. 2016 D Starters|
|DE||Mike Daniels||DE||Mike Daniels|
|DT||BJ Raji||DT||Letroy Guion|
|DE||Letroy Guion||DE||Datone Jones|
|OLB||Clay Matthews||OLB||Clay Matthews|
|ILB||Jake Ryan||ILB||Jake Ryan|
|ILB||Nate Palmer||ILB||Sam Barrington|
|OLB||Julius Peppers||OLB||Julius Peppers|
|CB||Damarious Randall||CB||Damarious Randall|
|FS||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix||FS||Ha Ha Clinton-Dix|
|SS||Morgan Burnett||SS||Morgan Burnett|
|CB||Sam Shields||CB||Sam Shields|
Aside from a little shuffling up front, the defense is almost the exact same as last year. So where are all of the draft picks? The Packers added DT Kenny Clark, who should be in the mix but likely won’t start right away. They also added OT Jason Spriggs and OLB Kyler Fackrell as well as additional OL and LB help but almost none of these picks should make an impact in 2016 barring injuries.
The Packers have made the playoffs seven years in a row. They don’t need to make big changes and they haven’t. Choosing instead to build their roster through the draft for the future. They essentially are returning 20 of 22 starters and getting one of the best receivers in the game back.
The Packers should have 10 wins through their first 12 games and could very well finish with 12 or 13 wins if the defense can play respectably. Green Bay is probably the best team in the NFL at home, and their road schedule is laughable this year. Jacksonville, Atlanta, Tennessee, Washington and Philadelphia make up their road stops outside the NFC North. That’s easily 6 road wins.
Lions’ chances of a road victory: 30%
Lions’ chances of a home victory: 40%
Next: Chicago Bears