The Detroit Lions and NFC North 2021 season preview
By Robert Jones
NFC North first place: Green Bay Packers
The return of Aaron Rodgers with a chip on his shoulder every bit as large as last season as well as his top receiving threat Davante Adams pretty much guarantees the Green Bay Packers another NFC North division title.
This is the last run for Rodgers in Green Bay and he will want to make the most of it. Last season there were questions about the offensive line and there are again. However, it didn’t make a difference last season, and in a season that Rodgers wants to stomp directly all over the Packers front office again, I expect it will continue to mean little.
Aaron Jones is an outstanding, versatile back who will get opportunities to handle the ball and make the most of them. Second-year back, AJ Dillon, is the hammer in Green Bay’s one-two punch and should be productive.
Adams is still one of the top receiving threats in the NFL and the one Rodgers will look to when he needs a big play. Most likely Adans will be open too. The rest of the receiving corps was serviceable last season, but when opposing defenses are busy worrying about Adams that should create opportunities for the Packers’ other receivers.
Tight end Robert Tonyan had a very solid season last year and could be better this year. Mercedes Lewis, Jace Sternberger, and Josiah Deguara are steady if unspectacular depth.
On defense, Kenny Clark is still the Packers’ best defensive lineman, but rookie T.J. Slaton looks like a valuable addition, especially if Clark can’t stay healthy again.
The Smiths, Preston, and Za’Darius will most likely continue to set the pace for pressuring opposing passers at outside linebacker while De’Vondre Campbell and Krys Barnes will patrol the middle. The front seven for the Packers are a hard-hitting, gritty unit that will be good enough to get the job done.
Cornerback Jaire Alexander is among the best in the league and Kevin King on the other side is generally speaking reliable, however, the touchdown he gave up to Scott Miller in the NFC Championship game last season with the first half ending was egregious and one of the plays that decided the contest.
Safeties Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage are a nice pair. Overall the secondary has decent depth that will be important in a league that becomes more and more pass-happy every year.
Yet one way or another this is Aaron Rodgers’ last run in Green Bay, at least that is what he and the Packers would have us believe, and he expects to have a great season and leave the city in tears when it is over with Green Bay celebrating as NFC North champions again.