The Packers won their 14th NFL Title and their 4th Super Bowl with a 31-26 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Dallas on Sunday. After the celebration was over people, including me, started to look towards next season. My question for the next seven months is whether or not the Packers can repeat as NFL Champs, even with that target on their back.
No team has done it since the Patriots nine years back and the Packers may need till 2013 to wait for their 5th Super Bowl title with a possible lockout for next season.
Aaron Rodgers will be the key for this team and they should have more talent on the field than they did in their Super Bowl run. They will return All star Greg Jennings at WR and they will try and keep their entire O-line. Athletic Tight End JerMichael Finley will return from injury to add another receiving weapon for Super Bowl MVP Aaron Rodgers. Running Back Ryan Grant will return to the backfield along with John Starks, who came alive in the playoffs, to try and add another dimension to their offense. Their offense was a Top 10 offense last season and look to be poised for a one than better last season.
On the defensive side the Packers will return All-star's CB Charles Woodson and OLB Clay Matthews along with DT B.J. Raji, CB Tremon Williams, S Nick Collins, and LB A.J. Hawk. S Atari Bigby and LB Nick Barnett will return from injuries. The Packers are also negotiating to get Johnny Jolly back to the line-up after a suspension last season. If this defense stays healthy then they can be one of the best in the league.
It will be hard for the Packers to get back to the pinnacle of the sports world but it can be done with this young team. If they stay relatively healthy for the season you could very possibly see them collecting their 5th Lombardi Trophy in Indianapolis.
5 Teams looking to knock off the Packers...
Jets- They could head into the season as favorites in the AFC after two straight AFC Championship appearances and returning a strong young team.
Colts- As long as Peyton Manning is on the roster the Colts are in the Super Bowl race. Hopefully they will have a healthy receiving core this season and Bob Sanders can be healthy for once.
Falcons- The Falcons surprised everyone with a stellar season but it was cut short by the Packers. Matt Ryan, Roddy White and Michael Turner will be the stars but the defense needs to get better.
Ravens- This team is aging on defense but their offense in getting better every season. We'll see if Joe Flacco and Ray Rice can counter the strong defense.
Patriots- NFL MVP Tom Brady will look to take the Lombardi Trophy back to Foxboro after a disappointing end to their 2010-2011 campaign.
Others that could surprise...
Texans- Everyone thought they would have a breakout season last year but it didn't work out. With all the hype died down look for them to make their first playoff appearance in the franchise history.
Lions- The Lions won four straight heading into the end of the 2010-2011 season, including one over the Packers and can't wait to get Matt Stafford back under center. This young team could be successful for a losing franchise.
49ers- High expectations in the pre-season last year didn't work out but with Jim Harbaugh taking over command they could take over in the weak NFC West.