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2012 NFL Preview: Packers look to improve on defence

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Justin Boone, TSN.ca
8/30/2012 12:42:00 PM
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Reasons To Believe

1. Unstoppable Offence
- Any fantasy football fan can tell you that the Green Bay offence is one of the surest things going in the NFL. That begins with Aaron Rodgers, who seemlessly took over for Brett Favre and has developed into arguably the best quarterback in the league. They had the number one scoring offence in 2011, averaging an even 35 points per game. Having not lost a single skill position player, outside of aging veteran Ryan Grant, the Packers will continue to find the end zone with ease.

2. Another Great Catch
- If Greg Jennings and Donald Driver weren't enough, the Packers watched as Jordy Nelson emerged as a dangerous threat, posting 15 touchdowns a year ago. James Jones, a skilled pass catcher in his own right, and lightning fast rookie Randall Cobb, rounded out Green Bay's top five last season. This year, Cobb is no longer a rookie and his talent can no longer be denied. He could step into the slot for the Packers and add another explosive element to their attack.

3. Help For Clay - The Packers didn't like the amount of attention that Clay Matthews received from blockers last season. In an effort to remedy that Green Bay took Perry, who will line up on the opposite side and attempt to bring the same type of pressure. After a slow start to the preseason, Perry has begun to grasp the defensive scheme. Perry should bring life to a position that severely unerachieved for Green Bay a year ago.

Reasons To Doubt

1. Blocking The Blindside
- Marshall Newhouse left a lot to be desired at the left tackle position in 2011. Newhouse also suffered a preseason concussion that shouldn't be an issue, but it does add an extra layer of risk. With Derek Sherrod out indefinitely with a broken leg, the Packers have little depth to turn to in case of an extended injury.

2. Missing Matt Flynn - If something were to happen to Rodgers, who is the current NFL MVP, the Packers would go from Super Bowl contenders to playoff hopefuls. Graham Harrell stepped into the backup role left open by Flynn's departure. Harrell knows the system well, but he hasn't shown well in the preseason. Third stringer B.J. Coleman is a seventh round rookie and is in no way ready to take regular season snaps. A serious Rodgers' injury would end Green Bay's title hopes.

3. Secondary Shuffle - Veteran Charles Woodson will be used much differently this season, lining up at strong safety in the team's base defence. That opens a cornerback spot up across from Tramon Williams. Rookie Casey Hayward and second year man Davon House will fight for the right to be a full-time player in Dom Capers' defence. Morgan Burnett will step in for Nick Collins at free safety, after Collins was released in the spring.

What To Expect

Green Bay's season will come down to how their defence can perform in the playoffs. Barring major injuries, the Packers should win their division and return to the post-season, but if their defence can't get back to the level they played at two seasons ago, they won't be able to contend for the Lombardi Trophy.

Clay Matthews (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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