Packers Picked First and Worst Following Schedule Release

Packers Picked First and Worst Following Schedule Release

With Jordan Love replacing Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers are entering the great unknown.

With Love and a young group of receivers, the offense could flourish. With a lot of high-profile talent, the defense could finally be more bite than bark.



But with a young quarterback, you never really know. Rodgers went 0-7 in games decided by four points or less when he replaced Brett Favre in 2008. The Packers went 6-10 in 2008 but 11-5 in 2009, kicking off an extended run of regular-season excellence.



Packers Picked First and Worst Following Schedule Release

With the release of the 2023 NFL Schedule on Thursday, here are a series of projections.



First, it’s the first-place prediction.

Sports Illustrated: 10-7

Here’s a surprise:’s Gilberto Manzano has the Packers winning the NFC North, a division in which all four starting quarterbacks have a lot to prove.

The key will be how quickly Love meshes with receiver Christian Watson and rookie tight ends Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft. However, with plenty of experienced talent on the defense, the Packers might be “the surprise team in the NFC.”

In this projection, the Lions made the playoffs as a wild card, while the Vikings plunged from 13-4 to 6-11 and the Bears improved only a bit to 5-12.



Packers Picked First and Worst Following Schedule Release

Now, it’s the doom-and-gloom scenario. 6.4 Wins



NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund projected the 53-man rosters and simulated every game 100,000 times to come up with her last-place prediction.

Only the Arizona Cardinals wound up with fewer wins than Green Bay. Obviously, Love is a “tricky” projection. More will be known in November, Frelund said, which is when the Packers will embark on a four-game stretch of at the Steelers, home against the Chargers, at the Lions and home against the Chiefs.

Here are some other projections.

Strat-O-Matic: 9-8



Packers Picked First and Worst Following Schedule Release

Fans of a certain age will remember the Strat-O-Matic game played with dice and player cards. Strat-O-Matic has an electronic version, which was used for this simulation.

Via a promotional e-mail: “Love completes 330 of 544 passes (60.7%) for 3,853 yards and 23 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Aaron Jones (1,324 yards, 8 TDs) and A.J. Dillon (1,017 yards, 10 TDs) help carry the load offensively by both rushing for more than 1,000 yards, and Love’s primary pass catchers are Christian Watson (71 receptions for 1,051 yards, seven TDs), Romeo Doubs (64 for 698 and two scores) and Jones with 58 for 503 and three TDs. Rookie Jayden Reed added 51 catches for 761 yards and 4 touchdowns.”

That was enough for the Packers to get into the playoffs as a wild card. After knocking off the Saints, Green Bay was eliminated by the Vikings.

Packers Picked First and Worst Following Schedule Release

Packer Central: 9-8
In case you missed it, here are our game-by-game predictions. Admittedly, nine wins seems a bit rich – Rodgers went 6-10 in his first year with a more experienced receiver corps – but the schedule isn’t that difficult, regardless of the strength-of-schedule prism you choose.

Pro Football Network: 8-9

As Ian Valentino notes, the Packers will open the season against five opponents that didn’t qualify for the playoff last season. That could get Love and an “exciting” young core of skill-position players off to a good start and perhaps put the team in position to beat the eight-win projection.

Bleacher Report: 8-9

It’s “going to take time” for Love to hit stride with his group of young skill-position weapons, wrote Kristopher Knox. But there are “questions surrounding” the Lions, Vikings and Bears, as well, meaning the Packers should at least be in the hunt in the NFC North.

ESPN: Under the Vegas projection of 7.5 points

At FanDuel Sportsbook, the over/under on victories for the Packers is 7.5.

Tyler Fulghum, a member of ESPN’s betting analytics team, said the Packers are going to face a “pretty big shock” when it realizes how many “warts” Rodgers helped the team overcome. He might be right. With Love, the offense is going to take a step back from last year’s mediocre level and the team might finish in the NFC North basement.

In division odds at FanDuel, Green Bay and Chicago are tied for the longest-odds to win the North; Detroit is the heavy favorite following the schedule release.

The 33rd Team: 7-10

The transition from Rodgers to Love “cannot be overstated,” the authors wrote, meaning the Packers will “struggle to score points” even more than last season and finish in last place in the North.


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