Packers have renewed hope with Rodgers, LaFleur at helm

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 30: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts in the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on December 30, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - DECEMBER 30: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers reacts in the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on December 30, 2018 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Aaron Rodgers and Matt LaFleur have been one of the most talked-about duos in the sport. Now they get to prove their mettle on the field.

Best-case scenario

New head coach Matt LaFleur has been part of the Falcons and Rams’ offensive success in recent years. He worked under Sean McVay in 2017, and Kyle Shanahan during Matt Ryan’s MVP season.

If LaFleur can make the first-year impact McVay did in Los Angeles, the Packers offense will be fun to watch. More importantly, it will be tough for defenses to stop. A high-scoring, creative offense could be the key for the Packers to get back to the top of the NFC.

In a best-case scenario, the offense dominates, and the defense takes a step forward in its second year led by Mike Pettine. If that happens, we could be looking at a Super Bowl contender.

Worst-case scenario

Simply turn on the tape from 2018.

Aaron Rodgers suffered a knee injury in the season opener, one he struggled to play through for much of the year. Off-the-field issues were placed under the spotlight, primarily the relationship between Rodgers and then-head coach Mike McCarthy.

The team won just six games, McCarthy was fired before the end of the season, and an offseason of change followed.

LaFleur is supposed to be the answer. But what if it doesn’t go to plan? What if the Packers lose games early? The pressure will be on.

The top storyline throughout the summer has been on how Rodgers and LaFleur will get on. As ridiculous as that may be, a slow start will only increase the speculation. And it could impact the results on the field, leading to another playoff-less season in Green Bay.

Confidence level (Low, medium or high)


Scars from the Packers’ offensive struggles last season remain, and it’s difficult to have high confidence in a brand new coaching staff.

That said, a fresh approach and a new offense is exactly what this team needed. LaFleur could well be the coach to get Aaron Rodgers back to his MVP best.

Over on defense, the Packers spent big to land free agents Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Adrian Amos, while also drafting Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage in the first round. Packers fans should be excited about this defense.

There’s a lot of uncertainty, but fans can be quietly confident about the team’s chances in 2019.


Aaron Rodgers.

Yes, he’s the obvious choice, but Rodgers truly is the Packers’ X-Factor. Far from his best in 2018, the Packers need their two-time MVP to return to form this year. If he does, this team will add their name to a long list of contenders in the NFC. But if Rodgers struggles or gets hurt, forget about it.

The offseason additions on defense are important. Absolutely. They have their part to play this season. But this is Rodgers’ team, and his play on the field will determine how the Packers’ story ends this year.

Turning point

In Week 8, the Packers visit Arrowhead Stadium to meet the Kansas City Chiefs. A clash of two elite quarterbacks takes place in primetime — Aaron Rodgers versus Patrick Mahomes.

Five of Green Bay’s first seven games are at Lambeau Field. Starting against the Chiefs, the Packers play four of their next five on the road. It’s at this stage we’ll learn just how good this Packers team is. They’ll be expected to win a bunch of games at home early in the year, but can they make a huge statement by beating the Chiefs in Week 8? If so, this could be the week the Packers are considered real Super Bowl contenders.

Best moment in team history

For a team with such a rich history, it’s difficult to name the greatest moment. The Green Bay Packers have been fortunate to have three all-time great quarterbacks playing in different eras: Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. All three have been named the league MVP and won championships with the Packers.

Perhaps the Packers’ best moment will arrive in the NFL’s 100th season. How fitting would it be to celebrate a century of NFL football with Rodgers leading the Packers to the team’s fifth Super Bowl championship, bringing the Lombardi Trophy back home to Titletown.