From Brian E Murphy, Packers Magazine
~It's May of 2019. Do you remember February of 2017? That was when the Atlanta Falcons were blasting the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, by the score of 28-3, late in the third quarter.
They were on top of the world, in front of hundreds of millions of eyes around the world.
Well, we all remember what happened after that. We remember how the Falcons tired out, and how the playcalling at the end of the game was atrocious, saving time for the Patriots to rally late and tie it up, sending it to overtime.
Since then, the Falcons have faded away from the spotlight. They did make the playoffs the following year but lost to the Eagles. Then they faded away in 2018 to an afterthought. Of course, it was the Packers who lost to the Falcons in that NFC Championship game. And we know what the Packers have done since then.
On the flip side, the Rams were terrible then. And not long after that, they went to the Super Bowl and held Tom Brady and the Patriots to one touchdown in the game.
Things change. And they change fast. (True, some things never change, like the Minnesota Vikings never win a Super Bowl.)
That brings us back to the here and now, May of 2019.
The Packers have a new coach, and a whole bunch of new veteran players and talented newcomers. Things will change. And they can change for the better.
Nobody knows how the next season will play out. Not even Las Vegas.
But with Aaron Rodgers, and improved play everywhere from the offensive line, tight end, wide receiver, running back, the defensive line, linebacker, and the defensive backs, there is no reason that the Packers cannot win this division and/or make a run to and deep into the playoffs.
Think about that NFC Championship game loss at the Atlanta Falcons just two and a half years ago. That roster was terrible, at least in that particular ball game after injuries had taken a toll.
The current Packers are better at almost every position than they were for that game, with the same Hall of Fame quarterback but a different coaching staff. Do you believe the coaching staff can be better? Most do. If so, don't discount how important that could be.
Two years ago, the New Orleans Saints were really boosted by a tremendous draft, with Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore becoming playmakers and forces right away.
This year, the Packers have added an extremely gifted safety in Darnell Savage. He is a playmaker. The defense also added three veteran, but still young and improving, starters on defense in Adrian Amos at safety, and the Smiths on the front-7 somewhere or another. They're very versatile. Za'Darius and Preston will make this defense better without a doubt.
Mike Daniels returns after missing much of last season. Kenny Clark is becoming a force.
Kevin King is not injured yet.
Rashan Gary has tremendous skills and will be able to be rotated in when and where his skills are best utilized by defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
The Packers open the NFL season in Chicago on Thursday Night Football on September 5th. They will be slight underdogs per the Vegas pointspreads. This is fair as the Bears did win the division last year. But bare in mind that the Packers almost won at Chicago late last season despite the Bears being much better at the time. This rivalry is often unpredictable, and there's no doubt the Packers can win in Chicago.
That is less than four months away.
If they go in there and steal a win in the Bears stadium, they will instantly become the Vegas betting favorite to win the NFC North. That's how fast things can change.
And then the Packers will have nine days to get ready for the Vikings to come to town on September 15th. Imagine being 2-0.