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Heart and Head Predictions For the Packers' 2014 Season

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Heart and Head Predictions For the Packers' 2014 Season

It's that time of year again when prognosticators and pundits around this here United States (and sometimes beyond) try to give us their vision of how the future plays out in the National Football League for the upcoming season. Longtime readers of this site will know that every year around this time I like to throw my hat into the ring and give you, dear reader, my own Heart and Head predictions for the upcoming Green Bay Packers season. 

So here goes. 

Heart: 14-2 Super Bowl Champs

Head: 11-5, Lose in the NFC Championship Game To the Saints In New Orleans. 

That's right - I think the Saints get home field advantage throughout the playoffs, and when that happens, well, it's Say Goodnight, Gracie for the rest of the NFC. 

Starting with three out of four on the road will be a big, big test for a Packers offense that has suddenly become young at the offensive skill positions (not to mention at center). There will undoubtedly be a few hiccups along the way in the month of September as a result.

With that said, I expect the defense to be improved, if not by leaps and bounds, then by increments. 

Mike Daniels is a big reason for hope up front, as are the bookends, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers. And if the edges were the most important, this particular set of defensive personnel would be well situated to dominate offenses in 2014.

However, up the middle is traditionally where the best NFL defenses have been strongest, and the middle of this Packers D sets up to be the weak spot for the Green and Gold.

B.J. Raji's injury left the team perilously thin in the middle of the defensive line, to go along with an already-weak inside linebacker corps. Yes, Hawk and Jones and/or Lattimore and/or Barrington will be serviceable - but not much more than that. And certainly not dynamic. 

And speaking of a lack of dynamic play makers, the safety position, while certainly improved from 2013, still doesn't seem to have a player who can change a game the way LeRoy Butler or Nick Collins could.

Micah Hyde is a fine football player, a damn good one actually, and McCarthy's obvious affection for the 2nd year player out of Iowa is well-deserved. But he's not a difference maker, neither at safety nor at corner. 

Last April's NFL Draft saw the Packers select Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix in the first round, and lo did Packers fans rejoice. After the clown-car that was the safety position in 2013, Clinton-Dix was here to restore honor and integrity to the back end of Dom Capers' crazy blitzes. 

Then we got to spring and summer workouts, and lo and behold, Clinton-Dix was running with the second team. And, on the doorstep of the season,  it doesn't look like he's passed the converted cornerback on the depth chart.

All of this, without mentioning the "veteran" of the group, Morgan Burnett. Lots of pixels have been used and ink spilled in article and blog posts alike telling me how a new and improved running mate, whether Hyde or Clinton-Dix, will fix much of what ailed Burnett last year. 

I'm sorry. I just don't buy it. 

Now, this has been a lot of negative nay-saying up to this point. I bet many of you with itchy trigger fingers are already in the comments telling me off.

For those of you still reading - first, thank you. 

Secondly, let me make clear that I think this Packers team is incredibly talented. When you put Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, Jordy Nelson, Clay Matthews, Mike Daniels, Julius Peppers, Tramon Williams, Sam Shields and Casey Hayward on the same roster, well, I certainly think that's one of the better groups of talent in the league. 

The Packers will undoubtedly score a bunch of points on offense. The defense will be better. (And it doesn't need to be fantastic - just respectable.)

However, the rest of the NFL isn't static either.

It's funny, because all offseason the media has asked the question "Have the Packers done enough to close the gap with the Seahawks and 49ers?" while ignoring what will most likely be the best team in the conference down in New Orleans.

But that's my head talking.

My heart says the Packers will surprise almost everyone, march to an incredible 14-2 record, tear through the playoffs and hoist the Lombardi down in Arizona. If they can just stay relativley healthy, they damn sure have the talent (and the quarterback) to do it. 

And when in doubt, listen to your heart. 

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (59) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

FITZCORE1252's picture

12-4, SB champs. Our D will hold its own, more picks, sacks will be abundant. The O is the most balanced under this regime, defenses will be in a quandary. With just a little good luck from the injury gods, this team can beat anybody. Anywhere.

Allan Murphy's picture

One game at a time that's how the packers roll go Pack go !

4thand1's picture

you suck

packeraaron's picture

If you're going to insult him for having an opinion, please be original. Responding with "you suck" is 10x worse than anything Cow has written on this site.

4thand1's picture

To be honest, "you suck" best describes a person who constantly bashes everything the Packers are trying to achieve. I guess the best thing to do is just not respond to his posts. Very few in here believe he or she, is a Packer fan anyway. By the way he has only one opinion, "the Packers suck", and that's 100X worse IMO.

Tundraboy's picture

I agree. Never thought I'd miss him but annoy, yes like end of last year, but It's not personal like a few others. Especially the last two weeks.

DraftHobbyist's picture

Stroh, you just posted with absolutely no information about the Packers or football. You have no right to call anybody a troll.

As for the predictions, 11-5 just feels right, and not making the Super Bowl also feels right. This team has holes. DL is in a terrible position to start the season, and it's only going to be harder to find them as the season progresses and injuries happen. The only thing that is giving me hope is that these players seem to be on a mission. I don't believe in Capers, so I'm also upset that we will have yet another year wasted by his defense. The guy doesn't know how to adjust.

Bearmeat's picture

That response is a running joke packeraaron. Cow can't be reasoned with - (He's the guy who said 6-10 last year WITH a healthy ARod all season) so it's usually best to just dismiss him.

Tundraboy's picture

Exactly. That is for children's sites like ESPN.

packeraaron's picture

I never answered your question because I have no idea where the losses will come. That's why we watch.

But it won't be Thursday.

4thand1's picture

I really don't see a win. The crowd gives Seattle a huge advantage. If the Packers keep it to under the 5.5 point spread I'll be happy. Of course I'll be happier with a win. The over/under should be under 40. Its why we watch. If this game were in GB, I'd bet on the Pack.
GOPACKGO!

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Glad Cow knows it is just a joke. But I do agree that Cow quite often makes astute comments, along with a great deal of negativity. Even though I often disagree with Cow, I think his posts are great and often funny. I am loving me some COW!!

DraftHobbyist's picture

IMO, that's the best way to do a prediction. Too many people take it game by game, but there are upsets every year. It's best to have a feel for the team and predict based off that feel.

The GrEEn kNiGhT's picture

I have told all my friends that I fear Saints more than Seattle or 49ers. Saints are very dangerous. Great D and amazing O. But I think we can match their O. 13-3 and SuperBowl! 14 Championships in 2014! 14 in 14!

packeraaron's picture

Mine too.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

If you guys think that the middle of the Packers defense will prevent them from have a chance at an NFL Championship I'm curious how you think the middle of the Saints and Patriots defenses are going to get to the Super Bowl?

packeraaron's picture

Saints safeties are probably the best tandem in the game. And they play so much 3 man line with only 3 LBs at the same time, the weakness at ILB is somewhat negligible. The front 3 in NO are much better than the front 3 in GB. Cameron Jordan had the light come on last year as well.

As for the Pats, even coming off injury, Wilfork is light-years better than anyone the Packers will throw out there this year. And Chandler Jones is at least as good as Daniels, if not better. Throw in Jamie Collins and you have some real dynamic players up front and in the middle for the Pats that just don't exist as options for the Pack. Mayo is better than any ILB in GB. Throw in McCourty, and the Pats are pretty much better on all three levels.

Tundraboy's picture

Better so far. Let's see what unfolds. You said we sure as hell have the talent. I'm all in going with the heart. Packers 2014!!! .

Jamie's picture

Did you really just say...

"Throw in McCourty, and the Pats are pretty much better on all three levels."

??

Keep the in-depth analysis flowing, bruh.

NE's added one player - albeit while also losing their best player at the same position, which essentially makes it a wash - to a middle of the road at best defense fr 2013. Could they be better? Sure...that's very possible. But to give them all three levels over GB's defense is just your wet panties for Belichick talking.

cpitt's picture

The Pats (as well as the rest of the pathetic AFC) are going to get absolutely flattened by the Broncos.

DraftHobbyist's picture

I highly doubt New England gets to the Super Bowl. They are lacking at both OG spots, their WR's are still an issue, their playmakers are injury-prone, and their defense is far from elite.

KenEllis's picture

Wow Aaron, I could not agree more with your optimistic or realistic predictions.

I too view the middle of the D as the team's weakest link and what will prevent the Pack from getting to another Super Bowl -- though I view the DLine and (weak rather than "serviceable") ILBers as more of a problem than the Safeties.

11-5 and another home playoff loss in the Divisional round of the playoffs.

MarkinMadison's picture

I think 12-4 is about right. This team will get off to a rocky start, going 2-2, but will get better as the season goes along. The back end of the schedule looks very favorable, so measure the team by how they do when they host New England. After easily clearing 8-8 we will enjoy Cow-free comments sections for the playoff run. Look for the Packers to make it to the NFC title match. Hopefully, they will be peaking and can pull out a win to send them to a Super Bowl. If they can manage that, then they can beat any team that the AFC will put up.

4thand1's picture

Just make the playoffs. By then who knows what will happen by the end of the season. Every team goes through their share of injuries that will effect each team. The Packers, Steelers, and Giants all did it on the road in recent history. This Offense should be dominant and a turnover or two will most likely decide games that matter. I like Rodgers in any dome anywhere.

saltandpeppers's picture

It's funny how Favre's interception at the end of the NFC championship made everyone forget how horrible Brees was. He completed 54% of his passes for 197 yards and fumbled twice. Yes, he threw 3 touchdowns, but it is undeniable that the pressure of the game got to him. Towards the end, I remember observing that he could barely throw a spiral. In overtime, he was bailed out by 2 defensive penalties (including the infamous PI call on Ben Leber).

Think of it another way: The Vikings were minus 3 in turnover differential before Favre's pick and looked like they were certain to win. If Favre runs out of bounds and Longwell makes the field goal, the narrative for Brees is that he is a choke artist who can't win the big game.

All of this is a long way of saying that if it is GB at the Saints for the NFC championship, I'll take the Pack.

KenEllis's picture

What would ARod's narrative be if the D had not bailed him out of the NFC Championship game against the Bears?

I think Brees' performance vs. the Vikes compares favorably to Aaron's 17-30 for 244, with no passing TDs (though 1 running TD) and 2 picks, stinker against Chicago.

4thand1's picture

The pick by Urlacher was bad. I doubt brees would have caught him and saved a TD though. The Bears a had a very good D that year, plus playing outdoors in cold weather. Tell who was the SB MVP again? Oh and the nice warm dome game in Atlanta. How'd Rodgers do there?

KenEllis's picture

Easy trigger. Read the thread. No bigger fan of ARod than me.

However, if the previous poster disparages Brees' by claiming his "narrative" would be completely different had the Saints not prevailed in the NFC Championship game (a game in which Brees threw 3 TDs), then the exact same argument could be said about ARod's narrative being different had the Pack not prevailed against the Bears (a game in which he threw 0 TDs and 2 picks).

PS who was the MVP of the Saints-Colts Super Bowl?

4thand1's picture

Exactly. One game shouldn't be a measuring stick for any player.

Tundraboy's picture

Unless it's a Super Bowl?

CH Pack Fan's picture

The MVP of that SB was Hank Baskett.

saltandpeppers's picture

All I was trying to say was that I'm not buying this notion that if the Saints get home field advantage that you can pencil them into the Super Bowl. I'm basing this on how shaky Brees looked in a home playoff game.

I can see why people interpreted it as they did, but I wasn't trying to disparage Brees as a player.

balding_pastor's picture

We'll see how the year plays out, but I think how quickly Janis and Adams grasp the nuances of the offense is going to be a major factor by the end of this year. Janis in particular intrigues me. He's big and faster than any of the WR's. If Aaron's prediction of GB vs NO @NO comes true, Janis on turf could be huge.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

" Janis and Adams grasp the nuances of the offense "

I'd put Richard Rodgers at the front of that list. If he can have a 500 yard 5 td season I think that goes a long way towards opening up things on the outside for Nelson, Cobb and Boykin.

BTW, if you think those number are modest only 14 rookie TE's have ever done it. http://tinyurl.com/ktcecsn

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I don't disagree with you. What I am saying is the the performance of the TE position is way more important than the 4 and 5 WR's. It helps the receivers and it helps Lacy. I need to see Bostic stay on the field before I am a believer. He has the ability, but not the toughness thus far.

Tundraboy's picture

All true and I think from the type of plays he has made so far he will be our silent assassin. Rodgers that is.

Bearmeat's picture

Heart: 14-2. #1 Seed in NFC. SB Champs.
Head: 12-4. #2 Seed in NFC. (NO is #1). Lose in NFC CG.

NFC East sucks just enough that PHI might grab the #2 seed too, even though IMO GB is better.

NFCW will beat up on each other. They'll have the #4/5 seed (SEA and SF).

The Lions will have the #6 seed.

IMHO

CH Pack Fan's picture

I don't think of "heart vs. head" when trying to predict the 2014 Pack results. Rather, I would just like to have a crystal ball about potential injuries to the following Pack players (really all players, but these are the most critical): ARodgers, Lacy and CM3. If those guys play all year, we have a great chance to win the SB. If some or all of them miss significant chunks of time, it does not matter whether using heart or head. Also (and this ties into ARodgers' health), we are awfully thin at OL without Barclay and a currently injured Tretter. A key long term injury to any OL starter will either harm the GBP win-loss record, ARodgers, or both.

But…...If the old saw that the middle of your Defense is key, then this year will end up without another Lombardi trophy. No Raji, Hawk, B. Jones, Burnett and Hyde/Ha-Ha is the absolute weakest part of our D, and frankly, perhaps the worst middle of a D in the NFC.

As for other NFC teams, I think that SF takes a step back this year, for a number of reasons.

Even though I don't really see the holes in Seattle now, history tells us that the SB Champ will take a step back (in the last 8 seasons, I believe the defending SB Champ has not even won 1 playoff game).

I agree that NO is improved from a year ago, but other than the home field advantage of the SuperDome, I do not think they are better than a healthy GBP. I do fear our D is not good enough to turn Brees mortal, because of all of the Big 4 QBs in the NFL, I think he is most vulnerable to a great D (unless Peyton is -- both Brady and Rodgers are less effective against a great D as well, of course, but less affected than Brees and Peyton are, IMHO). Hopefully, Peppers, CM3, Daniels, etc. will generate enough pass rush this year and we will be fine.

Nobody in the NFC East or NFC South is relevant for the SB, and the rest of the NFC North teams still have too big of holes to matter.

As for the kickoff game, I am more interested to see how we play as to whether we win. It will be a good gauge to see if we have narrowed the gap or not, but even if we win, I will not order tickets for Glendale just yet. Similarly, even if we lose, it is a long season, and injuries and home field have as much to do with making the SB as anything…

I think we go 7-1 or 8-0 in last 8 games, so just need to go at least 4-4 in first 8, and we will be fine.

Either way, I will spend WAY too much time over the next 5 months obsessing about it. God, I love football.

Kevin McDonnell's picture

12 & 4... Super Bowl champs. No heart necessary. The middle LB's have looked bad because of non-athletic d-lineman. Mike Daniels, Josh Boyd, and Datone Jones are on the rise. Pass rush will help a significantly better back end in the form of turnovers.

A young WR core doesn't matter when you have Boykin, Cobb, and Nelson. Not to mention three great running backs chomping at the bit to rack up yardage. If you can control thep ground game you can kee
p Drew or any othe QB off the field. The Packers will doexactly that in 2014.

Tundraboy's picture

Great analysis and view That's it in a nutshell. In my heart. I say of course Yes they can run the table. if most things fall in place with injuries, one, two, or even a few players making incredible jumps. . Head says, as we all saw last year and know, Can you really win it all without a strong Middle? . NO. only in your dreams ILB play will be the X factor. So I'm dreaming.

Either way this is going to be a great year to watch and see. (unless the injuries do not stop, please!!!) . 14 in 14. Here we go. Enjoy everyone.!!!! You too Cow

Pack is back, . Since 64

packeraaron's picture

"The middle LB's have looked bad because of non-athletic d-lineman"

Uh, no. The inside linebackers have looked bad because they're not very good.

packsmack's picture

15-1, 15-1

egbertsouse's picture

I can't buy the "much improved D" at this point. It seems like it will be the usual suspects plus an aging Peppers running another of Caper's obsolete '90's schemes. Barring injury, I think the O will be tough. 11-5 and bounced out the 1st round of the playoffs would be my guess. I hope I'm wrong. I will now brace myself for the screams of troll and calls for my banning...

Imma Fubared's picture

IMHO this team is not deep in talent. Too many what if players like D Jones, N Perry. In other words a lot of guys on D that 'if' they perform this can be a competitive team.
Rogers can only be expected to do so much on offense. He has never passed for a TD from the bench and I want to see this D get off the field this year. If not I actually see them missing the playoff's. For me if the 'what if's that will decide things.

Tundraboy's picture

Yes some.IFS but if they do it is not to be competitive. It is to be championship caliber

packeraaron's picture

"Too many "good" teams on this year's schedule"

You have no idea which teams will be good. None. And teams that looks "Good" in September could easily be "bad" by November.

This is why I don't go down the schedule and pick wins and losses.

Tundraboy's picture

Have a strong feeling this year you will.

4thand1's picture

Sounds like packeraaron may be hitting the "you suck" button soon, lmao.

packeraaron's picture

Nah. Cow and I go way back. He's pig-headed, but can occasionally make a good point when he's not trying to deliberately troll people...which is unfortunately most of the time.

packeraaron's picture

Maybe if you didn't say it year in and year out while continually being wrong, people would give your opinion more credence.

Also - Link to where I said you were an idiot? I'll wait.

packeraaron's picture

Oh? You predicted Rodgers' injury? I'm going to need a link on that one. I'll wait.

4thand1's picture

Its the snobs in the box seats behind the glass. You can't yell through glass.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

I was there against the 49ers. While I was impressed that the stadium was packed I was also surprised at how timid the fans were.

We were in the end zone where I felt obligated to loose my voice by the end of the game. I actually had people look at me funny for yelling when Kaepernick was making his line calls in our end zone and before that I had a guy yell at the people behind us for standing. Yes... Standing!

cpitt's picture

How about if the Packers beat the Seahawks or go better than 10-6, then you disappear forever?

I guarantee you don't have the nerve to take that wager and even less nerve to actually hold yourself accountable when one or both of those actually happens.

4thand1's picture

Banging your chest thinking you predicted a 8-7-1 season , when you predicted 6-10 is ludicrous. With Rodgers they go at worst 11-5, maybe 12-4. I have to say it...................you suck. We've beat this horse to death, you were dead wrong, but won't admit it.

JimTaylor31's picture

The NFC is very tough to predict. I see NO, SF, SEA, GB and even Philly all being very capable of winning it all. I think the margin between these teams is very thin and whoever is hottest at the end will take it all. My heart says the Packers but my head says NO or Philly. I just think those two may have the benefit of the schedule in their division and will probably get home field.

cpitt's picture

13-3, 1st round bye. Take down Lions in the divisional playoffs, then Seahawks in the NFC Championship at Lambeau.

Packers over Broncos 41-38 with Crosby hitting a 46 yarder as time expires.

Sb Champs

Jamie's picture

The only thing I take away from this entire post and comment thread is Nag's disgusting defense of a known POS troll that only gets to hang around because Nag's gets a kick out of him (along with being an unsponsored click baiter...a man after Nag's own heart).

He'll block folks at the first sign of descension on Twitter, yet goes along with this charade that Cowtard is a real fan, just an opposing opinion. Of the many, many faults Nag's has, completely lacking perception is not one of them.

bratwursted's picture

If the defense is just serviceable I'd feel pretty hopeful this season. We will see after tomorrow night's debut. My head is never right about these things anyway, so going with my heart: 11-5 Super Bowl champs.

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"The Bears still suck!"
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."