The Green Bay Packers begin a new era in the 2023/24 NFL season with long-time quarterback Aaron Rodgers having been traded to the New York Jets.
The saga of whether the Super Bowl XLV MVP would stay or go has been a fairly tedious debate that has overshadowed everything the team has done over the last few seasons, particularly since the team selected Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
Packers fans are hoping Love can emulate the career path of Rodgers, who rode the bench behind Brett Favre in his first three seasons before becoming the starter and went on to win the Super Bowl and be named NFL MVP four times.
Love is very much an unknown commodity still, having made only one start in the league, with three TDs and three interceptions thrown in his 10 NFL appearances.
The team's defense is well stocked with talent and Love is supported by plenty of young potential stars on offence, but it may take time for the team to return to the level they were able to play at in the Rodgers era.
Click here to read all NFL Season Outlooks for the 2023/24 season.
|What||NFL Season 2023/24|
|When||Thursday, September 7th 2023 - Sunday, February 11th 2024|
|Packers Odds||To win Super Bowl LVIII +5000, to win the NFC +2200, to win the NFC North +380|
3rd NFC North (8-9)
The Packers disappointingly fell short of the playoffs last season, finishing third in the NFC North after winning the division in the previous three seasons.
They finished with a losing record for the first time under head coach Matt LaFleur and are +195 to make the playoffs this season.
It is highly unusual to see the Packers rated joint-last in the odds to win the NFC North, as they have often been favorites for the division in recent seasons.
So much rests on Love's performance and it really could go either way with the young passer. Nothing he did on the practice field ever suggested he was going to challenge Rodgers to claim the starting job early and there have been mixed messages from his limited playing time.
He gave the impression that he may have made the required progress when replacing an injured Rodgers in a 40-33 loss to the Eagles last season, throwing for 113 yards including a sweet 63-yard touchdown to Christian Watson.
The speedy Watson, along with Romeo Doubs and rookies Jayden Reed and TE Luke Musgrave give Love an extremely young set of receiving options but it will be interesting to see what that unit looks like after they have progressed together for a couple of seasons.
The Packers can still lean on a solid running game with Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon being one of the best one-two punches in the league, while on defence their cornerback and linebacker groups are among the best around.
The Packers are -110 to have either over or under 7.5 regular-season wins this season and exceeding that doesn't look out of reach unless Love proves to be nowhere near up to the required standard.
In their first season post-Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have the joint-longest odds to win the NFC North at +400.
They are +170 to make the playoffs, +2800 to win the NFC, and +6000 to win the Super Bowl.
In the MVP odds, Jordan Love is +5000 to win the award.
Lukas Van Ness, the 13th-overall pick in the 2023 draft, has the sixth-shortest odds to win Defensive Rookie of the Year at +1200.
The Packers are -180 to win under 8.5 regular season games.
The name everyone wanted to see on the Packers' schedule – the New York Jets – is not there, but they do have a couple of early primetime TV appearances with a Thursday night game at home to the Lions in Week 4 and then a Monday night game in Week 5 as they head to the Las Vegas Raiders.
The key NFC North showdowns against the Minnesota Vikings are in Weeks 8 and 17, with arguably the toughest test of the year coming in another Monday game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 13. They do head to New York the following week, but it's to play the Giants, not the Jets.
Matt LaFleur will be starting his fifth season as head coach of the Green Bay Packers even though he is still just 43 years old.
He has coached in the NFL since joining the Houston Texans as an offensive assistant in 2008, and also worked for the Commanders and Falcons before becoming offensive coordinator of the Rams in 2017.
He filled the same role for the Titans the following year before being hired by Green Bay. The Packers won the division in his first three seasons, giving him a healthy head coaching record of 47-19 in the regular season, with two wins and three losses in the playoffs.
S Tarvarius Moore (San Francisco 49ers)
S Jonathan Owens (Houston Texans)
C DJ Scaife (Miami Dolphins)
QB Aaron Rodgers (New York Jets)
WR Allen Lazard (New York Jets)
TE Robert Tonyan (Chicago Bears)
WR Randall Cobb (New York Jets)
DT Jarran Reed (Seattle Seahawks)
DE Dean Lowry (Minnesota Vikings)
|Offensive MVP||Jordan Love|
|Defensive MVP||Jaire Alexander|
|Top rookie||Luke Musgrave (2nd round)|
|Breakout star||Christian Watson|
The Packers have plenty of young offensive pass-catchers but that talent will go to waste if Love can't get them the ball, so the entire success of the Packers' offence is in his hands.
If he can't get it done, defences will focus on stopping the run game and everything could grind to a halt. Cornerback Jaire Alexander was one of those high draft picks the Packers spent on defensive players all the time Aaron Rodgers was screaming for more offensive weapons.
They still have the benefit of those picks, however, and Alexander has turned into a key player, rated as one of the top five corners in the league by some observers.
The first player the Packers drafted this year was defensive end Lukas Van Ness, but they may have signed a more important player with their second pick of tight end Luke Musgrave.
The Packers have lost the reliable Robert Tonyan this season and the early signs are that the rookie TE has the smooth moves to seamlessly replace him in the starting lineup.
If Love is up to the job, then Watson should really shine in his second season. The speedy wide receiver connected with Love for a long-distance score against the Eagles last season and if the pair can recreate that on a regular basis, the Packers might not miss Rogers as much as some people think.
Odds displayed within this article were correct at the time of writing and are subject to change.