This article is part of our Team Previews series.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers earned home-field advantage both of the last two years but fell short of competing for the ultimate prize. Changes were made this offseason, but the reigning MVP is on the team, the defense could improve further, and the Super Bowl continues to be the goal in Green Bay.
2022 Offseason Moves – Green Bay Packers
- Sammy Watkins – WR (from Ravens)
The eight-year vet brings experience to an unproven wideout group.
- Quay Walker – LB (Rd. 1, No. 22 – Georgia)
The rookie is set to complement De'Vondre Campbell in the middle.
- Devonte Wyatt – DT (Rd. 1, No. 28 – Georgia)
Brings some burst to the defensive line.
- Christian Watson – WR (Rd. 2, No. 34 – North Dakota State)
The elite athlete will get a chance to contribute right away.
- Romeo Doubs – WR (Rd. 4, No. 132 – Nevada)
Might not make an instant impact but could find the field.
- Davante Adams – WR (to Raiders)
Leaves as large of a gap as possible in the Packers' receiving corps.
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling – WR (to Chiefs)
Heads to the AFC after four years in Green Bay.
- Za'Darius Smith – LB (to Vikings)
Bolsters a division rival and leaves Green Bay thin on the edge.
Green Bay Packers 2022 Coaching Staff
Head Coach: Matt LaFleur (Year 4)
Offensive Coordinator: Adam Stenavich (Year 1) – West Coast offense
Defensive Coordinator: Joe Barry (Year 2) – 3-4 scheme
Stats to Know for the Green Bay Packers
2022 Vegas Projected Wins: 10.5 (T-3rd)
2021 Record: 13-4
2021 Points Scored: 450 (10th)
2021 Points Allowed: 371 (T-13th)
2021 Point Differential: +79 (10th)
2021 Run-Play Rate: 41.4 percent (16th)
2021 Offensive Snaps: 1,072 (T-16th)
2021 PFF O-Line Ranking: No. 14
2022 Green Bay Packers Depth Chart
2022 Green Bay Packers Schedule
|1||Sep 11||@ Minnesota Vikings||4:25 PM|
|2||Sep 18||Chicago Bears||8:20 PM|
|3||Sep 25||@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers||4:25 PM|
|4||Oct 2||New England Patriots||4:25 PM|
|5||Oct 9||New York Giants||9:30 AM|
|6||Oct 16||New York Jets||1:00 PM|
|7||Oct 23||@ Washington Commanders||1:00 PM|
|8||Oct 30||@ Buffalo Bills||8:20 PM|
|9||Nov 6||@ Detroit Lions||1:00 PM|
|10||Nov 13||Dallas Cowboys||4:25 PM|
|11||Nov 17||Tennessee Titans||8:15 PM|
|12||Nov 27||@ Philadelphia Eagles||8:20 PM|
|13||Dec 4||@ Chicago Bears||1:00 PM|
|15||Dec 19||Los Angeles Rams||8:15 PM|
|16||Dec 25||@ Miami Dolphins||1:00 PM|
|17||Jan 1||Minnesota Vikings||4:25 PM|
Green Bay Packers Storylines for 2022
Putting the Valuable in MVP
The second word in MVP – valuable – means different things to different people, but according to the dictionary, as a noun it is "a thing that is of great worth," and as an adjective it describes something "worth a great deal of money."
MVP voters certainly believed Aaron Rodgers was the former the last two years, as he took home the award in both 2020 and 2021. The Packers no doubt considered the latter, as they handed Rodgers a lucrative contract extension in the offseason that could keep him in Green Bay for several more years.
Both definitions will be put to the test in 2022, as both Rodgers and the Packers no longer will count on the services of Davante Adams, who was traded to the Raiders in March. That's a big hole to fill, but the Packers trust they can cover it, and that's in part due to the team going 7-0 in the games Adams missed since Matt LaFleur took over as head coach in 2019. They also have the utmost confidence in a quarterback that had an 85:9 TD:INT over the last two campaigns.
That undefeated streak won't last forever, but the Packers think they can win enough games and better fill other gaps on the roster to negate Adams' absence. As the player distributing the football, Rodgers is the unquestioned key to it all, and he's going to get more chances to prove his worth this season and potentially beyond.
Things won't look any different under center in Green Bay this season, and most of the same skill-position players remain on the roster. However, the departed Davante Adams accounted for 24.2 percent of the yards and 25.0 percent of the touchdowns the Packers netted in 2021, so the void created by his loss opens up opportunities.
The two best offensive players aside from Aaron Rodgers are running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon, who again will be busy in 2022. The duo accounted for 35.9 percent of the team's yards last year, which was about the same mark (36.7) as league leader Jonathan Taylor. Even if both Jones and Dillon receive a boost, a good portion of the leftover yards will go elsewhere. The player most likely to see the biggest increase in chances is Allen Lazard, and if he stays healthy, he should have no trouble setting a career best in total yards and perhaps touchdowns.
Things get shaky after that, as no other jobs will be set in stone until training camp. Robert Tonyan and Randall Cobb both have a double-digit TD season in the past, so they could pick up the slack. The most intriguing option is rookie Christian Watson, but the small-school product isn't a lock to take on a major role. No matter how it breaks down, the Packers offense still should be productive at the helm, even if Adams no longer is the one leading the group.
The Secondary is Primary
It wasn't long ago that the defensive backfield was the weakest spot on the Packers' roster, but that's no longer true, as one could make a case that the team's secondary is among the best in the league thanks to an influx of talent.
The argument starts with four-year pro Jaire Alexander, who was limited to just four games last season. However, he was one of the NFL's best defensive players in 2020, and after signing an extension this offseason, he now is the highest-paid cornerback in terms of average annual value.
Eric Stokes was a rookie corner last fall, but he didn't play like one and was one of the top first-year players in the league. The Packers also snatched CB Rasul Douglas off the Cardinals' practice squad in October, and he wound up tied for fourth in the league with five interceptions.
The leader of the secondary is veteran strong safety Adrian Amos, who has played every game since joining the Packers in 2019 and racked up a career-high 93 tackles in 2021. Finally, free safety Darnell Savage took a step back last year but has rebound potential thanks to his pedigree as a 2019 first-rounder.
The Packers lack depth behind those five players, so it'll be vital for all of them to avoid DNPs. But if they all finish the season on the field, the Packers defense may be even more formidable.
Fantasy Football Stock Watch
⬆️ Rising: WR Allen Lazard
Lazard accumulated a career-best 545 yards from scrimmage last year, but it's tough to see him not topping that mark this season, as he presumably will replace Davante Adams atop the wide receiver depth chart.
⬇️ Falling: WR Sammy Watkins
Despite getting a fresh start in Green Bay, Watkins' stats have ticked down steadily, including the fewest receiving yards and TDs of his career in 2021. It's tough to envision a bounceback for him at 29 years old.
😴 Sleeper: WR Christian Watson
The Packers traded up to select Watson, who is the most promising wideout prospect on the roster. He'll get his fair share of opportunities, and if he and Aaron Rodgers click, the rookie quickly could be a fantasy factor
🌟 Pivotal Player: Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay's fortunes have rested on Rodgers' shoulders for a while, and they will more than ever this season, as the team will be counting on him to carry a passing game that no longer includes star wideout Davante Adams. There's plenty of reason for the Packers to be confident, as Rodgers has taken home the MVP award two years running.
Green Bay Packers Injury Report
Tonyan was starting to come on Week 8 last season, but his campaign was cut short by a torn ACL suffered in that game against the Cardinals. Shortly after re-signing with the Packers in March, it was reported that he was ahead of schedule in his recovery, but he was held out of all offseason activities and opened training camp on the PUP list, and it's not a lock that he's ready for Week 1. Tonyan presumably will be the Packers' top tight end whenever he's healthy, but it remains to be seen when that will be. Josiah Deguara is the favorite to fill in until Tonyan is good to go.
It's not a stretch to think the Packers could have won the last two Super Bowls had Bakhtiari been on the field, but he was unavailable for the team's last two playoff runs. The left tackle made an appearance Week 18 last season, but the ACL tear he suffered Dec. 31, 2020 kept him off the field for every game before and after. Now well over a year removed from the injury, Bakhtiari was expected to take part in training camp, but he instead kicked it off on the PUP list. He was named First-Team All-Pro in 2020, so there's no doubt his return – whenever it happens – will provide a big boost to Green Bay's offensive line.
G/T/C Elgton Jenkins
Bakhtiari isn't the only notable Packers offensive lineman coming off an injury, as Jenkins also is working his way back from a torn ACL. Jenkins was injured Nov. 21, and while his recovery is unlikely to take as long as Bakhtiari's, it's possible it will cost him the start of the 2022 campaign. The Packers haven't commented on Jenkins' timetable to return, and he began camp on the PUP list like Bakhtiari. Jenkins earned a Pro-Bowl nod after the 2020 season, so his presence – or lack thereof – will be key for the prospects of the Green Bay offense.
Training Camp Battle 2022 – Green Bay Packers
It's relatively assumed at this point that Allen Lazard will lead the Packers' receiving corps this season, but things are wide open after that. Will 2022 second-rounder Christian Watson immediately step into a key role? Will offseason addition Sammy Watkins snag the next spot on the depth chart? Will Randall Cobb – a favorite of quarterback Aaron Rodgers – wind up as the No. 2 option?
The Packers could use three receivers frequently, but for fantasy purposes, it would help to know who slots in behind Lazard. Watkins and Cobb may both open the season as starters, but with fantasy drafts on the horizon, Watson looks like the best option among the bunch.
Watson didn't stand out during offseason activities, but he figures to get every chance to contribute during training camp once he's past the undisclosed issue that forced him to the PUP list. He has some bust potential if he's picked a couple rounds early, but there's ample room for upside considering his skill set is far more appealing than his counterparts and with things unsettled in Green Bay.