Last year: 8-7-1, NFC North champs, lost in Wild Card round
Acquisitions: Julius Peppers, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
Departures: James Jones, Evan Dietrich-Smith, M.D. Jennings
Vegas 2014 win total over/under: 10 wins.
Verdict: OVER (assuming Aaron Rodgers doesn’t miss another seven games)
Five fast facts about the Packers:
– Ha ha, Brett Favre and his tiny dong are in their Hall of Fame now.
– Olivia Munn plans on breaking up with Aaron Rodgers before being forced to attend one of his games in that frigid, sparsely populated fatscape.
– Dom Capers is still employed, evidently has compromising photos of every single one of the Packers “owners”.
– They will find a way to lose to the 49ers again at some point this year.
– They’re almost certainly going to be destroyed in Seattle in Week 1, but on the plus side, we all get to make a bunch of TOUCHDOWN SEAHAWKS jokes.
Fan forecast, by Kevin Pickford:
I’m a lucky sports fan.
Let me explain. I’m a Canadian who lives in a city with one major sports team in a sport I don’t give a shit about. As a result, this phenomenon happens where you sort of arbitrarily pick teams when you’re young because you liked the uniforms or you really liked a player or whatever. Defending your fandom in Canada is as easy as saying, “Bo Jackson, duh.” or “Their uniforms are black and silver. How fucking metal is that?” In that way, the Raiders were like a goddamn cigarette company during the early ’90s in Canada: hook ’em while they’re young.
Kids are front-runners. They’re little assholes that love winners. I grew up playing basketball in an era that saw the end of the Showtime Lakers and then got really into basketball after Kobe got drafted. Basically, my years of basketball fandom had a total of three super dark years when Smush Parker and Kwame Brown were farting around. Then last year happened. Whatever. Let’s not get into it.
I figured I’d balance out being a Lakers fan by getting into football and picking a mediocre team to root for. My goal was to find a team that I thought would do well enough, I could cheer for while learning about the sport and I’d never really have to defend that much. I figured since Favre was retiring, his old team will be probably start rebuilding and I can root them on to become potential contenders down the road. I started watching in 2008 and saw Aaron Rodgers’ first game after the Favre era. He threw for a touchdown. He rushed for a touchdown. They won at Lambeau. It was fucking rad.
I know. A Lakers/Packers fan? What am I trying to do, set a record for being some kind of asshole?
Sustained excellence is a a tricky thing to deal with as a fan. I’m aware enough that I understand how people see the Packers. It’s the same way I see the Pats, the Spurs, the Celtics. But who gives a shit? I got to revel in postseason appearances, superb quarterback play, Clay Matthews’ hair. Eventually I even got comfortable yelling “Kuhn!” in a packed bar, which is still in the top 5 grossest things Packers fans do below “eat a Cheesecake Factory out of business” and above “assume every black person who lives in Green Bay plays for the Packers”.
The reason I’ve stayed a fan and still care about football is schadenfreude. The NFC North is an amazing collection of otherworldly talent and pure hot garbage. Every other team is the equivalent of the hottest girl you’ve ever seen and all her fuggo friends. Every year, the Packers have to play against Megatron, AD and Grumpy Cat and then we end up with some weeks like last season when every team in the NFC North lost even though two of them played each other. I stay a Packers fan because there is nothing more satisfying than cheering against the rest of the NFC North. Plus, bandwagoners have started switching allegiances after two postseason oustings by Kaepernick and a personified pair of khakis, which allows me to wallow in my new-found self-righteousness for once.
Our probable high points this season? Collarbones heal, we lucked into Eddie Lacy being a fucking stud, we resigned Jordy and our offense could be one of the best in the league, barring major injury. We managed to sign Julius Peppers to a deal that looks at least 50% promising. I can talk myself into Datone Jones being a big contributor this season for some reason. There’s the Fail Mary rematch in Week 1, which gets me rock hard just thinking about it. This year we’re even starting the season off with a signed back-up QB, after flirting with the idea of putting Vince Young on a 2013 NFL roster and getting punished for our hubris.
There’s even the potential of Olivia Munn showing up at home games in Wisconsin, fulfilling her beard-contract obligations. You know it in your heart to be true.
Low points? Well, Dom Capers still exists. We took a safety 21st overall this year, and he could still end up second unit because a cornerback is outplaying him in training camp. This either speaks to our depth in defense (finally?) or the fact that our defense could be penetrated by old man Capers himself if he decided to suit up. We’re still too reliant on BJ Raji time travelling from 2011 to bolster our line. Rodgers is still going to get knocked down somewhere between four and eleventy billion times a game, which is just depressing to watch. Clay Matthews will get breathed on wrong during a coin toss and be out 4-6 weeks. Julius Peppers is our hope to be a difference maker this season and Peppers has been playing in the NFL three years longer than anyone else on the roster.
That all being said, I can talk myself into thinking every game on our schedule is winnable. Seahawks? Sure, they’ve got a great defense, but we have Cobb, Jordy and Lacy. Falcons? One of my few joys in life was the face Matt Ryan made during their 2011 playoff match-up where he looked like he shit himself for the first time ever and wasn’t sure what to do about it. Panthers? Maybe if they find a wide-out at some point in the next month. Basically the only teams that freak me out now are in the NFC North. The Lions fired Jim Schwartz, which makes them infinitely more dangerous. The Bears still have Marc Trestman, who literally haunts the dreams of children. The Vikings upgraded at QB by virtue of playing anyone else at QB other than Matt Cassell and Josh Freeman. But even then, I can still talk myself into Ws for all of these games.
Might as well pencil “crying in the shower with a fifth of Jack after playoff loss to 49ers” in my January 2015 calendar.