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Green Bay Packers - Regular Season Matchup Picks

7-22-09

Green Bay swept Detroit last year, and broke even with Chicago and Minnesota, bringing them a 4-2 division slate. I suppose that is quite possible again.

As far as the ten games in the non-conference schedule are concerned, they play home games against Cincinnati, Dallas, San Francisco, Baltimore (on a Monday night) and Seattle. They'll be the visiting team at St. Louis, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh and Arizona. Keep in mind that it is quite possible that in one or both of the division games against Detroit, the Lions could have a rookie (Matthew Stafford) at the helm; when they go to Tampa, Josh Freeman, another rookie, could already be the Bucs' starter, and the season finale in Glendale might resemble a walk-through if the Cardinals have already clinched the NFC West title.

Okay, let's start talking.

If everything falls into place for the Packers, I do not think it is outside the realm of possibility that they can win all five of those home non-division games and three or four of the road games against non-division foes, which would put this team in the neighborhood of twelve wins.

Remember though, I said "if everything falls into place." Getting the pieces to fall into place is going to be an interesting task.

I don't have any problem at all with the Packers' skill players. I like the job Aaron Rodgers did in the face of much scrutiny last year; his wide receivers know how to make plays, and Ryan Grant is potentially one of the NFC's biggest producers at running back. The questions elsewhere are big, though. This team is going to a 3-4 defense, the baby of new coordinator Dom Capers, and when you do that, not only are you going to have several people playing out of position (Aaron Kampmann and BJ Raji possibly among them), but your secondary that is used to man coverage is going to play a lot more zone. I would also be concerned that the offensive line may not hold up all that well.

When I looked at the Packers in my preview I figured the "under' on the nine wins was the way to go. I do think it'll end up that way, though I see more upside than downside.

With that in mind, let's do some regular season win matchups:

PACKERS VS CHIEFS

Green Bay Packers -2˝ Wins -125

Kansas City Chiefs +2˝ Wins -115

Alright, we were just talking about "upside." With a rookie coach, minus Tony Gonzalez at tight end, a negligible defense and Matt Cassel now having to play with guys who are not nearly as accomplished, I see very limited upside on the part of the Chiefs, even though they are piecing together some promising youngsters and complementing them with veterans like Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas. Clearly Green Bay has the potential to go well farther, and the price is not so daunting. PACKERS (-2.5 wins, -125)

PACKERS VS DOLPHINS

Green Bay Packers -1˝ Wins -125

Miami Dolphins +1˝ Wins -115

We talked a little about Miami's schedule when we matched them up with the Cowboys. It was their great fortune to get that new regime last year, install the Wildcat package and acquire Chad Pennington en route to winning a division title. That creates bad fortune, as they draw a killer schedule. The Dolphins go on the road to face Atlanta, Carolina, San Diego, Tennessee and Jacksonville, and they have home games against Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Houston. Oh, and they play New England twice as well. Still, this was a team that did a lot of fundamental things well, and if they play well again and Green Bay does not win enough to capture the division title (which would have to mean ten wins) I have a feeling the value here will reside with Miami. DOLPHINS (+1.5 wins, -115)

PACKERS VS PATRIOTS

Green Bay Packers +3 Wins -135

New England Patriots -3 Wins -105

I really don't know where the Patriots are going to land in the end, and if you caught my own preview of their season (CAN'T FIND THE LINK) you'd notice I was somewhat skeptical of them. Still, I acknowledge that they have Tom Brady playing quarterback and Bill Belichick making up game plans, and the Packers have neither. Could New England, playing a second-place schedule, win 12 games? Yeah, maybe; could they win more? Conceivably, but I will side with New England at this price, in a close one. PATRIOTS (-3 wins, -105)

PACKERS VS BROWNS

Green Bay Packers -1˝ Wins -135

Cleveland Browns +1˝ Wins -105

I don't know why there are some people who think Cleveland can win many more games than last season's four, but I think there is the potential to be just as bad or even worse, because the offense is breaking down. Let's put it this way - last season they had a lot more to work with and had things completely collapse on them. Even in the worst case scenario, I can't see this turning into a competitive prop, although I guess when it comes to the football gambling, I shouldn't say something like that. PACKERS (-1.5 wins, -135)

PACKERS VS BRONCOS

Green Bay Packers -2 Wins -125

Denver Broncos +2 Wins -115

I'm going to sound like a real skeptical guy here, but I just don't see good things for Denver. There is no quarterback of any real substance, there is no defense, and hey - Josh McDaniels just has to have some bad karma going against him right now. Non-division games come against Dallas, the Giants, New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Philadelphia. They could easily lose all of those games. If they don't sweep the Raiders and Chiefs, they could find themselves right out of this prop. PACKERS (-2 wins, -125)

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