Today's absurd prediction:
This will be Brett Favre's last season, and it will be frustrating.
Favre could have ended on a good note last year - a victory over the rival Bears on New Years' Eve, the last game of the season, which pulled his team to a respectable 8-8. Naturally, he won't regret coming back for another year to break the TD record, but other than that moment of history, this season will be endlessly frustrating, and Favre will decide he doesn't have another year in him.
Here's the breakdown for the Green Bay Packers:
Coaching Changes: B
Mike McCarthy promoted from within to fill the offensive coordinator position, so continuity shouldn't be too much of an issue, but inexperience might. We'll see how Jim Philbin handles being in charge of the offense. Bob Sanders remains at defensive coordinator, rounding out the Packers' unglamorous staff. But all three were involved in the near-playoff run last year. 2007 could prove more difficult, and it'll be interesting to see how they face the challenge.
I'm fairly certain not many people had DT Justin Harrell going at #16. Not to mention that Alan Branch was still on the board, on his way to a second-round slip. The Packers sent a clear message to Brett Favre in this draft: we're not interested in doing what you want. They are rebuilding. They aren't gunning for one last playoff trip. For offensive help, they picked up RB Brandon Jackson, and WRs James Jones and David Clowney. I'm sure Favre is very excited. They did a lot of trading and pulled off ten picks, which is nice, but none of these players look like difference-makers for 2007.
Player Movement: C
I think it was a good decision to move on at running back. Ahman Green is well past his prime, and it was time to cut loose. And that was pretty much the only significant player move. It's shocking. An 8-8 team misses the playoffs on a tiebreaker, has a tiny little hump to get over to make it into the postseason, and the only change they make is deciding not to sign their starting RB. I'm all about continuity, but if you don't think you have any holes to fill, you should have been able to win 10 games in the NFC. And do they really think Vernand Morency, Noah Herron, and the rookie Jackson will give them the rushing game Favre needs to open up his passing options? I doubt it.
The Packers get Minnesota and Detroit twice, which should net them at least two victories. They draw Carolina at home and St. Louis on the road, two teams who disappointed last season and may bounce back. The NFC East is no picnic, but they do tend to choke from time to time. And the AFC West will be rough, except for Oakland. Kansas City might be winnable if it wasn't a road game.
Greg Jennings may be ready for a breakout season. But then again, opposing teams may find a lot of success in simply clamping down on Jennings and Donald Driver, giving Bubba Franks all the dropped passes he can eat. This offense doesn't have enough ways to do damage to have any success. The defense ought to keep games reasonably tight, but it'll be up to Favre to bring victories home, and teams will swarm all over his favorite targets. Frustration will mount, and interceptions will be thrown.
The Record: 5-11
Whoever loses the Giants-Packers game will get a better pick in the 2008 draft. Fortunately, this match is played in week 2, so no one's going to tank the game to improve draft position. As I see it, the team should be expecting a rough year, and this dropoff from last year won't prompt mass firings. The Packers are seriously rebuilding, preparing for the post-Favre years, and are setting themselves up nicely for some future success.