Anyone can predict a season for an NFL team. Win-loss record, season stat leaders, Pro-Bowlers, NFL Award winners, you get the point. But it takes someone with a high football IQ, a passion for the game, and lots and lots of research to come up with bold predictions for a certain NFL team throughout their season. It also takes a lot to come up with bold predictions without sounding like a moron in the process. I will attempt to not sound like a moron while writing this article, anyways, let’s get onto the bold predictions.
5: Aaron Ripkowski will lead the team in Rushing touchdowns this season
This may sound bad at first, but let me explain. Having a fullback lead your team in rushing touchdowns in a season is not the worst thing in the world. It took until week 12 last season for the Packers to log a rushing touchdown from someone not named Aaron Rodgers. Who was the man who logged it, fullback Aaron Ripkowski. While he would only total just one more touchdown on the season, Ripkowski could be the guy who is able to pound it in near the goal line, similar to what John Kuhn has done in years past. Ripkowski is the biggest member of the backfield on the roster at 6’1” and 246 pounds. Since the Packers always end up close to the goal line, Ripkowski’s large stature could lead to many five yard or less touchdown runs for the Pack, and if his number is called when the Packers are that close to the end zone, expect Ripkowski to pound through for six.
4: Damarious Randall has his best year since being drafted in 2015
It has been noted numerous times over the past few months that the Packers secondary was very mediocre during the 2016 campaign. That included Arizona State alum Damarious Randall, who had a down year. While he did have as many interceptions as his rookie season, his tackling numbers decreased drastically, and he was destroyed by many of the top receivers in the league, including Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, and DeSean Jackson. You can argue a case for a down season with an unexpected role increased as he became the number one cornerback after Sam Shields went down for the season in week one. With a returning Davon House, high hopes in Kevin King, and a healthy secondary, Damarious Randall won’t have to hold down the secondary, which will lead to less pressure on the third year corner, and as a result, better numbers for Randall.
3: Rookie Jamaal Williams leads the Pack in rushing yards in 2017
Here me out on this one, as this may be unpopular to some. While the Packers are still trying to transition fan favorite Ty Montgomery to a running back, he is not fully developed yet, He has the size of a power running back at 6’2” and 216 pounds, but he still lacks experience. In addition, Coach McCarthy has gone on record saying that they still plan on using Montgomery at wide receiver too, which means that more carries are possible for the projected backup, Jamaal Williams. With those two variables, there is a distinct possibility that the rookie from BYU could lead the Packers in rushing yards this season.
2: The Packers go into the Playoffs with Home Field Advantage
I predicted in an earlier article that the Packers would go 12-4 during the 2017 season, which would be good enough for another NFC North title, and most likely a first round bye in the playoffs. However, I believe it will take 13 wins for a team to get home field advantage this season since there are so many elite teams in the NFC nowadays, like the Packers, Falcons, Seahawks, and Cowboys all vying for that coveted top spot in the Playoffs. Even though I predicted the Packers would go 12-4, it is possible for them to move up or down a game. In this case, if they pick up an extra win over one of my predicted loses, they would move to 13-3 on the year, most likely giving them home field advantage in the playoffs, unless another NFC team decides to have a season like the 2015 Panthers and go 15-1. I have Packers loses against Atlanta, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. They could pick up a win against Detroit easily, moving them to 13-3. The only reason I have a loss versus Detroit is because the Pack may not have anything else to play for when the two teams matchup week 17, as the Packers may have locked up the NFC North and a first round bye by then. Anyways, if the Packers pick up an extra win, and go 13-3, they could be sitting pretty at the top of the NFC going into the Playoffs.
1: Aaron Rodgers throws for 5,000 yards for the first time in his career
This one is a little far fetched, however, it is very possible. With questions all around at the running back position, it may be time for “The Man” to go absolutely lights out this season. The Packers are facing many teams with questionable pass defenses, including Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and New Orleans. That totals for eight times throughout the season the Packers will face questionable Pass Secondaries. Say Aaron Rodgers throws for 350 yards in each of those games, that totals 2,800 yards, over halfway to 5,000 yards in eight games. With Green Bay only facing one true elite secondary in Seattle this season, 5,000 passing yards can not be out of the question this year.