The Green Bay Packers had a successful 2016 NFL campaign by some gauges. They stunned the Dallas Cowboys 34-31 in the divisional playoffs and progressed to the NFC Championship game, losing 44-21 to the Atlanta Falcons.
Being just one game away from the Super Bowl last season, one suspects that they will use that disappointment as motivation to achieve success in the upcoming 2017 NFL campaign. Below, we look at three players who will be key to the team’s success this coming season.
We could start and end here. If Rodgers isn’t successful, then the rest of the guys on this list don’t really matter. One could make the case that the 33-year-old quarterback is the best football player in the NFL. Rodgers was the catalyst for the Packers in 2016, driving the team to eight straight wins, including playoffs. He is again a complete quarterback in the sense that he is accurate, has proven brilliant at both short passes and long passes, and performs in the big games. With Rodgers in red-hot form and getting better with every season, there is little surprise that NFL betting odds have the Packers as fourth-favorites to win Super Bowl LII.
Clay Matthews has been one of the best outside linebackers in the NFL, but his play fell off in 2016. He’s still established as one of the most important players on the team. Last year, injuries affected Matthews’ game, and he had just 24 tackles and five sacks. When healthy, he still poses a matchup problem for the opposition. The Packers will need Matthews to stay healthy and rebound in 2017. Pressuring the quarterback is what makes the Packers’ defense effective and Matthews, along with Nick Perry, is the key to that.
Ty Montgomery is only 24 years old and has played just part of one season at running back, but he has already made a big impression and is set to be a key player for the team in the upcoming season. Montgomery made the switch from receiver to running back last year and excelled in his new position. Now that he’ll have a full offseason working with running backs coach Ben Sirmans, it is natural to think that he will take his game to the next level. Already, the Green Bay Packers’ all-time leading rusher, Ahman Green, is touting Montgomery’s future.
The Green Bay Packers should head into the new season with confidence. They still have some holes they’ll look to fill in the upcoming draft, but there is plenty of reason for optimism. If the likes of Rodgers, Matthews and Montgomery stay healthy and play to their abilities, then the Packers could win the Super Bowl for the fifth time in history.