The 2023 NFL season is fast approaching and after an eventful offseason, the Green Bay Packers are geared up for the start of a new era. With Jordan Love taking over at quarterback for Aaron Rodgers and a roster full of younger and faster players, there is a lot less proven talent but a lot of potential on this roster. Here are 10 bold predictions for the Packers in what promises to be an exciting and interesting 2023 season:
Packers Bold Prediction Number 1: Jordan Love Will Prove He’s a Quality Starting Quarterback
Yes, Love has been with the Packers for three seasons, but he still has started only one NFL game and thrown just 83 passes thus far during the regular season.
Like Rodgers and Brett Favre before him, Love will go through some growing pains in his first year as a starter. He will make some mistakes and struggle with consistency at times.
But by the end of the season, Love will show the coaching staff and his teammates that he’s more than capable of being a quality NFL starter. He will throw for more than 25 touchdowns and 3,500 yards while tossing about 12 interceptions.
Love will show he can lead this team and that he has a bright future. The former Utah State star need not be another Hall of Famer, but he’ll be a good NFL quarterback with the potential to get better in 2024 and beyond.
Bold Prediction Number 2: Aaron Jones Goes Over 1,000 Yards Rushing Again
Aaron Jones has proven himself to a be a very dangerous running back. The former UTEP star has topped 1,000 yards rushing in three of the last four seasons and if he stays healthy, he’ll do it again in 2023.
Jones will also catch more passes this season than he did a year ago when he set a career high with 59 receptions.
A.J. Dillon will also enjoy a better season than he had a year ago as he enters his contract year. The Packers running game will click this season.
Bold Prediction Number 3: Romeo Doubs Leads the Packers in Catches but Christian Watson Leads in Yards
Doubs and Love seem to have an excellent chemistry and whenever Love is under pressure and needs to find someone, he looks in Doubs’ general direction.
Watson will develop into a home run receiver who can make big plays. Love needs to improve his accuracy and consistency on deep throws although he does have a strong arm. By the end of the season, he and Watson will connect on deep balls.
Watson will likely gain more yards and have a higher average, but it will be Doubs who leads the Packers in catches.
Packers Bold Prediction Number 4: Luke Musgrave Sets the Packers Franchise Record for Catches by a Rookie Tight End
Musgrave has an excellent combination of size and speed, and he possesses the ability to stretch the field and create mismatches. Musgrave is too big for defensive backs to cover easily and too fast for most linebackers to keep up with. He will create mismatches against many defenders this season.
Add the fact that head coach Matt LaFleur likes to utilize his tight ends in the offense and that Love is not afraid to throw over the middle and you have a lot of potential here for Musgrave to thrive.
Like most rookies, Musgrave will have his struggles early in the season but look for him to have a big second half and to catch at least 50 passes in his first year with the Pack.
Bold Prediction Number 5: Rashan Gary Records Double Digit Sacks and Goes to the Pro Bowl
Rashan Gary appears to be ready to play in Week 1 against the Bears. The former Michigan star suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 9 last year. LaFleur indicated Gary may be on a play count early in the season.
Even if he only plays on obvious passing downs, Gary should have some impact against the Bears as he chases Justin Fields, one of the most dangerous running quarterbacks in the game.
Gary played at a high level before being hurt last season. He was on his way to a Pro Bowl season and has worked hard to rehab from the injury and return to action.
This year, Gary reaches 10 or more sacks and earns his first Pro Bowl berth in his contract year.
Packers Bold Prediction Number 6: Quay Walker Has a Breakout Season
Inside linebacker Quay Walker had an up and down rookie season. The former first-round pick out of Georgia led the Packers in total tackles with 121. Early in the season, Walker struggled to read plays and often found himself out of position on running plays. He did improve as the season progressed.
Walker also had difficulty controlling his temper and was ejected from two games for shoving a trainer and a practice squad player in separate incidents long after plays were over.
This season, Walker is ready for a breakout year. Defensive coordinator Joe Barry is expected to use Walker’s speed to blitz the quarterback more often and the second-year man is more comfortable in the defense.
Look for Walker to improve a lot this season and take his game to a near Pro Bowl level. He will once again lead the team in tackles and will make far fewer mistakes.
Bold Prediction Number 7: Anders Carlson Struggles with Consistency but Sets a Record for Longest FG in Packers History
Rookie kicker Anders Carlson has a very strong leg but struggles with consistency. This will be an up and down season for Carlson as the former Auburn star works with special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia.
The Packers franchise record for the longest field goal is 58 yards set by Mason Crosby back in 2011 at Minnesota. Carlson will break that record this season.
Carlson will win a game or two for the Packers with his long field goals, but he will also have some costly misses that will cost the Packers at least one game.
Packers Bold Prediction Number 8: The Defense Improves This Season (Finally)
Barry’s disappointed last season and failed to meet their high expectations. The defense has eight former first-round picks on the roster this season. There is a lot of pressure on Barry to improve the defense this year or he will not keep his job beyond this season.
Barry seems to be willing to be more aggressive this season with more press coverage and more blitzes expected. This strategy worked late last season but of course we need to see Barry implement it this season.
The talent is undeniably there. For this prediction to come true, the run defense needs to not be terrible, and the pass rush needs to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The defense will improve this season and be somewhere between 8th and 12th in the league overall in yards allowed.
Bold Prediction Number 9: Matt LaFleur Finally Runs His Offense
With Love taking over under center, LaFleur will finally get to implement the offense he wants to run. We will see more pre-snap motion, more scheming receivers open and more passes to the tight ends.
Love is not afraid to throw to the middle of the field and he will run LaFleur’s system more faithfully than Rodgers did. It will be interesting to see how the offense functions now as Love takes over as the new quarterback.
Packers Bold Prediction Number 10: The Packers Sneak into the Playoffs
Like last year, the Packers will be in the hunt for the playoffs until the last game of the season. The team should improve as the season progresses and the young players at key positions gain more experience.
If Love can be average, and most signs point to him being able to do at least that, the Packers have enough talent and depth to compete in a wide-open NFC. They should win nine games with a relatively easy schedule and sneak into the playoffs in Love’s first year as the starter.
Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers
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