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Green Bay Packers
Led by arguably the NFL's best quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers have been one of the league's elite teams over the past few years. Coming off a 15-1 regular season campaign in 2011-12, the Packers actually got off to a pretty rough start last season, starting 2-3 straight-up and killing bettors with a 1-4 mark against the spread during that stretch. Green Bay quickly turned things around though, ripping off five straight victories (4-1 ATS). The team closed out the year going 4-2 down the stretch both SU & ATS and finished with an 11-5 record overall, winning the NFC North and No. 3 seed in the playoffs. In the postseason, the Pack first took on Minnesota in the Wild Card round and held Vikings RB Adrian Peterson under 100 yards rushing in a 24-10 win. Green Bay then flew across the country to take on Jim Harbaugh's San Francisco 49ers, who were led by young QB Colin Kaepernick en route to a 45-31 victory.
Rodgers still had another magnificent season last year, passing for 4,295 yards and 39 touchdowns with only eight interceptions. Speedy second-year wide receiver Randall Cobb had a breakout season for the Packers with 80 catches, almost 1,100 yards of total offense and nine touchdowns. Fellow WR James Jones also had a career year for the Packers, hauling in 64 receptions for 784 yards and a team-high 14 touchdowns. Former Pro Bowl WR Greg Jennings was hobbled for most of the season with injuries and only played eight games. Despite missing four games due to injuries, All-Pro linebacker Clay Matthews had 13 sacks and was once again Green Bay's leader on defense.
The Packers took care of Rodgers this offseason, extending him long term with a monster deal worth over $130 million over six years. But that big signing caused Green Bay to lose some players at other key positions. Jennings departed for Minnesota as the Vikings signed the free agent to a five-year deal worth more than $45 million. Veteran WR Donald Driver -- the team's all-time leader in receptions and yards -- decided to retire. The Pack also decided to part ways with future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson and oft-injured LB Desmond Bishop, who led them in tackles two years ago. Green Bay did have a very good draft in April, selecting defensive end Datone Jones out of UCLA in the first round and adding two highly-skilled running backs in Alabama's Eddie Lacy and UCLA's Johnathon Franklin. The team's running game has been a cause for concern over the last two years, and Lacy and Franklin are expected to complement each other very nicely and take some pressure off Rodgers.
The oddsmakers at 5Dimes have the Packers set at O/U 10.5 wins for the upcoming season. Green Bay should again be the team to beat in the NFC North and a solid Super Bowl contender with a good shot at winning 11 or 12 games.
Recommended Play: OVER 10.5
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