Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 7/8/13
2012 Record: 11-52012 DownfallDefense OverpoweredThe Packers' defense has Harvey Dent-disease; prone to being two-faced. It's true that they're a terror in the passing game, asserting themselves with 46 sacks and 18 picks on the year.That's an average of four QB disruptions (three sacks and a pick) per game.The Packers were able to get exactly half of that average, picking off Colin Kaepernick once, and sacking him once, en route to a 45-31 defeat on January 12. Kaepernick threw for 263 yards (above Green Bay's average allowance of 237.6) and had a 91.2 passer rating.But it was the mismatch between the Packers' run defense (4.5 YPA during the regular season), and the 49ers' destructive running game that did the most damage. San Francisco, led by Kaepernick and Frank Gore, ran for 323 yards on 43 carries (7.5 YPA).Time of Possession DisparityThe Packers are usually a mid-level team when it comes to possession disparity. The NFC North champions ranked 14th in the league, averaging 30:06 of possession time. Against a run-heavy 49ers team, the Packers' run defense had that balance greatly disrupted.Green Bay only managed 21:59 possession time during the Divisional Round game, while the 49ers took the remaining 38:01 of the clock. Green Bay did score on strikes, all four offensive scoring drives being over 75 yards, but all were under four minutes.In the second half, the 49ers scored touchdowns on three straight possessions (all between 80 and 93 yards) totalling 14:15. The Packers' offense stalled, as the 49ers (spurred by a 56-yard TD run by Kaepernick) swung the momentum of the game for good.2013 Projected Wins: 12Top 3 Rookies-Datone Jones, DE (1/26): Good fit for Green Bay's 3-4 defense matches up well in the three or five technique, thanks to explosive power against any part of the line.-Eddie Lacy, RB (2/61): Hit-and-run back can bulldoze piles and flatten defenders; extremely hard to tackle, but had a more powerful line at Alabama.-David Bakhtiari, T (4/109): Somewhat small for a tackle, will likely struggle with more aggressive edge-rushers; could be reborn as a guard.Other MovesThe Packers have only added one veteran free agent of note, tight end Matthew Mulligan of the Rams. Mulligan has only 14 career receptions, and one career touchdown, so it's weird to say that he's the biggest incoming name outside of the draft.Instead, the focus was internal. Linebackers Robert Francois and Brad Jones were re-signed early in the free agent period. Guard/center Evan Dietrich-Smith (famous for the Ndamukong Suh 'stomp' incident) signed his restricted free agent tender, as did corner Sam Shields.With Lacy and Johnathan Franklin coming in via the draft, the running game in Green Bay gets a drastic change. Brandon Saine was released from his contract, while Cedric Benson and Ryan Grant were not retained. Both players are still free agents.Potential Starting LineupQB - Aaron RodgersRB - Eddie LacyFB - John KuhnWR - Jordy NelsonWR - Randall CobbTE - Jermichael FinleyLT - Bryan BulagaLG - Josh SittonC - Evan Dietrich-SmithRG - TJ LangRT - Marshall NewhouseDE - BJ RajiNT - Ryan PickettDE - Datone JonesOLB - Nick PerryILB - AJ HawkILB - Brad JonesOLB - Clay Matthews IIICB - Tramon WilliamsCB - Sam ShieldsFS - Morgan BurnettSS - MD JenningsK - Mason CrosbyP - Tim MasthayLS - Brett Goode2013 at a GlanceDefensively, the Packers have a noticeable weak spot: the run stopping. Opponents who ran for 115+ yards on the Packers were 5-2 last season.So in other words, all five Packers' losses saw opponents run all over them. The Vikings' 167 in the playoffs was undone by Joe Webb's ineptitude, but the 49ers' 323 devoured Green Bay whole.Surprisingly, the Packers' run-defense is an improvement over recent years; prior to 2012, in the previous two seasons, opponents ran for 4.7 YPA on them (including the Super Bowl year).And 4.5 seems like an upgrade, but opponents have also upped their attempts, peaking at 418 for the regular season last year.Rookie Jones' versatility on the line will go a long way in stifling the run, as well as Green Bay's minicamp emphasis on forcing fumbles. Their schedule includes Kaepernick and Gore, along with RGIII, Alfred Morris, Trent Richardson, Ray Rice, and of course, two battles with Adrian Peterson. A slate like that makes it as good a time as any to upgrade their roadblocks.On offense, the line's going through a number of changes; the most drastic see Bulaga and Sitton switching sides of the line with Lang and Newhouse. Last year, guard Dietrich-Smith had a go at center as Jeff Saturday broke down.Rodgers still piloted the team to an 11-5 record, in spite of the line inconsistency causing him to be sacked a league-leading 51 times.In spite of that, Rodgers still enjoyed a healthy season, garnering a rating of 108.0 and 39 TD passes. Cobb broke out at receiver for him, posting 954 yards as the go-to guy with Greg Jennings injured (and ultimately deemed expendable).Hopefully, Rodgers can stay healthy enough behind the reworked line to justify his NFL record five-year, $110M contract extension. It's believed that the usually reliable Bulaga was moved to left tackle spot to protect Mr. Moneybags' blind side.Green Bay has not had a 1000-yard rusher since Grant in 2009 (1253). Brandon Jackson's 703 in 2010 is the most since.With the line as shaky as it is, it's hard to say how much Lacy and Franklin will benefit from the start. The Packers had the eleventh-worst YPA in the NFL last season (3.93), and a creaky Benson averaged just 3.5 YPA.Lacy was afforded a great line in Alabama, with Chance Warmack and DJ Fluker going tenth and eleventh in this year's draft. Green Bay will be a culture shock in the early going.VerdictThe Packers are still the class of the NFC North, as long as Rodgers can keep standing and delivering in spite of the punishment he takes. The defense, as lopsided as it is, still gives the offense chances to win with sacks and picks, and there's little reason that'll change.If they get the line sorted out, they'll be more of a complete offense than they were, even in their ultimately disappointing 15-1 season. It's a big if, because it's the same group as before, but just being reworked. Either way, don't look for the Cheeseheads to melt anytime soon.Prediction: 11-5
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kaepernick explains why he is protesting national anthem

Dwyane Wade’s cousin shot and killed in Chicago

NFL tries to reduce kick returns, promptly causes more kick returns

San Francisco Giants inching closer to a record they really don’t want

Clint Dempsey undergoing testing for irregular heartbeat

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Troubling details emerge from Jeremy Jeffress' DWI arrest

Chargers would welcome Joey Bosa if he signed contract

Falcons rookie Keanu Neal needs surgery on knee

Jerry Jones unhappy with Ezekiel Elliott's dispensary visit

Texas Tech using fake Twitter accounts to track players

Nike creates custom Air Jordan shoes in tribute to Craig Sager

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

Marshall’s first impression of Fitzpatrick: ‘He was terrible’

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Six worst quarterback situations in the NFL

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

A look at 2016 college football conference changes

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Premier League notebook: The love affair at Man U

Heading into the homestretch: 2016 ROY favorites

One Gotta Go: NFL legends talking comedians is no joke

It's all about timing: The evolution of the clock in sports

Predicting the unpredictable: Your MTV VMAs rundown

10 great moments in the career of Roberto Duran

The 20 best boxing movies of all time

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for fast food

What you need to know about the Champions League draw

Can the San Francisco Giants bust their teamwide slump?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker