Welcome to the first NFL Twitter Q&A with @LatiNo_Chill (which is me, Andrew, in case you haven’t figured that out yet). I have taken your football-related questions on Twitter, and even received a few on SnapChat, and now I’m here to answer them for you.
Best case scenario, Packers W-L?
— Stri:(a (@StrikaNation24_) August 6, 2018
I feel like ever since 2011, the popular answer to this question is 13-3. However, this mark was only reached once, which was 15-1 in 2011, but I guess that happens when a team doesn’t have a single season in the top-10 in total defense since 2011 and they suffer a multitude of significant injuries. However, a new season now approaches with a new defensive coordinator in Mike Pettine, who has coached a top-10 defense in every season he has been a DC in the NFL. Besides their NFC North rivals, Packers face the AFC East (home vs BUF & MIA, away vs NE & NYJ) and the NFC West (home vs SF & ARI, away vs LAR & SEA) plus a road trip to Washington and a home game against the Falcons in December. Looking at the schedule, I see 7 or 8 really tough games for the Packers, but if Rodgers returns to MVP form and if the Packers can play borderline top-10 defense, the Green Bay faithful should be very pleased with a 12-4 record.
Who will win the NFC north?
— Chris Porter (@BigPort212) August 6, 2018
Unless Detroit pulls off a magical season such as 2011 or the 1985 Bears reincarnate, everyone is certain that the NFC North is going to be a two horse race between Green Bay and Minnesota. Vikings obviously play the same divisions as Green Bay, however they have a visit to Philadelphia and host the New Orleans Saints, both rematches from Minnesota’s past postseason. While I expect these teams to split their meetings this season, my pick may not be easy, but I expect the Green Bay Packers to win the NFC North title for one reason only: Aaron Rodgers. Okay, maybe that’s not the only reason, but it’s definitely the biggest. Kirk Cousins is a quality QB, but he’s hardly an improvement over Case Keenum. While we all expect Minnesota to still have an elite defense this season, the schedule is even more brutal than Green Bay’s, and that’s where I believe Minnesota will fall short by a game or two.
NFC South predictions?
This was sent to me in a text. Saints still have Drew Brees, the reigning Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year, an electric young defense, one of the best young receivers in the game in Michael Thomas, and one of the best play callers in the game in Sean Payton. Panthers may have lost Jonathan Stewart, but replaced him with the younger CJ Anderson. Cam Newton, arguably the best dual threat QB in the NFL, enters his eighth season as the Panthers signal caller and looks to return to his MVP form. Falcons are an interesting team to look at. A sober Steve Sarkisian is entering his second season as Atlanta’s play caller. If you saw Atlanta’s offense this past year, you’d think Steve was still spending his Saturday nights at USC parties, so I’m looking forward as to how he will play Matt Ryan and help him not only put up MVP numbers again, but get the ball to Julio Jones more often. The defensive front seven is going to be fun to watch with guys like Vic Beasley, Deion Jones, and Takkarist McKinley. The Buccaneers are still sadly the Buccaneers, who I wouldn’t be surprised if they put up similar outings like they did in 1976 as an expansion team. Jameis Winston being suspended for three games for groping an Uber driver doesn’t help either. My picks are Saints (12-4), Falcons (11-5), Panthers (9-7), and Buccaneers (4-12).
Whose going to come out of the nfc?
— Uno Mas Mac (@MacPenMedia) August 6, 2018
I see five teams with a legitimate chance to represent the NFC at Super Bowl LIII. Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota Vikings, and the Green Bay Packers. I know a lot of people are high on the LA Rams, especially with all the moves they have made in the secondary, such as Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters, but they have lost two stand outs on the front 7, Robert Quinn and Alec Ogletree, plus we also don’t know the extent of Aaron Donald’s holdout.
I know people will love to pick Philly to repeat as the NFC champs, as they did add Michael Bennett and Carson Wentz is healthy again, but the 2014 Seahawks are the only team to achieve this feat since the 1997 Packers, so odds don’t support Philly in this sense. This is going to sound ridiculous, but my reasoning as to why the Vikings won’t win it is because they’re the freaking Vikings. How many NFL teams can make the playoffs and embarrass themselves like how the Vikings do? We are talking wide-right, wide left, Brett Favre throwing across his body to Tracy Porter, Stefon Diggs pulling off the play of the year against New Orleans, just to get trounced 38-7 in Philadelphia the very next week. Falcons have all the talent to return to the Super Bowl and appear in their own stadium in February, but it’s just all on Sarkisian to get the offense in rhythm and to get the most out of their playmakers.
As long as Aaron Rodgers is still the QB for that team in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin, the Packers will always have a chance of winning big games, but defense has always been the Achilles heel in their playoff losses. And while the Packers have a lot of young and exciting talent, it’s also raw and inexperienced. With the vast majority of the secondary being rookies and sophomores, they also have a hole in middle linebacker due to the Jake Ryan ACL injury, which most likely looks like it will be filled by Oren Burks, an athletic rookie from Vanderbilt. And now my pick for the NFC champion, it is the New Orleans Saints. The roster looks set, Drew Brees is still at a high level, he has a number of weapons, and a defense to back him up.
Who do you think will be a potential dark horse in this NFL season?
— John (@tay54816786) August 6, 2018
I’m gonna keep this one simple. The Houston Texans. When you have an elite wide receiver, an all-time great defensive end, and a quarterback with the drive to own the league, it makes things interesting for them. I expect last season’s last-ranked defense to return to playing great defense. JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus and who can forget the addition of the Honey Badger? The defensive unit led by Romeo Crennel looks absolutely scary and Watson has help on his side of the ball. There are two main concerns I have with this team. They lost four starters on the offensive line from last season, and can Lamar Miller find consistency in the Texans offense? It’s a question remained to be answered, but he has shown flashes that he can contribute to this team.
What packers rookie do you think performs the best this season?
— log (@Applesisneat) August 6, 2018
I gotta go with Josh Jackson, as he was my draft crush. I loved watching him at Iowa, saw him light it up by picking off JT Barrett three times, as well as him getting TWO pick sixes against Wisconsin. That was the moment I wanted him in Green Bay. I also think he’s in the best possible situation, since won’t be top-two on the depth chart, but could playing a lot of snaps in nickel, where his ball skills will help him the most and make plays in the open field. This reminds me perfectly when the Packers drafted Casey Hayward out of Vanderbilt in 2012, where he may have played all 16 games, but only started in 7 and made 6 interceptions that season. I love Jaire Alexander, but the main concern is health, playing only 6 games at Louisville this past season and already dealing with a groin injury at Packers camp. If he stays healthy, he’ll no doubt be the leading candidate for Packers Rookie of the Year. Also don’t count out third-round pick Oren Burks, as he looks to take Jake Ryan’s spot at inside linebacker.
There’s a lot of questions in Columbus regarding Urban Meyer‘s future and not knowing if he will be there at all this season. Regardless if he coaches or not, there is still loads of elite talent on the squad and the Buckeyes don’t exactly have a toughest schedule either. If they underperform and don’t play at the level we’re used to seeing from them, the absolute worst I see is 8-4, with the losses to TCU (@AT&T Stadium), @Penn St, @Michigan St, and then at home to Michigan, but I wonder if the Michigan fans have given up on that dream already.
“Why is JJ Watt the best defensive end?”
This was sent to me in a text that included a heart at the end of it. Well, this is definitely a very direct question. He’s simply just the greatest human being alive, isn’t he? The three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year helped raise over $37 million for Hurricane Harvey victims, and is the most dominant defensive player when healthy (Hold your @s Aaron Donald fans). Truthfully, I don’t see how any sane human can dislike this guy. The man does so much for the community, and not just in football. Remember that he also payed for the funerals for the Santa Fe shooting victims, and also donated to the covering the cost a firefighter’s funeral in Wisconsin. Acts of God, that’s what we see from him.
That is all the questions, thank you guys so much for sending them in, they were fun to answer, and a few of them stumped me as well. Once again, thank you, and I look forward to doing this again!