2007 Review: The Packers won the NFC North title going away with a 13-3 record in the regular season. They defeated the Seahawks 42-20 in the divisional round of the playoffs before being upset at Lambeau Field by the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants 23-20 in the NFC championship game. Green Bay ranked second in the NFL in total offense (21st in rushing, second in passing) and 11th in total defense (14th against the run, 12th against the pass).
Offensively Speaking: Aaron Rodgers has a tough act to follow, but he is more than ready to pick up where Brett Favre left off with the Packers. Rodgers has learned head coach Mike McCarthy's version of the West Coast offense for the past three seasons behind Favre. Though Rodgers hasn't had many opportunities to play, he gave Packers fans a snapshot of his ability last November when Favre sustained an injured elbow and shoulder in a showdown against the Cowboys.
Other than Rodgers, all of the starters on offense have returned for this season, including running back Ryan Grant, who came out of nowhere in the second half of last season and finished with 956 yards rushing.
Defensively Speaking: Like the offense, Green Bay's defense returns all of its starters from last season, led by a pair of Pro Bowlers in cornerback Al Harris and defensive end Aaron Kampman. The defense, ranked 11th in the league last season, also features cornerback Charles Woodson, linebackers Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk, and defensive linemen Ryan Pickett, Cullen Jenkins and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila.
QB Rex Grossmn
Ted S. Warren/AP Images
General manager Ted Thompson improved the team's corp of linebackers by signing free agent Brandon Chillar to a two-year, $5.4 million contract in March.
Outsider's Perspective: "One of the surprises of the NFL Draft was Chicago not plucking a quarterback early. Brian Brohm was a second-round pick the Bears could have had. For some reason the Bears are going with Rex Grossman to start the season, which is good news for Green Bay, Detroit and Minnesota. Grossman played poorly last season, and with no running game to speak of, where will the points come from?
"Kyle Orton should get a shot once again. He won 10 games as a rookie, mainly because the defense was so good, but like Grossman he's not the long-term answer unless the question is, 'What situation got Lovie Smith fired?' Also, Bernard Berrian is gone, so who's going to make plays? I guess nobody, since there won't be a quarterback capable of finding anybody. That offense won't be improved." – Todd Korth, PackerReport.com
2008 Preview: Unlike the Monsters of the Midway, Green Bay hasn't been concerned with the quarterback position since Right Said Fred was too sexy for Milan, New York, and Japan. The supporting cast around Rodgers is more than capable with Grant in the backfield and an array of play-making receivers split wide, plus the defensive unit is solid from front to back. But if Rodgers struggles under the crushing pressure of having to replace arguably the greatest signal-caller of all time, the Packers could be ripe for a fall.
John Crist is the Publisher of Bear Report and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.