Forget the over/under odds that Vegas sets for NFL betting. I’m opening a sports book that only accepts bets involving the Green Bay Packers.
Maybe I’ll name my joint the Acme Swindling Company. Or Hand-Over-All-Your-Green-and-Gold-to Me Inc. Either way, we’re going to have a good time — win lose or draw.
Below are some over/under scenarios involving the 2013 Packers. Let me know which side you’d wager on in the comments section.
(If you want to actually wager on these odds, have your people contact my people. And you better pay up if you lose. I’m going to be a father soon and I don’t want to lose valuable time with my son because I’m busting kneecaps and trying to collect from you deadbeats.)
James Jones: 11 touchdowns
It’s always difficult to predict touchdowns from year to year. A lot of it depends on opportunity and a little bit of luck. Last season, Calvin Johnson had 2,000 receiving yards but — thanks in large part to getting tackled at the 1-yard line five times — only five touchdowns, . Injuries to Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson gave Jones an opportunity last season. He seized his larger role in the offense and broke out with 14 touchdowns. Jones’ size and strength make him a nice target in the red zone, so I’m going to say he exceeds 11 touchdowns. It’d be quite the feat to reach 14 TDs again, but you never know.
Aaron Rodgers: 4,500 yards
Rodgers needed only 15 games to exceed 4,600 passing yards in his 2011 MVP season. Last season he “dipped” to 4,300 yards in 16 games. The Packers wide receiving corp and offensive line is already banged up and the season hasn’t even started yet. There also might be a renewed emphasis on running the ball with Eddie Lacy, so I’m going to say Rodgers stays under 4,500 passing yards — but not by much.
David Bakhtiari: 54 Combined sacks, hurries and pressures allowed
In his second season at left tackle, Marshall Newhouse allowed a total of 54 quarterback sacks, hurries and pressures (source: Pro Football Focus). Can Bakhtiari, who will be handing several elite pass rushers throughout the season, do better than that? If he survives the first month of the season without getting overwhelmed, I think Bakhtiari will be fine. Not great, but fine. He’ll be under 54, but there will be stretches — especially early — where it looks like he might double that number. Hang on tight with this kid and remain patient. Allow Rodgers to cover up for a few of his mistakes early and let’s see how he progresses after a few starts.
B.J. Raji contract: Extended by week 10
Will B.J. Raji’s contract be extended by week 10 of the regular season? My thinking here is yes, but a tentative yes. Right now, I think Raji thinks he deserves elite defensive lineman money. I’m talking crazy, obscene money. The Packers think Raji is good, but not crazy, obscene money good. The two sides will keep talking during the season, Raji will play well, but not crazy, obscene money well, and Raji’s people will eventually cave and accept a generous, but not obscene, offer from the Packers.
Green Bay Packers: 100 Adjusted Games Lost (AGL) due to injury
For a full explanation of AGL, visit FootballOutsiders.com. Basically, it’s a way to measure how much teams are affected by injuries in a given season. The Packers had an AGL of 108.1 in 2012, by far the most in the NFL and only the sixth team in the history of the metric to exceed 100. In case you were too lazy to click on the link, that’s not good. It means the Packers were banged up. This preseason, it looks like the Packers are on their way to exceeding 100 yet again. I’m calling the over on this one, unfortunately. For whatever reason — the players they draft, the training staff, bad luck, all of the above — the Packers have a hard time staying healthy and it drives me crazy. By the way, the Packers in AGL in 2010 when they won the Super Bowl was 86.3 (third worst in the league). When they won 15 games in 2011, it was 58.7 (16th).
Kickers used during the season: 3
It’s totally feasible that Crosby wins the job, then craps the bed and gets cut. The Packers would then have to bring in some other kicker off the scrapheap who may or may not work out, making it a real possibility they could pull the plug on him and try someone else. That puts them at three kickers…an injury or a few missed kicks would cause Ted Thompson to roll the dice with someone else…I’m just going to stop there because this is getting too depressing. And it’s depressing because I could see it actually happening.
Jermichael Finley’s stat line: 75 catches, 1,000 yards, 9 TDs
Same old argument about Finley this preseason: A bunch of people think this is the year he breaks out. Another bunch of people snort and laugh at the bunch of people who think this is the year (again) that Finley breaks out. The tight end was good down the stretch last season, but I don’t see him exceeding those numbers in all three categories.
Bonus round: Number of Seahawks players suspended during the season for using PEDs: 47
Are you kidding? This number is way too low. Take the over and go to the bank.