Aaron Rodgers: 3 bold predictions for Packers QB in season opener vs. Vikings
After considerably less (but still some) hemming and hawing this offseason, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is back for his 18th NFL season. This season, the Packers will look a bit different on offense than they did when the QB last walked off the frozen tundra at Lambeau Field after the shocking Divisional Round loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Nevertheless, No. 12 will still be under center when the team takes on its bitter rivals, the Minnesota Vikings, to kick off the 2022 season. So let’s make some bold Aaron Rodgers Week 1 predictions.
3. There will be rust, but not as much as last season
Last year, before Aaron Rodgers’ season opener, the QB basically walked right out of a shaman’s tent in Peru and into the Packers huddle, only stopping to give a scorched-earth press conference about his gripes with the organization.
The result in Week 1 was predictable. The New Orleans Saints blew the Packers out, 38-3, and Rodgers went 15-of-28 for 133 yards with two interceptions.
Rodgers made it to Green Bay for the entire training camp this season, but the 38-year-old doesn’t see much value in preseason games. The vet let Jordan Love and Danny Etling do the honors this year and didn’t take a single preseason snap.
With Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling gone and a host of new pass-catchers in for 2022, sitting the entire exhibition season is a bit surprising. Pushing 40, the QB can’t just turn it on and off like he used to, so the Aaron Rodgers Week 1 prediction here is that he again looks rusty in the opener, although not quite as bad as in 2021.
2. Chemistry with a new face and an old friend
The biggest reason reps are important for Aaron Rodgers is that he lost 149 catches, 1,983 yards, and 14 TDs from last season with Adams and Valdes-Scantling’s departures. He does still have Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard from last season, but that duo accounted for just 68 catches for 888 yards and 13 TDs.
In Aaron Rodgers’ season opener, the QB has to find live-rep chemistry with rookies Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson and free-agent addition Sammy Watkins.
After not playing in any preseason games, some of those connections might be tough. However, the Aaron Rodgers predictions here are that two WRs will show immediate chemistry with their QB, and those two will be Allen Lazard and Romeo Doubs.
The fourth-round rookie was the highlight of Packers training camp and outplayed second-round pick Christian Watson, who missed time due to injury. If anyone is going to come close to replacing Adams this season, it’s Doubs.
On the other side, Allen Lazard had a career year last season with 40 catches for 513 yards and eight TDs. He’s still just 27 and is poised for a bigger role on the Packers offense. Rodgers should find Doubs and Lazard more than anyone else on Sunday vs. the Vikings.
1. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will fall short, but the QB will be zen about it afterward
For the first time in five years, the Packers will face some real competition for the NFC North crown, and they play that team in Week 1.
The Minnesota Vikings will push the Packers at the top of the division this season like they haven’t been pushed since 2017 when the team finished third in the North behind the Bears and the Vikings.
Aaron Rodgers’ season opener is just another game for him. For the Vikings, it’s their 2022 Super Bowl right off the bat. The team and its new coach, Kevin O’Connell, will throw the kitchen sink at the Packers and will win a close game.
However, in true Aaron Rodgers fashion, the QB will be contemplative about the whole thing afterward. In 2014, after a 1-2 start, the QB gave his famous “R-E-L-A-X” quote. Last season, after the Saints blowout, he said, “it’s just one game.”
This season, the Packers will take the L, and the Aaron Rodgers Week 1 prediction is that he will take that loss in stride. Maybe he will debut another quote to calm down panicked Packers fans, but either way, the loss won’t phase the NFL’s version of the Zen Master.