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September

NostraMarques: Statistical predictions for Packers offense

Channeling Randall Cobb himself, it's time to put my nerd glasses on and get statistical.

Channeling Randall Cobb himself, it’s time to put my nerd glasses on and get statistical.

The preseason is officially over. So the next time the Green Bay Packers take the field, the games will actually matter.

On offense, the Packers figure to have one of the most feared attacks in football. Since taking over as the starter in 2008, Aaron Rodgers has been fortunate to play with one of the deepest receiving corps in the NFL. And now, he may be playing alongside the best running back of his six-year starting career in rookie Eddie Lacy.

There are plenty of concerns along the offensive line, but if Rodgers stays upright, it’s going to be another great year for Green Bay’s offense.

Rodgers said that Randall Cobb has the potential to be a 100-catch guy for the Packers, but with so many capable weapons on the same offense, it may be tough for him to reach triple digits. However, with Greg Jennings now playing for the Vikings, Cobb will enter the season as the odds-on favorite to lead the team in targets. So by that logic, 100 catches could certainly happen.

Adam Czech recently posted his own Vegas-style over/unders for the Packers’ upcoming season. Between that and our annual staff 53-man roster predictions, it’s clearly crystal ball time at ALLGBP.com.

In the comments section, chime in and say whether you think the player will outproduce my prediction (over) or if they’ll fall short (under) of my fearless forecast.

All statistical projections are based on each player playing a full 16-game season. And it’s much more interesting to project Rodgers to throw for 4,316 yards instead of 4,300. So, that explains that.

Rodgers: 4,316 passing yards, 38 TD 6 INT. 280 rushing yards, 3 TD.

With what should be an improved running game, I think this could be Rodgers’ most efficient season to date. But from a statistical standpoint in terms of yards and touchdowns, it’s hard to see Rodgers ever topping his MVP season in 2011 in which he threw for over 4,600 yards and 45 touchdowns in just 15 games. He may not contend for league MVP this season if he puts up numbers similar to these, but let’s be honest, 4,300 yards, 38 touchdowns and just six interceptions isn’t too shabby. It’s crazy that those numbers don’t stand out, but that’s the standard he’s set. As long as the offensive line can keep him upright, Rodgers is going to have another really, really good season. And if Eddie Lacy is everything the Packers hope he is, the offense is going to be really, really good, too.

Lacy: 240 carries, 1,123 yards 10 TD. 32 catches, 240 yards 1 TD.

Ryan Grant was the last Packer to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in a season. That was 2009. Now, it’s 2013 and the Packers appear to have finally found the workhorse they’ve been lacking in Eddie Lacy. A week ago, it looked like Lacy was destined for a timeshare in the team’s backfield with DuJuan Harris. But after Harris was placed on the season-ending injured reserve, Lacy is the clear-cut starter and looks poised for a big rookie year. The Packers will continue to throw the football as long as Rodgers is under center, but I consider Lacy a good bet for about 15 carries a game. In the redzone, Lacy will likely replace Kuhn as top option in short-yardage and goalline situations. As far as fantasy football, Lacy’s stock is rapidly rising. As long as he stays healthy, he’ll post good numbers against defenses that will be playing on their heels, thanks to No. 12 & Co.

Cobb: 102 catches, 1,238 yards 8 TD.

Randall Cobb was five years old the last time a Packers receiver (Robert Brooks in 1995) caught 100 passes in a season. In fact, only two Packers receivers (Brooks and Sterling Sharpe, twice) have hit triple-digit receptions in a single season. But if Cobb plays 16 games in 2013, he’ll likely lead the team in targets and could dwarf last season’s 80 catches. Despite being just 23 years old, Cobb is too valuable to continue playing on special teams. He’s a budding superstar, poised for a statistical spike this season. As far as touchdowns, Cobb may be hard-pressed to improve on last season’s eight. At 5-10, Cobb is more Wes Welker than Larry Fitzgerald, and while Welker has five 100-catch seasons, he’s never caught more than nine touchdowns in a season. If Cobb can play with his biceps injury, avoid further aggravation and play 16 games, he will catch 100 passes. There, I said it.

Nelson: 64 catches, 1,086 yards 10 TD.

The quarterback loves Randall Cobb, but he really likes Jordy Nelson, too. Nelson enjoyed a breakout year in 2011, catching 68 passes and 15 touchdowns. Last season, Nelson caught 49 passes and seven touchdowns in 12 games. Basically, when Nelson is on the field, Rodgers looks his way. Without Greg Jennings in the fold, Nelson assumes the role as the team’s top downfield threat on the perimeter, which could lead to a spike in yards-per-catch, similar to the 2011 season in which he averaged over 18 yards per catch. If Nelson stays healthy and averages four catches per contest, he should be right around 1,000 yards at the end of the season.

Jones: 52 catches, 706 yards 7 TD.

Alright, so James Jones had a tremendous season last year. James friggin’ Jones led the NFL with 14 touchdown catches. The same NFL that boasts athletic freaks such as Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham. James Jones led the league. He’ll certainly have his share of opportunities in his seventh NFL season, but I’m not convinced he’s a 1,000-yard receiver, like he’s suggested. Jones can have a great year for the Packers and post numbers like this. With Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson in and out of the lineup a year ago, Jones stepped up in a big way. As long as he’s ready when the Packers call his number, that’s all that matters. Statistically, I think Jones may take a dip this season. But again, that’s completely OK for the Packers, as it likely means Nelson, Cobb and Finley have all stayed healthy.

Finley: 62 catches, 760 yards 10 TD.

Yeah, yeah. I’m too optimistic when it comes to Finley. But seriously, this is the year. Because if things don’t fall in place for Finley this season, then Finley will land somewhere other than Green Bay next season. It’s the final year of his contract, and Finley has been unusually quiet throughout the summer. In just over a quarter against the St. Louis Rams, Finley caught four passes for 78 yards. Despite only playing 18 snaps, those 78 yards would have been a season-high for Finley in 2012. He came on strong after the bye week last season and has been perhaps the team’s most consistent pass catcher throughout this summer. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a motivated Finley shatter his personal records in every statistical category this season; I’m projecting him to set personal bests in catches and touchdowns but seven yards shy of his 767 yards in 2011. At least the Anti-Finley Committee will be able to rejoice in that shortcoming.

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Follow @MJEversoll

Marques is a Journalism student, serving as the Sports Editor of UW-Green Bay\'s campus newspaper The Fourth Estate and a Packers writer at Jersey Al\'s AllGBP.com. Follow Marques on Twitter @MJEversoll.

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19 Responses to “NostraMarques: Statistical predictions for Packers offense”

  1. ScottS says:

    With Rodgers’ talent, his command of the offense, and his supporting cast of recievers there will be plenty of defensive mis-matches for them to exploit. I may be too optimistic but I can see Jones and/or Finley doing even better. It’s all going to hinge on pass protection and run blocking. If the OL can somehow manage to keep pressure off Rodgers and open holes for Lacy all your predictions may be too low. Go Pack.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

    • Archie says:

      “It’s all going to hinge on pass protection and run blocking.”

      That’s true. The problem however, is that “pass protection and run blocking” is the weak suit for the Packers. This OL loses the battle at the line of scrimmage on almost every snap. AROD and Lacy will be forced to perform despite the extremely inept OL in front of them. Nowe that the Bears & cardinals have improved their OLs, the Pack probably have the poorest OL in the NFL. Just bringing some reality to you so you understand the Pack’s 0-3 start.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

      • Jerry says:

        Is the Packers O-line worse than Cardinals and the Raiders?

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • ScottS says:

        “If” and “Somehow” are two very important words in my post you seem to have overlooked. Next time read the entire post before dishing out your “reality.”

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

        • packett says:

          chill dude. He’s agreeing with you and saying its gonna affect swing the first 3 games.

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  2. Crefan says:

    The only thing I have different is Lacy running for 1500 yards and 14 Touchdowns and winning OROY.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

    • Stroh says:

      I would love it… But I just don’t see Lacy running for 1500 yds. 1200 tops. But more likely just over 1000 this year. As the OL gets better, Bulaga, Sherrod and Tretter healthy next year, I might see 1500. Not this year, behind this OL.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

    • Dobber says:

      Until Harris got hurt, I was thinking 800 yd and maybe 8 TD.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  3. Jerry says:

    If the O-Line can open some holes for Lacy, The Packers will have the coveted Two Headed monster. A Rodgers will be able to put up even more impressive numbers.This could be like the old days(95-98)Brett Farve and Dorsey Levens were very dynamic!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Stroh says:

      Favre and Ahman Green were Far more dynamic that him and Levens! Please tell me that was an oversight!

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3

  4. Andy says:

    Who is in the picture? It doesn’t look like Coob.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    • Marques Eversoll Marques Eversoll says:

      It’s Cobb. But you’re right, the sideburns and glasses are a nice disguise.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  5. Mandarichbestpickever says:

    According to your numbers, 286 yards will be gained in the passing game by somebody other than those you listed. That’s a total of only 18ypg to a 4th or 5th WR, 2nd or 3rd TE, 2nd or 3rd RB (I’m hoping Mayor Franklin) combined. Does Kuhn still catch the ball?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  6. Epy says:

    I love the predictions! The one thing that I’d say is Rodgers is rather adept at throwing to the open guy, it doesn’t matter who’s out there sort of thing. I think he’ll spread it out a little bit more among the 4th, 5th WRs and the RBs/TEs.

    That said I hope they get a decent amount of catches AND your predictions! :D

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1