After a 31-24 win on Sunday Night Football versus the Kansas City Chiefs, the Packers improved to 7-1 on the year, already surpassing their win total from last season. Aaron Rodgers has turned back the hands of time and has been posting MVP-esque numbers over the last two weeks, all while missing his Pro Bowl receiver Davante Adams. With the season halfway over, the playoff picture is starting to take form and the Packers are up there with the heavyweights.
But are the Packers really the team to beat out of the NFC right now? The San Francisco 49ers are 7-0 and have looked dominant on both sides of the ball. The New Orleans Saints had to rely on backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater over the last 5 weeks due to Drew Brees’ hand injury—and haven’t missed a beat, going 5-0 over that span. And Russell Wilson has been putting up insane numbers for a serious team with Super Bowl aspirations in the Seattle Seahawks. And don’t look back now, but the Minnesota Vikings are sitting at 6-2 and are only one game back of the Packers for tying atop the NFC North. The point being, the NFC is stacked with talented teams across the board, and the Packers don’t have a definite advantage over any of them.
The Packers barely snuck by a Mahomes-less Chiefs team Sunday, and were fortunate to get some questionable penalty calls in their Week 6 win against Detroit. This team is far from perfect, and with the October 29 trade deadline approaching, the Packers have the opportunity to bring in “rental deals” that could help the Pack go all in on this year’s revamped team. Brian Gutekunst, the Packers’ General Manager, has already proven to be aggressive in free agency with the additions in the Smith Bros Inc. (Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith) off the edge and Adrian Amos in the secondary. Here are a few more players Gute could add that would propel the Packers into stand-alone title contenders:
#1: DeVante Parker, WR, Dolphins
The Dolphins have been “fish tanking” this whole season away at the prospect of three first round picks in the 2020 NFL Draft. The team is a mess, and they appear to be dealing away frustrated players in exchange for a long-term rebuild for the future. DeVante Parker is one of the those players. Parker is currently on a two-year extension contract with the team, which suggests he isn’t currently a part of that long-time horizon rebuild. With a relatively small hit to our salary cap, Parker could be a perfect complement to Adams with a DeVante-Davante duo.
#2: Derek Wolfe, DE, Broncos
The Packers have been gashed by the run game throughout the season, and it puts a lot of stress on the secondary and linebackers to play tight coverage. The Smith Bros. have been terrorizing opposing quarterbacks, but their run defense leaves a bit to be desired. Derek Wolfe could solidify the defense in the 3-4 formation to immediately add a run-stopping presence. This isn’t the flashiest prospective move on the list, but it would be a huge addition regardless.
#3: A.J. Green, WR, Bengals
Gute, I think I speak for the entire Green Bay fanbase when I say make this happen. The thought of having A.J. Green and Davante Adams lining up on opposite hash marks is a scary thought. A.J. Green is a big bodied receiver who was in the consideration of the best receiver in the game before he hurt his foot. The Bengals have adamantly stated that they’re not looking to trade Green, but I think a good offer will be impossible to ignore, especially with the extremely high chance that A.J. Green will not resign for the 2020 season. Rodgers has been working with what’s been in front of him (and doing an impeccable job at it), but A.J. Green would make that job a lot easier.
The Packers will definitely be contenders when the playoffs roll around regardless of whether or not they make these moves, but one of these additions could be enough to push them into Super Bowl favorites out of the NFC.
The (possibly polished up) Packers face the Chargers in Los Angeles this Sunday (11/3) as they look to extend their winning streak to five games.