Updated 06:05 AM EST, Mon, Nov 29, 2021

2014 NFL Season Preview, Fantasy Sleepers, and Predictions: How Will the Green Bay Packers Fare With A Healthy Aaron Rodgers?

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With the NFL season fast approaching, Latino Post looks at the offseason moves that will make or break each team.

Last Season: 7-9 (Last in NFC West)

Key Additions: DE Julius Peppers, DT Letroy Guion, S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (1st round), WR Davante Adams (2nd round), DT Khyri Thornton (3rd round), TE Richard Rodgers (3rd round)

Key Losses: WR James Jones, QB Seneca Wallace, OT Marshall Newhouse, C Evan Dietrich-Smith, DE C.J. Wilson, S M.D. Jennings

Games to Watch: Sept. 4 at Seattle, Sept. 28 at Chicago, Oct. 28 at New Orleans, Nov. 39 vs. New England

Three Questions Heading into the 2014-15 Season:

1.       How important is a healthy Aaron Rodgers?

Before breaking his collar bone in a Monday night tilt with the Bears, Aaron Rodgers was a legitimate MVP candidate. The Packers went 2-5-1 in his absence.

Rodgers returned it time to lead Green Bay to a division-winning victory over Chicago, completing 25 of 39 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns. If that doesn't represent Rodgers' importance nothing will. He is the heart and soul of an offense that can't function with anything less, including backup Matt Flynn.

The Packers didn't make any significant offseason acquisitions, but they didn't have to. They lost James Jones to free agency but Rodgers still has Pro Bowl-caliber wide receivers in Greg Jennings, Randall Cobb, and Jordy Nelson. The trio was vital to an offense that ranked fifth in both receiving yards and yards per game among NFL teams.

Replacing Jones won't be a problem.

Aside from last season, Rodgers has missed two games since 2008. He averaged 4,266 passing yards, 34 touchdowns, and a 105.7 quarterback rating from 2008-12. If the Packers' offense falters it won't be because of Rodgers.

2.       Who replaces Jermichal Finley?

There isn't any question as to who the team's No. 1 tight end is. The only concern is whether Jermichal Finely can stay healthy.

Finley went down with a spinal contusion last season that put his career into jeopardy. His C-3 and C-4 vertebrae were fused a month after the injury. Ten months after the surgery, head coach Mike McCarthy still doesn't know what to expect.

Barring injuries, Finely was on pace for 80 receptions and 10 touchdowns last season. Replacing that isn't easy, regardless of what one's draft pick accomplished in college.

Andew Quarless and Brandon Bostick combined for 432 yards and three touchdowns in his absence. Neither stood out. Neither have Finley's blocking ability.

Richard Rodgers is a dark horse to win Finley's starting slot, and rightly so. Sure he's a rookie but Quarless and Bostick had half a season to prove themselves. Rodgers is a reflection of Findley; a big-play receiver who transitions into a pass blocker with ease.  

Only time will tell if Finley can return, but in looking at the Packers' depth chart, Rodgers is a common sense choice at starting tight end.

3.       How will their secondary fare?

There isn't any question as to what Green Bay's defensive line and linebacking core can do. A.J Hawk and Clay Matthews are still here and eight-time Pro Bowler Julies Peppers signed on during the offseason.

The Packers replaced M.D Jennings with standout cornerback Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Dix is an upgrade over Jennings but hasn't proven as much during training camp. If anything, Micah Hyde has as much of a chance of winning a starting slot as Clinton-Dix does.

Hyde is on the fast lane to start at safety, especially since Morgan Burnett is sidelined with an oblique injury. The ex-Hawkeye made a name for himself with an interception in the end zone last Wednesday. If anything, it proved that he can be the type of game-changing safety Green Bay missed last season.

A lot was expected from Casey Hayward last year but he was limited to three games with a hamstring injury. He has tremendous upside, alongside key defensive backs Sam Shields and Tramon Williams.

Green Bay has a solid mix of young secondaries, and they really don't have to be game-changers. The only problem is in matching up with more experienced receivers.

Fantasy sleeper:

Jarret Boykins- WR

Believe it or not, Jarret Boykins has a solid season. He caught 49 passes for 681 yards and three touchdowns. Surprisingly, his biggest impact came when Rodgers was out.

Boykins is slated to become the Packers' No. 3 receiver. He wouldn't be so high if Finley was healthy. What makes him a sleeper is that Green Bay's No. 3 wide receivers had at least 635 and seven touchdowns in the two years before 2013.

He's not the prototypical pick, but Boykins is a solid late-round selection.  

Prediction: 11-5

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