No Week 1 NFL spread is more up in the air at the various sportsbooks than Green Bay at New Orleans on Sunday, Sept. 12, because neither team is sure who its starting QB will be. The Saints opened at -3 on the NFL odds. The Packers obviously hope it is Aaron Rodgers, but if it's not that spread will rise considerably. New Orleans will be choosing between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill, but it's very possible if all is well with Rodgers that the Packers could end up as favorites.
Led by Rodgers, who would win his third NFL MVP Award, the Packers were clearly the best team in the NFC North last season, winning the division title by five games over second-place Chicago with a 13-3 record. The Pack are -125 favorites at William Hill Sportsbook to repeat, but the traders there supplied SportsLine with projected odds if Rodgers doesn't play for the Packers this season and Jordan Love is the QB. Under that scenario, the Minnesota Vikings would become +140 division favorites with Green Bay at +175, the Bears at +260 and Detroit Lions +1800.
It's hard to say when any resolution to the Rodgers-Packers standoff may come, but no trade is going to happen – on the long-shot chance Rodgers is actually dealt – under after June 1 due to salary-cap reasons. The NFL Network's Jesse Palmer is reporting that Denver is a "legitimate landing spot" for Rodgers.
Green Bay just signed veteran journeyman Blake Bortles for offseason activities and training camp because Rodgers and Love were the only signal-callers on the roster. Packers GM Brian Gutekunst recently said that Love has "a long way to go" in his development.
In his career, Rodgers has a 70 percent win rate against division rivals and has led the Packers to seven NFC North titles. Last year, the Pack's lone division loss was 28-22 at home vs. the Vikings.
Minnesota is currently a +260 second favorite to win the North and would have the most accomplished QB in the division in Kirk Cousins if Rodgers were to leave. Love has never taken a snap – remember, there was no preseason in 2020 -- and was the third stringer last year, the Bears have past-his-prime Andy Dalton set to start (at least until rookie Justin Fields is ready), and the Lions have disappointing former No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff under center via the Matthew Stafford to the Rams trade.
Green Bay's biggest move in free agency was re-signing running back Aaron Jones on a four-year, $48 million contract. That was a minor surprise after the Pack didn't slap Jones with the franchise tag and because the team took Boston College running back AJ Dillon in Round 2 of the 2020 draft. Green Bay's biggest free-agent loss was center Corey Linsley, who signed with the Chargers. Linsley was named a first-team All-Pro after starting 13 games for the Packers last year.
The Packers' 2021 schedule is ranked as the 4th-toughest in the league as their 17 opponents – visiting the Chiefs is the 17th game -- were a combined 147-124-1 last season. Needless to say, all of the futures odds listed below would change if Rodgers is traded.
Green Bay Packers trends/William Hill Sportsbook odds
- 2020 record: 13-3 (10-6 against the spread, 9-7 Over/Under)
- 2021 strength of schedule rank: 4th (opponents' combined winning percentage of .542)
- 2021 Over/Under win total: 10.5
- SportsLine Projection Model forecasted wins: 10.4
- Odds to win Super Bowl 56: +1800
- To win NFC: +850
- To win NFC North: -125
- To make playoffs: Yes -670, no +450
- NFL MVP odds: Aaron Rodgers +700
Green Bay Packers Schedule
Week 1 at New Orleans Saints: Teams met last year in Big Easy and Green Bay was 37-30 upset winner
Week 2 vs. Detroit Lions (MNF): Detroit's three-game road ATS winning streak in series ended last year in 42-21 loss
Week 3 at San Francisco 49ers (SNF): Pack trounced twice at Niners in 2019 (once in playoffs), won easily there last year
Week 4 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh has won five of past six in series, last in 2017 at home
Week 5 at Cincinnati Bengals: Cincinnati has covered past three in series, last in 2017 at Lambeau
Week 6 at Chicago Bears: Chicago's lone home win in past 10 meetings was 24-17 in December 2018
Week 7 vs. Washington Football Team: Packers 0-3 ATS in past three meetings but did win most recent one in 2019
Week 8 at Arizona Cardinals (TNF): First meeting since Cards were 20-17 upset winners at Lambeau in 2018
Week 9 at Kansas City Chiefs: Added 17th opponent; Pack won 31-24 at KC in 2019 but Patrick Mahomes didn't play
Week 10 vs. Seattle Seahawks: Green Bay hosted Seattle in Divisional Round following 2019 season and won 28-23
Week 11 at Minnesota Vikings: Vikes were 43-34 home losers last year as 1.5-point favorites
Week 12 vs. Los Angeles Rams: Teams met in last season's Divisional Round and Pack won 32-18 at home
Week 13 BYE
Week 14 vs. Chicago Bears (SNF): Green Bay has won the past five at home in the series, only failing to cover in 2018
Week 15 at Baltimore Ravens: Packers suffered rare home shutout loss (23-0) in last meeting four years ago
Week 16 vs. Cleveland Browns (Christmas): Cleveland is 1-4 SU & ATS in series since returning to NFL
Week 17 vs. Minnesota Vikings (SNF): The Pack are 6-4 in their past 10 at home vs. the Vikings but lost 28-22 a year ago
Week 18 at Detroit Lions: Pack have won past two in Motown but are on a four-game ATS losing streak there
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