Survey Results: Your Expectations for the 2021 Green Bay Packers

The annual look at the mood among the fans heading into the season, based on your survey responses.

Thank you to the 1,020 of you who responded to this year's Fan Expectations poll, once again setting a record for our most participants yet! 

This is the fourth year in a row I've run this survey, and I always enjoy getting the vibe of Packers fans right before training camp officially kicks off.

This is undeniably a strange year. There's a lot up in the air for the Packers. One's expectations for this season almost certainly correlate wtih their expectations for what will happen in the ongoing Aaron Rodgers saga.

As you'll see below, Packer fans overwhelmingly believe Aaron Rodgers will be quarterbacking the green and gold once again for the entirety of the 2021 season. But will that actually happen? It remains to be seen.

Most of the questions for this year are repeats of previous years' questions as well, except for the questions at the beginning about Rodgers. Despite all of the drama, there is a very positive tone among Packer fans, and this year the expectations seem much higher than they were heading into 2020.

Let's go one by one through the questions and the responses.

First things first: the general level of confidence Packer fans have in their team. This is a really fascinating question to compare to last year. While both years had an 8 out of 10 as the most common response, last year's responses were more heavily weighted toward sixes and sevens versus the large number of nines and 10s seen in this year's responses.

If Rodgers does indeed return, this is understandable. The Packers made improvements across the board last year and are bringing back almost all of their most important players, with opportunities for continued improvement from young stars. The Packers should be a presumptive favorite this year in the NFC, and it appears the bulk of Packer fans agree. 

This year, 76.7 percent of respondents gave an 8 or above in response to this answer, versus just 50.4 percent from a year ago. That's a huge increase in fan confidence.

Of the 1,020 responses received, only 70 believe Rodgers will not play for the Packers this year. This one surprised me--I thought there would be a lot more people who viewed Rodgers as being outta here. 

We'll find out for sure soon enough.

There are a few people who believe Rodgers will play this year but not be the starter for week one, but the vast majority of fans believe Aaron Rodgers will be the Packers' starter from the get-go. I have to believe that if Rodgers does indeed play, he will show up during the preseason and not miss any game time.

Here's where things start to get a bit more complicated. The responses to this question broke down as follows:

  • 31.6 percent: 12 wins
  • 24.4 percent: 13 wins
  • 16.3 percent: 11 wins
  • 11.8 percent: 14 wins
  • 6.4 percent: 10 wins

Other responses only got up to a few percent each. 

Keep in mind that the Packers will be playing a new 17-game schedule this year. So a plurality of people responding the survey expect the Packers to go 12-5 this year. Probably reasonable, given the schedule they face, but if Rodgers plays the whole year I'd probably lean toward 13 myself.

Who's the toughest draw for the Packers this year? Yeah, it's the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have represented the AFC in the last two Super Bowls, and figure to be the favorite to do it again with a stacked roster and talented superstar quarterback who hasn't even reached the prime of his career yet (how scary is that?). 

In a distant second with 13.3 percent is the San Francisco 49ers. Folks probably are expecting the 49ers to resemble something closer to their 2019 edition assuming they don't have another horrible run of luck with injuries. However, the NFC has grown a lot stronger within that two-year timespan, and the Packers are much better prepared for a matchup with a team like the 49ers than they were in that 2019 NFC Championship. 

A few others (9.6 percent) see the Rams as the toughest matchup, but the Packers managed them quite well in the playoffs in January. It will be interesting to see what Matthew Stafford brings to that offense when surrounded by capable coaching and playmakers.

What's in store for the Packers in 2021? Well, most say a Super Bowl championship.

That's right, a whopping 51.9 percent of fans expect the Packers to win it all this year. That's nearly double the number of people predicting a title from last year! Clearly expectations have increased significantly, and it's Super Bowl or Bust for Packer fans in 2021.

Let's just say if the Packers fail to win the division in 2021, it'll be a massive disappointment to Packer fans. Over 93 percent expect the Packers to win the division yet again.

For the few dissenters, the Vikings seem to be the primary competition in the division. This is probably accurate, but you never know when the Bears will pull out a randomly okay season.

The Packers finished with one of the league's very best offenses last year, and fans don't see a regression coming. Nearly nine in 10 respondents see the Packers maintaining top 10 status on offense in 2021. Again, this almost certainly hinges on the return of Rodgers.

The Packers technically finished with a top 10 defense in 2020, but those rankings can be very misleading. Most respondents once again see the Packers finishing somewhere in the middle of the pack on defense under new leadership in Joe Barry, a journeyman veteran coordinator. 

The Packers do have the talent to be one of the best defensive units in the league, though, so it's not surprsiing to see about 46 percent say the Packers will finish in the top 10.

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We now move on to the next section of the survey, the fill-in-the-blank responses. The first couple questions I'll provide some information about the most common responses, and later we'll get some copy-and-paste responses from CheeseheadTV users and Twitter folks.

Here we go!

Which player will be the biggest (positive) surprise in 2021?

There are a lot of different responses to this one this year, and I'm going to highlight a few of the most common answers, with a bit of my own commentary.

  • Amari Rodgers: Packer fans were desperate for the team to take a wide receiver in the draft this year. While Brian Gutekunst waited until the third round to make it happen, there's no doubt he picked an exciting player, one the majority of fans are excited about. So it's not a surprise to see the new A. Rodgers getting a lot of hype from Packer fans heading into the year. He fills a necessary role as a true slot receiver and possible gadget player, and if he clicks with Aaron Rodgers (or Jordan Love) he has the opportunity to see a lot of balls come his way.
  • AJ Dillon: Probably the second-most common response we got behind Amari Rodgers. Dillon's performance against Tennessee in the snow in December felt like a hint of what is to come. With Jamaal Williams out of the picture as someone to spell Aaron Jones, Dillon is going to get a lot more opportunity to get touches this year. It wouldn't surprise me to see him rack up 600-700 yards on the ground this year in relief of Jones. If he continues to improve as a receiver and blocker, he could become an extremely valuable tool in this offense.
  • Eric Stokes: Another top-five mention, the Packers' first-round pick seems to be getting fans excited for his speed and coverage skills. Perhaps fans are just excited for the possibility of getting Kevin King off the field sooner than later, but there's no doubt Stokes has a lot of talent.
  • Jon Runyan, Jr.: Not a name I would have picked, but one that showed up a LOT in these responses. With the Packers losing some depth on the line and with David Bakhtiari's injury probably causing some significant shuffling of the line in the early part of the season, there's a good chance Runyan could see some extensive playing time early on. Fans liked what they saw in limited action last year and seem to think good things are coming from him.
  • Josiah Deguara: A lot of mentions for Deguara, who also impressed in limited action early on before losing the rest of his rookie year to a torn ACL. Deguara is a skilled, versatile player who should add a fun element to the Packers' offense this year. Fans seem to think he's going to carve out a nice niche on this team.

Which player not named Aaron Rodgers will be most vital to the team's success in 2021?

Who do Packer fans believe to be the most important piece fo a championship puzzle, aside from the reigning MVP? Here are a few of the most common responses. They shouldn't be a surprise.

  • David Bakhtiari: It's unknown when Bakh will return to the Packers this season, but one could argue that his season-ending knee injury on New Year's Eve cost the Packers a Super Bowl championship. Whenever he returns, he will provide crucial blindside protection and help the Packers' line stand up to some of the tough front sevens in the NFC.
  • Davante Adams: If this is the "last ride" for Aaron Rodgers and Adams in Packers uniforms, the Packers are going to need Adams to be every bit the force he was in 2020, when he was the best receiver in the game. Adams' incredible route running and versatility make him the kind of receiving threat the Packers have not had since Sterling Sharpe. Here's hoping the Packers find a way to hold on to him beyond the 2021 season.
  • Za'Darius Smith: Smith was still a very solid player in 2020, but he was not quite as dominant as he was in 2019, at least not as consistently. If Smith is able to get back to regularly dominating matchups and generating pressure at a consistent rate, he will be the most important member of this Packer defense.
  • Jaire Alexander: Jaire burst into full-fledged stardom in 2020, and now is considered a premier shut-down corner in a league where shut-down corners are seemingly becoming extinct. Alexander's presence effectively shuts down half the field at any given time. His health and performance are critical to the defense's success.
  • Aaron Jones: Fans weren't necessarily expecting that the Packers would bring back Aaron Jones in free agency, but they made it happen. Now Jones needs to continue to provide the same outstanding offensive versatility that has made him such a threat in so many different offensive packages.

What are you most looking forward to about the Packers' 2021 season?

Here's where I'll copy and paste some of the survey responses from all of you! Remember, there were over 1000, so I just grabbed a few that stuck out from people who listed theier usernames.

  • @packerman93: How 17 games will take its toll on everyone.
  • HaroldDrake: "The spectacular failure of Jordan Love at QB, which will expose the utter folly of drafting him and costing the Packers the services of the NFL MVP, Aaron Rodgers." <------Boo this man!
  • Tofulang: "Rodgers going scorched earth."
  • MANY PEOPLE: Fans in the stands!t
  • Nick Perry: "The defense becoming a Top 5 defense. I believe with Rashan Gary REALLY breaking out, the best safety tandem in the NFL, a healthy Kenny Clark, the addition of Campbell at ILB, the additions of Stokes and Slaton, and a new DC, this defense ie ready to be top 5, maybe top 3."
  • @SnootBoopist: "Drinking the blood of Chicago fans."
  • @RavFal613: "Seeing the revamped defensive scheme."
  • @DKAlltheWay: "Shuttnig everyone the hell up."
  • @CliftonManns: "Aaron -----> Tae"
  • @aaronwegner3: "AJ Dillon's quads being let loose on the NFC North."
  • Popsname65: "Seeing Rodgers on the bench first couple of games for being such a child and distraction!" - lol ok
  • @Bjonescheit: "Man, I just want football back."
  • @CheeseheadCody: "Improvement on defense and how they will use Amari Rodgers."
  • @tony_brologna: "The offseason media BS will stop due to mandatory coverage of NE, DAL and KC." Okay, I laughed.
  • @jpkelley222: "Lot 1."
  • @kn l na-wi: "The first preseason game so we can find out why they hide Love like he's the lost ark of the covenant."
  • @christabanister: "Um, everything! I'm ready to avenge our NFC Championship loss from last season."
  • @joebuckyerself: "FIRST LAMBEAU TRIP BOOKED!!!!!" --- Have fun, dude!
  • @RumRunner1233: "First ever trip officially booked to Lambeau Field with my 11-year-old daughter!" --- Amazing!
  • JQ: "Christmas Day at Lambeau Field against the Browns. That's old school!"
  • Big B: "Just having the Packers back on TV."
  • @mattkuhnen: "Just having football discussions about football."
  • @siscomj: "Salty NFC North fans."
  • Purebread Fan: "Everything> Excitement, drama, full stadium, tailgating, rookies making an impact, being the numkber 1 offense, less Denver fans in our chat rooms, new defensive coordinator impact, winning the Super Bowl."
  • aaronthrobbers69: "Aaron Rodgers MVP B2B"
  • @AndyGilbert1994: "Kurt Benkert."
  • @diehardpackers1: "Quadzilla taking men's dignity."
  • @tylerherrick: "Winning the chip."
  • @ASM9424: "Seeing the team rally together."
  • @itsthecurls: "Eric Stokes becoming a star #2 CB"
  • @JakeSclitt: "Development of Krys Barnes and Darnell Savage."
  • @BM_Wyatt: "At least one AJ Dillon wheel route, followed by a physics lesson for an unfortunate safety."
  • @Fantasy_Munster: "Aaron Rodgers reporting. For so many reasons. Mostly because of what it'll mean for the organization and the 2021 season, but this has been a long offseason and I'm feeling a little petty. I do look forward to seeing how Schefty and everyone else who is convinced he is done with us react if/when #12 reports."
  • @MattMamba24: "How Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon will be used together."
  • gilmansg13: "Rodgers playing angry at the front office."
  • @TYLERRATHKE: "Shutting up the haters."
  • @mmulter: "The young, talented secondary."
  • @MCConvillian: "Fields getting picked offf 3 times in week 6"
  • MANY PEOPLE: "one last run" with Rodgers and the core unit.

Bonus: What teams will be playing in the Super Bowl?

The most common response to this question was, far and away, Packers vs. Chiefs. But other common responses: Packers vs. Bills, Packers vs. Titans and Packers vs. Ravens. For non-Packers responses, the Bucs and 49ers were the most common choices from the NFC.

 

 

THANK YOU to the more than 1,000 of you who participated and once again made this survey a huge hit. The Packers kick off training camp in less than two days, and I think we can all agree we're ready to put this offseason behind us.

No matter what happens this year, have fun, enjoy the sport and GO PACK GO!!!

 

__________________________

Tim Backes is a lifelong Packer fan and a contributor to CheeseheadTV. Follow him on Twitter @timbackes for his Packer takes, random musings and Untappd beer check-ins.

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Comments (11)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
stockholder's picture

July 26, 2021 at 01:40 pm

I'm so happy Rodgers is coming back to face the music. If anyone is up to the task it's him. And the new Beer on the block?. IS SUCK IT UP!

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Cubbygold's picture

July 26, 2021 at 01:49 pm

Now the question is; is he coming back on a new deal, or is this really a 8 month pause on the drama?

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

July 26, 2021 at 03:27 pm

They've got 12 months now to work out their differences again. That's a long time.

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Since&#039;61's picture

July 26, 2021 at 01:46 pm

Tim I appreciate your efforts to conduct the survey, compile and share the results with us.
I would recommend, that if Rodgers retires or is traded or does not show up by Week 1, you should rerun the survey to see how losing Rodgers impacts the survey results.

Just a thought. Thanks, Since '61

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BuckyBadger's picture

July 26, 2021 at 01:59 pm

Interesting but all I really get out of it is that Packer fans are homer fans. Surprised not to see Gary mentioned as a player vital for the teams success. I think if they get over the hump it is because Gary becomes the teams best pass rusher. Have to get some value out of that high draft pick and if he ever does fulfill his potential that defense will have some teeth up front with talented DBs all over the place. Nothing puts a team over the top like a pass rusher who can't be blocked.

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LambeauPlain's picture

July 26, 2021 at 02:34 pm

Agree...we saw how dominating Gary was becoming in the 2nd half of the season. Sacks of course but also how effective he was pushing the pocket into the QB. If The 2019 Preston is back, Gary is going to improve the play of everyone front 5. Synergies!

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JQ's picture

July 26, 2021 at 02:00 pm

Thanks Tim, for crunching the numbers and the tidy display of the results! Fun Stuff!

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ImaPayne's picture

July 26, 2021 at 02:31 pm

With Rodgers in the fold again, the pack still have a tough road to hoe this year. They have the toughest schedule in football. Gonna need linebackers and corners to play over average ball this year.
One good thing is if they falter and dont make playoffs, the Pack have more time to peddle Adams and Rodgers because neither is on the team next year.
The irony, I dont see them getting all that much for Rodgers. A one and Two at the very top for a 39 year old. More like a one and three.

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murf7777's picture

July 26, 2021 at 03:26 pm

I would say Rodgers value will greatly depend on the type of year he has. If it is similar to last year I suspect the Packers could get much more than a one and a two. If he has a year like 3 years ago than I tend to agree with you.

The reality is based on his MVP most recent year he hasn't shown any down turn in his abilities and many teams would love to have a run at the SB with him.

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LeotisHarris's picture

July 26, 2021 at 09:25 pm

There has to be some irony in trying to hoe a road, don't ya think?

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Mike Rossmeier's picture

July 26, 2021 at 03:35 pm

Looks like we won't be calling him "anti-Giannis".

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