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BJ Raji Crucial To Green Bay’s Defense

The Green Bay Packers are likely to be stinging following their painful NFC Championship Game defeat, but that won’t stop the franchise from starting to plan for the next season. Having been overshadowed by the Aaron Rodgers-led offense for the past couple of years, the Green Bay defense really stepped up in 2015 and played a major role in a playoff run that should really have resulted in reaching the Super Bowl. While the whole defensive line improved significantly throughout the campaign, a number of players were instrumental in reaching the latter stages of the postseason and some of them are now waiting to see what their future holds.

BJ Raji was one of those who enjoyed something of a resurgence last year, making the move from defensive end back to nose tackle and making it clear where he does his best work. After an impressive 2010 season saw him earn Pro Bowl status, the Packers made the decision to move the former first round draft pick from his favored position to defensive end, where Raji failed to produce the level of performance that had seen him earn so many plaudits before. After suffering a bicep injury last season, the 29-year-old was unable to secure a long-term contract with the Packers and instead signed a one-year extension.

But following a stand-out, the Packers may have to pull out all the stops in order to keep the big man in Green Bay. And we all know the importance Ted Thompson places on his big men. Raji really showed what he brings to a team in the Packers’ defeat to the Cardinals. Having been torn apart by Arizona running back David Johnson during the regular season game, Raji restricted the Cardinals man to just 2.3 yards-per-carry and 35 yards on the ground.

As we prepare to close the book on another enthralling year, focus is already switching to next season and the Packers will again be one of the teams to watch. If you’re looking to increase your betting opportunities and asking ‘what are the bonus wagering requirements?’ for different sites, there are a host of very tempting offers out there. And for those interested in NFL odds, it’s fair to say Green Bay will once again be expected to make it into the postseason in 2016. While Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger, the quarterback is still performing at the top of his game and the veteran looks more than capable of leading this team to another Super Bowl.

The two-time winners haven’t made the season-ending finale since their 2010 success, but you’d have to consider Mike McCarthy’s men contenders again if they can hang onto their key players, such as Raji, and add a number of useful new faces to this roster. The Green Bay management have decisions to make regarding the future of 18 free agents, one of which is their big nose tackle. But while Raji will likely be on the shopping list of a number of NFL teams, the seven-season veteran will probably end up being one of the most important deals Green Bay are looking to conclude this offseason.

As long as they don’t lose a host of key players, 2016 could be a very successful year for the Packers.

Photo credit: Mike Morbeck (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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