The race to the Super Bowl begins with a great start. Get the season rolling your way early and you have a big advantage. Sputter out of the gates and you’re in for a long uphill climb to get back into the race.
Coming off a 15-1 season and returning nearly all starters to the high-powered Packer offense, it’s easy to think the Packers will be hitting on all cylinders from the first whistle. But, this is a new season. So, let’s take a look at those first five games.
Green Bay vs San Francisco
The league is wasting no time in giving the Packers a big challenge. Alex Smith was going strong all season last year and the 49ers were a muffed punt away from going to the Super Bowl instead of the Giants.
The 49ers had a great season in 2011. Their defense was 4th in the league only allowing 308.2 yards a game and they didn’t give up a rushing touchdown until they met Seattle at the end of the season.
The Packers will be hard-pressed to earn a win in this game.
Green Bay vs Chicago
What can be said about the Packers-Bears rivalry that hasn’t already been said? Heck! We’ve been saying it for 90 years.
The Bears have been our chief competition for the division title over the last few seasons. However, Cutler hasn’t turned out to be the marvelous God-send Bears fans hoped he’d be. Add to that the fact that the team is aging and I would expect the Packers to remain on top of the division.
The Bears struggled to pull off a win at the end of the season against the lackluster Vikings (despite the Vikings losing Ponder). In that game, the Bears displayed ugly offense and ugly defense. If that carries over to the beginning of the season, the Packers should walk away with a win at Lambeau field in their first meeting with the Bears.
That said, with this rivalry you just never know.
Green Bay at Seattle
The Seahawks struggled all last season, but closed out the season nearly knocking off the 49ers who eventually ended up in the NFC championship. They also handed it to the Bears in grand style near the end of last season.
Will the Seahawks be able to build on those minor “victories” and use them to catapult them over the Packers in game three? I doubt it.
Green Bay vs New Orleans
Bounty gate has left the Saints with a decimated team. They still have Drew Brees and he’ll always raise the team to a higher level, but New Orleans will struggle to get wins in 2012. A full-strength Packer team will simply be too much for the Saints to stop.
Green Bay at Indianapolis
One year and the top draft pick will help the Colts, but not enough. It’ll take more than a little Luck for the Colts to match the Packers even though the game is on their home field.