Well the Packers go back to work soon, with an admirable record of 5-3 but a bit of a momentum loss against the Saints. Looking forward, there are three teams that really worry me. Three teams that are a big threat to the Packers’ success.
The first one might surprise you:
1. The Packers
Yeah, the Packers scare me. This is a team that is capable of great things but when opposing teams take away it’s identity (great offense and ball-hawking, opportunistic defense) they get beat…plain and simple. Is it just me or does it seem like all opposing defenses have to do is minimize Jordy Nelson’s impact and no matter how successful the other players are…we lose the game.
Aaron Rodgers is as good as it gets in the league. But he (and McCarthy) should know that teams are gonna double-team Jordy…we should have an answer. Eddie Lacy had a great game against the Saints, but we still couldn’t win. The Packers seem to “show up” for some games and not for others. It pains me to say it but I don’t think I am alone in Packernation wondering which team is gonna show up each week…The Trick or the Treat (yes, shameless Halloween reference).
2. The Lions
While I don’t expect the Lions to run the table, it is very telling that they have stormed back to win in two consecutive games without the help of Calvin Johnson. I don’t expect the Packers to run the table either. At this point, the Lions could make things less interesting than once expected in that last game of the season. Packers could be playing for seeding.
I know that the Packers can win from any position in the playoffs, but seeing the Lions take homefield throughout would be a very unhappy thing IMHO. The Packers, who have owned the Lions for so many years, simply got jobbed in September in Detroit. While we are all used to the Lions self-destructing, and they have shown that they can put together some pretty bad first halves of football…I expect an uptick when Megatron takes the field healthy.
3. The New Orleans Saints
After beating the crud outta the Packers, the Saints turned around and beat the Panthers the following Thursday…that is not easy. The Saints have lost four but are now on top of their division so they have plenty to play for. The second half of the season could see the Cowboys drop a couple, maybe the Lions implode, even (heaven forbid) the Packers lose more ground. The Saints are in position to make a push. Their schedule isn’t easy, facing the 49’ers and the Ravens, but with Jimmy Graham getting healthy and an always dangerous Drew Brees, the Saints could continue to be hot down the stretch.
If the Packers can maintain their identity, they can beat any team out there…including the AFC powerhouse teams (Broncos, Chargers, Ravens) but if they continue to falter, whether it be under the big lights or against the better teams, Packernation will still be biting its fingernails each time they take the field.
The Packers can to some extent control their own destiny as they are right in the race not just for the playoffs but for solid seeding in the playoffs. They have to go through some good teams (like the Eagles who are also tough) but if they can get/stay healthy and find ways to win games where defenses take away our offensive weapons, they can get the job done.
The second half of the season ought to be a thriller.