GREEN BAY PACKERS
written by Dan Vachalek
The Packers won the Super Bowl in 2010 and were the best team in the NFL. Everything was looking good and they were the favorites to win the next season too, especially with how the defense was playing as they boasted the best defense in the league. Everybody had even more confidence in the Packers for the 2011 campaign since they were hampered by injuries all throughout the 2010 season, especially to JerMichael Finley, who people claimed before 2011 as one of, if not, the best tight end in the league.
With the players back, the season getting underway, the Packers looked better than the season before. They opened up the year against the New Orleans Saints and won 42-34. They didn’t stop there as they continued their winning streak all the way until week 15 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs in which the offense was shut down and the Packers were on the wrong side of a 19-14 final. All season, the Packers’ offense was the top in the league. Nobody could stop them, it seemed, and they were looking at a perfect season and a clear shot to the Super Bowl. Nick Collins ended up getting hurt early in the year which put him out the rest of the season.
The Packers ended up winning the final two games of the season against the Bears (35-21) and against the Lions with all their reserve players in and won in a shootout in which both defenses didn’t show up and the Packers ended up winning thanks to Matt Flynn throwing 480 yards and six touchdowns in a 45-41 victory.
The defense was a concern all season as they went from having a top-three defense in the NFL in 2010 when they won the Super Bowl to not having the pass rush they had and finishing the year ranked 32nd in the league in passing yards allowed. The Packers were able to win a bye week in Round 1. As the discussions flew around the league, and especially Wisconsin, dealing with sitting players for the final week of the season, especially when they have a first-round bye for the playoffs and giving them two weeks off as a little excessive, the Packers started preparing for the New York Giants. The excessive break and the players coming out rusty for the Divisional Round match-up against the Giants was a big cause for the 37-20 loss.
In the draft, the main goals were to get some solid pass-rushing players on the line and they selected Nick Perry out of USC in the first round and Jerel Worthy out of Michigan State in the second round. He is projected to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defensive formation. The only problem is that he has trouble in tight areas, which is going to fit him better in an outside linebacker position, but him covering the flat is going to be a concern. Jerel Worthy, however, is a powerful defensive lineman that dominates opposing linemen with his quickness and his bull rush capabilities. His technique and effort is sometimes a problem, though. This is a good draft for the Packers and they should be happy with what they were able to accomplish.
The offensive side of the ball is looking great, especially since the Packers have the best quarterback in the league in Aaron Rodgers and the receiving core is looking fantastic. The Packers lost Ryan Grant, but James Starks and Alex Green behind Rodgers shouldn’t be a big problem as the Packers had a very poor running game last season, so they don’t have any place to go but up. Donald Driver took a pay cut to stay a Packer and Greg Jennings is still there and the Packers are looking like they’re going to go places, especially with Aaron Rodgers leading the passing assault. On the line, Clifton was lost, but Jeff Saturday was added as the center to provide some leadership especially after he served as the center for a Peyton Manning-led Indianapolis Colts team.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers still have Clay Matthews in the linebacker position leading the defense. They have Tramon Williams playing corner with Charles Woodson moving to safety due to the fact that he’s getting older and is slower and wouldn’t be able to be the same type of player that he used to be in the cornerback position. B.J. Raji leads the line along with the two new draft picks and a bunch of other role players. The Packers are going to be hoping to get their star defense back that they had in their Super Bowl-winning season.
Three games to watch on the season for the Green Bay Packers are three match-ups that are going to test this team. The first one is another rematch against the New Orleans Saints in Week 4. A nice dual between two great quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers as it’ll probably be another shootout like it was in Week 1 of the 2011 season.
Another game to watch is their week 12 match-up against the New York Giants away from Green Bay in a Sunday Night game. The Packers were shut down in their first playoff game last season after a 15-1 season, so Green Bay will be looking to get back at the Giants and win to show people that last year’s playoff loss was just a fluke.
Another match-up to watch are both games against the Detroit Lions in Week 11 in Detroit and Week 14 in Green Bay. I think that the biggest competitor for the Packers this season is going to be the Detroit Lions and will definitely give them a run for their money in the NFC North division title race. If the Packers win both games, they have the division locked up. The biggest match-up is their Week 14 game since I think that game will determine who wins the NFC North.
For their schedule, I think that they have some automatic wins (both match-ups against Minnesota and Chicago, against Seattle and Indianapolis, St. Louis, Houston, Jacksonville and Arizona, and against Tennessee in Week 15). That’s eleven wins right there, then they have possible against the Giants, Detroit (at home) and against San Francisco with toss-ups against Detroit (on the road) and against New Orleans for an overall record, which is my prediction, of 13-3.
by David Snipes
The problem with the Packers is the defense. They simply cannot cover the offense when it can’t put points on the board.
The Packers scored less than 21 twice last season. Guess what two games.
The Packers were actually OUTGAINED in yardage last season- 412 to 405, how do you go 15-1 like that?
Much as people love the Pack, I think they are in trouble. I don’t like the draft, they have a SHORT secondary, and if Woodson, who is already slowing down, isn’t able to play safety, this team could be in trouble in 2-3 years.
But for now?
They swap the NFC South and AFC West for the AFC South and NFC West, so a 15-1 schedule got EASIER. They do get the Giants and Saints as bonus games.
I think they lose to the Saints (81-70) and at the Texans, but Roll to the SuperBowl.
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