Way too soon for “undefeated season” talk
By Brian E Murphy, Packers Insider Senior Editor
~Michael Irvin mentioned the possibility after the Packers first game, the 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints, in early September.
Now this week we heard pundits, journalists and ex-players from all over the place chime in on the Packers chances for an undefeated season.
The team has played six games. There are still 10 left, then the playoffs.
Included in those next 10 games are trips to Minnesota this Sunday, where Rodgers is 1-2 in his starting career. It’s also a place where Jared Allen has wreaked havoc on Rodgers, and coach McCarthy’s gameplan.
It’s also a place where the past QB of the Packers had trouble in his first half of his career, including losing many times when the Packers were heavily favored.
Despite Christian Ponder making his first ever start, this game could go in the Purple’s favor once (if) Allen and opposite DE Brian Robison start beating the Packers OL and pressuring Rodgers. Pressure often leads to interceptions, and usually leads to timing being messed up with the receivers.
If the Packers do win this game and go to 7-0, they still will have trips to the (currently 4-1) San Diego Chargers. This is a team picked by many to contend for the AFC Championship. Usually they get off to slow starts and pick it up in November and December to make the playoffs. This year, despite QB Philip Rivers playing worse than ever, they are more balanced on offense, defense, and special teams, and are now in first place in the AFC West. This game will be a test as the Chargers feature a strong running game with Ryan Mathews.
Of course, there is the showdown on Thanksgiving in Motown as the Packers visit the Lions for turkey bragging rights. Last year, of course, the Packers left Detroit with a loss, with no touchdowns scored, and with Rodgers out with a concussion. This game is no gimme, and in fact, might be the smallest point spread the Packers have from the men in Las Vegas.
The week after that game, the Packers head east to face the New York Giants, who many think will win the NFC East. This is a team that features a well-balanced offense, and a defense that gets after quarterbacks.
The only other road game is a trip a week before Christmas to Kansas City. When the 1997 Broncos started the year 13-0, they then lost at Kansas City. It’s often a tough place to play. This Chief team, however, is missing its best player on offense (Jamaal Charles) and defense (Eric Berry, apologies to Tamba Hali).
The remaining home games for the Packers are the Vikings, Buccaneers, Raiders, Bears, and Lions. None of those five teams are cupcakes. Only the Vikings have a bad record, but again, sometimes they play the Packers like it’s for the NFL title and they have pulled off many upsets of the Packers, even in Green Bay.
If the Packers return from Detroit, or New York, still undefeated, then it’s realistic to start thinking about the first 19-0 season in NFL history.
For now, the Packers better keep a good-blocking TE (hello Tom Crabtree) in to help block #69 in purple.