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Opinion

Packers punch ticket

This NFL season has been one of many surprises, from the collapse of the Broncos to Seattle going to the divisional round of the NFC playoffs. But one of the bigger surprises is how the Green Bay Packers came from being the No. 6 seed with a 10-6 record to dominating the playoffs, and heading to Super Bowl XLV in two weeks. There are many reasons for this, but here are a few on why they’re going to Dallas and the Chicago Bears are heading home.

DEPTH
Anyone who has followed the NFL knows that the Packers had the most injuries this season. Ten major contributors are on injured reserve, missing a combined 90 games among them. Six of them–running back Ryan Grant, tight end Jermichael Finley, tackle Mark Tauscher, linebacker Nick Barnett, safety Morgan Burnett and linebacker Brad Jones–were starters in week one, but their replacements have been superb during this stretch.

New running back James Starks has been the find of the postseason, and linebacker Desmond Bishop has been a force in the middle replacing Barnett. Also, players such as Erik Walden and Sam Shields have been huge as free agents. Without these role players, I guarantee that Green Bay wouldn’t have made the playoffs, let alone the Super Bowl.

TURNOVERS
Every national analyst states that if you win the turnover battle, you’ll win the game, and that has never been truer for the Packers. From the three interceptions of Chicago quarterbacks, to Eli Manning’s five turnovers earlier this season, Green Bay has dominated the turnover battle. Second in the league in interceptions and being near the top in turnover ratio has been a huge factor this year.

VETERAN LEADERSHIP
Green Bay is a young team, but the few older veterans they employ have had a major impact in the locker room as well as on the field. With Charles Woodson being the vocal leader and Ryan Pickett playing his heart out week in and week out, the Packers have had the proper leadership to take them to the Super Bowl.

Now congratulations go out to the Chicago Bears. They had a good season, but with all the factors and adversity the Packers faced this year, it is truly a dream season for the cheeseheads.

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