I think the Packers are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Hold up, give me a chance to explain myself. I know as a die-hard cheese-head I am obviously incredibly biased, but hear me out.
Not only do we have the reigning MVP with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, we have one of the best wide receivers in the league in Davante Adams, a nice one-two punch in running backs and a fast ascending defense.
The last time the Packers had a top 10 defense was in 2011, and guess who won their fourth Lombardi Trophy that season? After 10 weeks of action the defense is ranked third in the NFL, only allowing 202.7 passing yards per game, 309.9 total yards per game and just 18 points allowed per game.
The defense has weathered the storm after playing against some elite offenses in the last three weeks. According to ESPN’s Field Yates, Kyler Murray, Patrick Mahomes and Russell Wilson (mind you he was coming off of an injury) had combined stats of 62-of-110 (56.3%), 601 yards, one total TD, and four interceptions.
If the defense keeps trending upwards and players like Za’darius Smith are able to come back from injury, this defense could finally be the reason we make it to the Super Bowl.
Although the most recent game against the Seattle Seahawks was a bit of a snooze-fest. Not only were we able to win the game, 17-0 albeit with rusty quarterbacks on both sides, but the game helped cement the Packers as a top team in the NFL. The game also showed that running back AJ Dillion should be able to deal with the increased workload after Aaron Jones’ MCL sprain that will take him out of action for one to two weeks.
When looking at the team, we seem to have been bitten by the injury bug this season. Just in Seahawks game, running back Aaron Jones went down with a knee injury, veteran outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus may be out for the season with a bicep injury and outside linebacker Rashan Gary went down with an awful-looking elbow injury. The team has also been without All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari who is coming back from an ACL tear last season. Bakhtiari and the other cast of injured players will hopefully start coming back in time for the playoffs.
I trust that Rodgers and the offense will keep improving, though they seem to be lacking the lethality of last year’s potent offense. He was very clearly rusty after missing last week’s game against the Chiefs because of COVID-19.
Throughout the season, Rodgers hasn’t lit up the scoreboard as much as he had in the past, or even in comparison to last year’s season. But, he has been effective and has done his job. To me, he hasn’t looked like he has lost a step, but like any well-balanced team, less is being asked of him. When he has to, Rodgers can still amaze you with a throw that no one else can make and will put the ball in places that few can emulate.
Hopefully we can break out of our perpetual loss in the NFC Championship cycle, because it’s not fun. At least we aren’t like the Bears and their revolving door of quarterbacks. Anyways, I got off topic. Since 2014, the Packers have been to four NFC Championships.
The next game on their slate is against the 4-5 Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 21. Although this game isn’t a sure fire win, I still expect us to win against the Vikings. Can this defense keep up their impressive performances against the seventh ranked offense? This game will be a good test for a Joe Barry-led squad.
This game could also be one of those games where the team stumbles. The one where you should win, but instead you take a step back and lose in bad fashion. The Packers need to ensure that this doesn’t happen and lose our momentum, especially defensively. With Rodgers under center and some impressive defensive performances, I think this years Packers squad are Super Bowl caliber.
Maybe I shouldn’t get my hopes up and be optimistic about their chances, as the Packers have continuously managed to crush my heart in previous years (i.e. the 2015 NFC Championship game), but just this once I can’t help it.