The Green Bay Packers will not go undefeated in 2011.
As fun as it is to -- seemingly every year -- build up a team and make them out to be the squad that will make history and go undefeated – there’s a reason it hasn’t happened since ’72 Miami Dolphins.
The National Football League (NFL) has built its brand on the back of parity and, while that concept is what makes every single week of pro football exciting, it’s also what kills just about any shot a given squad may have of making history.
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Even the best team in the league is inevitably susceptible to one bad game. And if miraculously a team doesn’t have a single bad game all year long, they can still fall victim to an opponent having the best game in the history of the franchise.
There are just too many variables at work.
Look, the Packers are a very good team – particularly on the offensive end. They currently rank first in the league in scoring and, really, you could easily make the case that their offensive numbers should be even better. At the same time, as they made explicitly clear when they went scoreless in the second half of their last game against the St. Louis Rams, they are mortal enough to go cold like anyone else.
Plus that defense is not playing at a championship level at the moment. Green Bay’s pass defense, mind you, is 31st in the league.
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If you look ahead to the next five games that the Packers play, you could very easily make the case that they could reasonably lose three of them. Not that they will, just that the four teams they play in that five-game span are capable of beating the defending champions when they play their best football.
Green Bay plays the Minnesota Vikings twice in the next three weeks and, given the latter squad’s numerous offensive and defensive deficiencies, both of those should be easy wins. But then it gets tougher.
In between those two games versus the Vikings, the Packers have to take on the San Diego Chargers who boast enough talent and experience to pose a very legitimate threat. On the back end of that second Vikings game, Green Bay will have to play the Tampa Bay Bucs and Detroit Lions within a four-day period. While neither one of those teams is as good as the Packers, having so little time to rest in between could pose a problem.
Then after that there’s the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders, both of whom have a legitimate shot at handing the Packers a loss if they’re still undefeated at that point. And after a week off against the inferior Kansas City Chiefs, there’s the Chicago Bears on Christmas Day and the Lions once again on New Years Day.
Needless to say, that with games against the Chargers, Bucs, Raiders and Bears on the agenda – plus multiple outings against the Lions, the chances of the Packers going undefeated just in the regular season are slim.
Add in the postseason, and it’s a virtual certainty that it won’t happen.
Sadly, Packers fans will just have to settle for a second consecutive championship.