The Packers are going to the Super Bowl. Betting sites like TopBet.eu have the Packers with the third best odds to win the NFC, behind only the Cowboys, Seahawks and Falcons. But Green Bay is in the process of separating itself from the rest of the NFC’s best.
It’s important to note that if the season ended today, the Packers (7-6) would be the No. 9 seed and miss the playoffs. However, the last three games provide a strong indication that Green Bay has “figured it out” and is playing its best football at the right time.
The Packers have posted a 3-0 record in their last three contests, including a 27-13 drubbing of the Eagles, a 21-13 win over the Texans and a 38-10 beatdown of the Seahawks.
Now they get a shot at a banged up Chicago team, before finishing out their season against Minnesota (7-6) and Detroit (9-4), two teams ahead of them in the NFC North standings.
A look back at the previous 11 weeks reveals that Green Bay’s recent tear isn’t just a three-game anomaly. Of the Packers’ six losses, three were by single-digits by a combined nine points. The anomaly lies in their Week 10 and 11 losses in Tennessee and Washington where Green Bay lost 47-25 and 42-24, respectively, to cap off a four-game losing skid.
By the end of that stretch the Packers looked dead in the water. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers struggled out of the gate, but by the time he had gotten back to his usual MVP-level form, the team’s defense was sputtering badly. Over the losing streak, their defense allowed 420.8 yards-per-game and an absurd 38.3 points-per-game. On top of that, Green Bay was minus-four in turnover margin.
The Pack’s three-game winning streak has told a completely different story.
While Rodgers continues to dominate—he’s completed 74 percent of his passes with seven touchdowns and no interceptions during the winning streak—the Packers’ defense has turned the faucet off. They’ll be the key to this team making a run and they’re hitting their stride at precisely the right time.
Against Philly, Houston and Seattle, the defense allowed a paltry 317.7 yards-per-game and 12 points-per-contest. They also forced eight turnovers (six of which came against Seattle). While they’re not likely to only allow 12 points-per-game the rest of the season, the trend back to competence on the defensive side of the football bodes well for Green Bay.
Across the rest of the NFC, questions shroud the top teams.
Can the Cowboys’ two rookies handle a 16-game season and the weight that comes with a run to the NFL Playoffs?
Can the Seahawks adapt to life without arguably their best defensive player?
Can Matt Ryan carry a team through January?
Can Eli Manning perform more minor miracles?
Are the Lions actually good? (This isn’t a rhetorical device, I’d literally like someone to tell me in the comments whether the Lions are actually good because I have no idea).
The biggest question mark around Green Bay was its defense. The Packers seem to have gotten that right. Now it’s just a matter of whether the Vikings and Lions can stave off the hard-charging Pack. That doesn’t seem likely, and it’s a safe bet that nobody wants to play Green Bay come January.
If the rest of the NFC can’t keep the Packers out of the postseason, their fans can book plane tickets to Houston right away, because there isn’t a team in the NFC equipped to beat a red-hot Green Bay team.
Experiment 626. Coffee drinker and cat enthusiast. Pro-avocado. Anti-sac bunt. Habitual bat flipper. Alex Smith apologist. Yoenis Cespedes fanboy.