5 Factors That May Prevent the Green Bay Packers from Repeating as Champions
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On paper, they look like the best team—only losing one game all year. But there are a few factors that could contribute to Green Bay being stopped before hoisting another Lombardi Trophy.
Here are some things you may not have thought of concerning the Packers that would question their ability to repeat.
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Lambeau in the snow might be a disadvantage to the Packers this season.
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The Packers have home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Teams in bad weather cities should have a pretty good running game, but the Packers have a mediocre running attack at best. If they play any games in the snow at Lambeau, they might have some trouble moving the ball.
They are one of the best passing teams in the league, but with snow falling, will the receivers be able to run the routes as well? And will Rodgers be able to execute as precisely?
The same can be said for the opposing quarterbacks, however, and the Packers have one of the best in the league. Perhaps they still get the advantage in the passing game in the snow.
But what about the running game, which is more heavily relied upon in bad weather?
Statistically, they average only 97 yards per game, ranking 27th in the NFL.
These numbers should be higher considering they have the best scoring offense in the league, posting an average of 35 points per game. In addition, Green Bay has the third best overall yardage totals in the league.
With all of the points being scored, the running game should play a bigger role on the offense than the passing offense does. They finished the regular season 15-1 though, so it doesn't matter right?
One of the worst rushing teams in terms of yards per game should have higher totals because they are winning almost every game. When they are up big, the Packers should be able to feel comfortable running out the clock with their running backs.
But they don't.
The Packers have also been nursing James Starks' ankle injury, which means Ryan Grant will be getting much of the work this postseason. So far, he has been the backup when Starks is healthy.
If there is snow in the forecast, the Packers offense might freeze up.
Green Bay Has Not Been Challenged Defensively All Year
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Green Bay has not had to face a good defense this entire season.
The best defense they have faced—based on yards allowed this season—was the 11th ranked Kansas City Chiefs. It was their only loss of the year.
Green Bay has played a relatively weak schedule in terms of defensive teams. The best team defense they have beaten was the Atlanta Falcons, who were 12th in yards allowed with 333.6 a game.
The best team they beat in terms of points per game allowed was in the first week of the year—the 13th best New Orleans Saints.
Kansas City was 12th, but again, this was their only loss.
If they want to repeat as champions, it is imperative that they score a lot of points because their defense is not able to keep teams from scoring. They will be challenged this year in the playoffs, whether it is in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers or in the Super Bowl against the Steelers or Ravens.
The 49ers look to be their biggest challenge and that game would be for the NFC Championship.
They will have to perfect their offense against a superb defense, and when that time comes, it might not end in their favor.
Another High Powered Offense
Green Bay will be challenged by the best offenses in the league throughout the playoffs.
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The Green Bay Packers might have a dynamic offense, but this year two teams rank higher than them in total yards.
The New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots both had more total yards on offense than the Packers. Should Green Bay face one of these teams, they will have to hope to score on every possession.
The Packers are proficient on offense, but what happens when it comes down to the last drive of the game?
If a team matches them score for score, then the winner will be the last team with the ball. The Packers were tested by the Giants earlier this season, but if it happens again, will the come out on top?
Green Bay will be tested by any team that is able to put up points on them. If it comes down to the final few minutes, then the team with the ball as the clock strikes zero will come out victorious.
The Packers need to hope that they are that team.
Their Defense: Worst in the NFL in Yards Per Game
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The Green Bay defense is the worst in the NFL. They have allowed an NFL worst 411 yards per game.
With that many yards being allowed, it is only a matter of time before a team is able to execute on offense and outscore Rodgers and the rest of their offense.
If they don't step up on defense in the playoffs, then they might get beaten because the other team is able to score more points than they are, even if it is a shootout.
The defense needs to find some sort of cohesion in the playoffs to give the Packers a chance.
Being the Favorite to Win It All
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The power of expectations and arrogance.
The Packers enter the playoffs as the hands down favorite to win the Super Bowl. Vegas has Green Bay as two-to-one favorites to win it all. When it comes down to it, however, will they be able to handle all of the pressure to complete the season as back-to-back champions?
Last year, they entered with no expectation and stormed through the NFC to get to the Super Bowl and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
This year, all eyes are on them.
They have handled the pressure all season, but when they are matched up against a superior defense and the media hypes the other teams' defensive capabilities, will they listen?
The Packers need to ignore the attention that is being drawn to them. They might enter as the best, but they can not allow themselves to believe it. If they do, they might relax and allow for teams to beat them.
The Packers will need to prove that they are truly the best and they are going to be given the opportunity to do so throughout the playoffs in a loaded NFC.
If they come out raising the Lombardi Trophy over their heads again, then they will have passed the test.