Welcome To Mr. Rodgers' Neighborhood
Ah yes, Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood: Land of the Cheeseheads. The Packers have made themselves quite a name in the NFL heading into Wildcard weekend. The NFC looks stacked, and all 6 teams could easily reach the big dance in Miami and nobody would think there were any major upsets.
So tell me, who wants to face the surging Packers potent attack. This may just be the most complete team in the NFC. We can argue all day, but numbers will never lie.
They say offense sells tickets and defense wins Championships. Well get your tickets Packer fans, your boys are going to the 'ship. Maybe not that easily. Let's take a look at some of the numbers, shall we?
On the defensive side of the ball, the Packers are the only team playing in the playoffs with a defense in the top five in rushing defense, passing defense, and total defense. They have picked off the opposition a league best 30 times. They boast a defensive MVP candidate in Charles Woodson and a defensive rookie of the year candidate in Clay Matthews.
On offense it only gets better. Aaron Rodgers is the first quarterback in the history of the NFL to pass for 4,000 yards in each of his first two starting seasons. Rodgers passed for 30 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions.
In addition Rodgers has ran for 316 yards and 5 touchdowns, best among all quarterbacks. The Packers are the first team in NFL history to boast a 4,000 yard passer, a 1,200 yard rusher, and two 1,000 yard receivers in back to back seasons.
Most importantly, there's a little something in the NFL called the money down. The great quarterbacks take care of business on third down. Rodgers has a ridiculous 135.4 passer rating on third down with 14 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Hands down, there isn't a better quarterback in the league on third down.
I realize many Viking fans love to talk about the Packers offensive line and Aaron Rodgers have been sacked 50 times, the most in the NFL (tied with Big Ben).
To that I say, Rodgers line has solidified over the second half of the season, they have now played with the same offensive line over the past 8 games. The result: 14 sacks in the past eight games.
Early in the season, the Packers defense was still adjusting to the new 3-4 system installed by Dom Capers. They've adjusted, they've learned, they've executed beautifully.
I can guarantee there is nothing the Packers would love more than to face Brett Favre and the Vikings. And they would love even more to play in a dome.
The Packer offense has turned the ball over a league low 16 times, and have an NFL best +24 turnover ratio. The defense is second to none in stopping the run, and they've allowed a league low 5 rushing touchdowns the entire season.
Sure, your average sports fan may not know the name Ryan Grant or Jermichael Finley, or Clay Matthews. But it's time to get used to these names. This isn't a team built for a one year run deep into the playoffs. Regardless of what happens in the playoffs, this team is loaded with talent for years to come. Once again the Packers are the youngest team in the NFL.
It's yet to be seen whether they will turn their inexperience into their advantage. Maybe they will. Maybe they won't. One things for sure. The Packers are extremely dangerous, teams should take start to take notice.
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