Green Bay Packers: Why They Beat The Philadelphia Eagles
I have no problem admitting when I am wrong, and there has been no one that has been more critical of GM Ted Thompson than I have since 2008. Some of those criticisms I will still stand by. I do not think he is involved enough in free agency, and I thought his bad drafts in 2007 and 2008 contributed to the team going 6-10 in 2008.
Thompson has made up for those poor drafts with two unbelievable ones in 2009 and 2010. He hit two home runs in the 2009 draft with DT B.J. Raji and LB Clay Matthews in the first round. He also seems to have done the same this year with T Bryan Bulaga. TE Andrew Quarless and FB Quinn Johnson played roles in the win over the Eagles.
Most importantly, I thought the Packers made a big mistake not trading for RB Marshawn Lynch after RB Ryan Grant was lost for the season in Week 1. Thompson looks brilliant for staying with what he had: Rookie RB James Starks tallied 123 yards rushing on 23 carries. Starks was instrumental in the Packers advancing out of the Wild Card Round.
I thought Thompson was receiving too much credit for a GM with one division title, a 42-38 record and a 1-2 playoff record from 2005 to 2009. It is becoming harder to criticize Thompson by the day.
By going 10-6 this year, the Packers have made the playoffs for the third time in four years and the win over the Eagles had his vision written all over it. Their defense is nasty to play against, they are running the ball better the last month of the season and QB Aaron Rodgers earned his first playoff win.
He has seven touchdown passes and no interceptions in his first two playoff games. Those seven touchdowns are a record for the first two starts.
The Packers are playing their best football of the season and they are traveling to Atlanta, a place where they lost 20-17 on a last-second field goal earlier this season.
This has a chance to be an epic playoff game, and the Packers have an excellent shot of coming out of that game with a victory. When the Packers were sitting at 8-5 after losing 7-3 in Detroit, I thought their chances of making the playoffs were slim to none and Slim had just left town.
Today, the Packers are the most dangerous six seed in the history of the NFC playoffs.
The AFC winner is going to be relieved if the Packers do not make the Super Bowl, and a lot of the credit for that goes to the decisions that Thompson made in the 2009 and 2010 drafts.
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