It is no secret that the Green Bay Packers defense has dropped off significantly from last year when they made huge plays that were highly important to their Super Bowl run. But despite their struggles this year, I still think that this defense can win a Super Bowl.
Look at their remaining opponents. In the next four weeks, they face the Raiders, who have been very inconsistent on offense, the Chiefs, who may be starting Tyler Palko at quarterback and the Bears, who will likely be starting their backup as well.
Their toughest test in the regular season may be the last game against the Lions. In their first matchup on Thanksgiving, the defense held the Lions' offense scoreless until the game was out of reach.
While the Packers will likely be facing stronger offenses in the playoffs, the last four games of the season could easily help the defense get some of their confidence and their momentum back so they will be ready to make some plays come the postseason.
When you look at this Packers defense, it is very similar to a defense that just won the Super Bowl two years ago: the New Orleans Saints. Like the Packers this year, the Saints were ranked near the bottom of the league in yards allowed, but were near the top of the league in forcing turnovers. This Packers defense forces turnovers, despite the big plays they have given up this season.
Turnovers may be the most important aspect of a defense and this certainly could be true for the Packers, as turnovers have won the game for the Packers so many times this season, despite the yardage and the points given up.
For instance, in a matchup against the Chargers, the Packers defense gave up 38 points, but in the final seconds of the game, forced a third interception by Philip Rivers that sealed the game. If the Packers can make key stops or create key turnovers at important points in the game, they can complement this explosive offense well.
The Packers defense also has the luxury of playing opposite one of the best offenses in the league. With Aaron Rodgers having such a fantastic year, the defense can afford to give up some plays, especially against weaker opponents.
There is no question that the Packers defense needs to improve; if they get in a shootout every week, they will likely lose at some point. However, I do not think a shootout is going to happen every week. The defense has had some solid games, including their game against the Falcons, where they held Atlanta scoreless after their first two drives.
Other impressive defensive performances came against division rivals Minnesota and Detroit, in games where they forced key turnovers to give Rodgers and the offense another chance to put points on the board.
The Packers defense has a history of making big plays and while they have given up way too many yards and way too many points, they have the talent and the ability to turn the game around and to win another Super Bowl. Sometimes it only takes one big stop or one big turnover to win a game. If the defense continues to force those turnovers, that could be enough. It certainly was for the Saints in 2009.