Assessing the Green Bay Packers' Road to Perfection
The 2011 Green Bay Packers have a chance to do something that only two other teams have ever done since the NFL-AFL Merger, and something that only one other team has done since the league expanded its schedule to 16 games back in 1978. With only four weeks left in the regular season, the Packers have a perfect 12-0 record and have a chance to finish the year undefeated.
To go a perfect 16-0 would be an incredible accomplishment for this team, and with only four games left, it is a very real possibility. Of course, everyone remembers what happened back in 2007 when the New England Patriots went 16-0 and only the 1972 Miami Dolphins have run the table all the way to a Super Bowl title.
Whether or not this team truly wants to finish the season 16-0 or focus more on getting players healthy for the playoffs is to be determined. Nonetheless, this is a look at the Packers remaining schedule and an analysis of how the teams match up against each other.
Hope you enjoy, and please feel free to comment and share your thoughts.
Week 14: Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders are coming off an embarrassing 34-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins and are currently tied for first place in the AFC West with the Denver Broncos. Obviously, the Raiders have a lot to play for this weekend; unfortunately for them, this game is in Green Bay.
I really doubt that the Packers won't be motivated by their home crowd, especially when they still have yet to clinch home field advantage in the NFC. Once that happens, it may be a different story, but until then, the Packers will come out strong as ever and give this game their best effort.
The Packers defense may be struggling, but one thing they do better than anyone else in the NFL is get interceptions, and they should have no trouble doing that against Carson Palmer.
Bottom Line: Packers should win easily if they show up.
Week 15: At Kansas City Chiefs
Aside from the Super Bowl (If they get that far), this will be the last game this season that the Packers won't play at Lambeau Field. That aspect of it could be a bit tough, but that's about the only thing tough about this matchup.
On paper, the Packers should absolutely destroy the Chiefs. We will see in two weeks how it actually plays out, but this is a game that the Packers should definitely win.
Bottom Line: A loss here would be a bit embarrassing even though it's in Kansas City.
Week 16: Chicago Bears
The Packers already beat the Bears 27-17 in Chicago back in week 3. The big difference now is that the Bears will be without QB Jay Cutler and their best and probably only weapon on offense, RB Matt Forte.
It's pretty safe to say that the Packers should clearly outmatch their rivals in this game. However, at this point in the season, the Packers would probably have nothing left to play for but their record, and Chicago could be fighting it out with teams like Detroit, Atlanta and New York for a playoff spot.
Green Bay is the better team here and could even win resting some of their starters, but this game will probably be determined by the playoff situation entering Week 16 of the NFL season.
Bottom Line: If the Packers want it, they got it. If they don't, this could be loss No. 1. Being that this game is in Green Bay, I think they'll play hard, even if it is mostly backups on the field.
Week 17: Detroit Lions
This game in the final week of the NFL season will ultimately come down to the situation. This could essentially be a playoff game for the Lions, and the Packers will most likely be firmly in control of the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC entering the postseason. If the Packers are a perfect 15-0 going into this game, there will certainly be a lot of hometown fans in attendance to see history made.
As far as the matchup is concerned, the Lions are a very capable but inconsistent team who the Packers already beat on Thanksgiving in Detroit.
Bottom Line: If 16-0 is their goal going into this game, nothing will stop them. However, if they aren't too concerned with momentum going into the playoffs, the Lions could just want this one a little bit more.
We will see if Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers are playing for 16-0 or not, but until then, all we can do is speculate. The Packers still have a lot that needs to be fixed before they enter the playoffs if they want to win a second straight title, but things are still looking pretty good for this team.
If you want any sort of perspective on how well Aaron Rodgers and this Packers offense are playing, just understand that they could run the table with the league's second-worst ranked defense. That just shows you how much better they can still be. Pretty scary thought, I know, but it's the truth.