Green Bay Packers: Why It's Only Matter of Desire, Not Talent, to Reach 16-0
The Green Bay Packers have heard all the questions and answered with the correct words when asked about the possibility of finishing the regular season a perfect 16-0. The company line has continually been that the Packers are focusing on getting their next win.
With the playoffs in sight, the Packers have clinched a playoff spot, won their division and look to clinch a first-round bye in Week 14 against the Oakland Raiders. Head coach Mike McCarthy and players have said they would address the potential 16-0 season after clinching home-field advantage throughout.
The San Francisco 49ers, with their shockingly good season, could push the Packers into needing a win all the way in Week 16 or Week 17 against the Chicago Bears or Detroit Lions. It would require both teams to keep winning and is a very possible situation.
If the Packers can manage to clinch home field before Week 16, they will have to make the decision whether or not to go for perfection or to rest starters. At this point in the season, it is truly a matter of desire, not talent, for the Packers to reach perfection.
In the last four games of the season, the Packers play at home against the Oakland Raiders and travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs before returning to Lambeau Field to host the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions.
At 7-5 the Oakland Raiders have been one of the most inconsistent teams this season. They have proved they can play with any team in the league but showed in Week 13 that they can get blown out by any team as well.
The Kansas City Chiefs have been hurt by injuries more than most teams in the NFL. Going into the Week 15 matchup against the Packers, the Chiefs will be without Matt Cassel, Tony Moeaki, Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry. Quarterback play has been a huge concern in recent weeks as Tyler Palko filled in for Cassel before being replaced by Kyle Orton for all of one series as Orton dislocated his finger.
The issues at quarterback have also impacted the Chicago Bears. As of right now, Caleb Hanie is the starter and could face the Packers in a rematch of the NFC Championship game last year in which Hanie had some success. It is possible that Jay Cutler could be back for the Christmas Day showdown, but it is likely Matt Forte will be out of action with his high-ankle sprain.
In the last week of the season, the Packers host the Detroit Lions in a rematch of the Thanksgiving Day showdown. While the Lions have the talent to compete with the Packers, they have shown they lack the discipline to be a top-tier team in the league.
The Packers are clearly better than any of the teams remaining on the schedule and have a great shot to become the second team in NFL history to finish the regular season undefeated. If the Packers play out the remaining four games with all intentions of winning, they should accomplish the feat.
Talent-wise there is no team in the league right now that can slow down Aaron Rodgers enough to beat the Packers. On defense, the Packers have been among the league's best at taking the ball away.
With perfection on the line, the Packers should go out and play for a 16-0 finish. Although the historical implications are certainly important, the Packers should play all out without resting players because a potential disruption of rhythm.
Throughout his career, Aaron Rodgers has always played his best when he is able to get a rhythm. The same can be said for many other players on the Packers roster.
If the team rests players for the majority of the last two games of the season, the Packers starters will not have played a full meaningful game for close to month when they host their first playoff game in the middle of January.
The Packers should play for a 16-0 season and if they do, they have the talent to do so. With four very winnable games remaining this season, it is simply a matter of desire.
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