I’m not one to ever say this.
Especially not at this point in the season.
But the Green Bay Packers could go to the Super Bowl.
I know, and if I’m the jinx, I’m really sorry. But please note the could above. And it’s not that I think the Packers are this unstoppable powerhouse right now. They’ve been good, not great. It’s that good could go a long way – maybe all the way – in the 2019 NFC. And the AFC doesn’t exactly have a front-runner after the Patriots’ pedestrian showing in Baltimore.
For all of their perceived issues, the Packers have done some really impressive things this year. Example – the revamped defense has had its troubles giving up big plays. Yet, it always seems to be able to come up with a big play of its own or get a key stop when it needs it. See: Goal-line stop on the last play against Carolina. Having true playmakers like the Super Smith Brothers has been everything.
This is the difference. The defense has been the weak spot of the team for years. But this year, even with its faults, it has playmakers to change a game outcome.
Speaking of playmakers, the offense has never been short of individuals that can make things happen. But the emergence of a true star running back – and sleeper MVP pick – in former fifth-round-pick Aaron Jones has been huge. Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and a slew of “no-name” wide receivers have been solid, but have amazingly taken a back seat to Jones.
More important than the Packers strengths are the league’s weaknesses, in my opinion. I mean, who’s really out there? Let’s look at the current top 10 in the NFL.com’s Power Rankings.
- San Francisco 49ers
We all just watched Jimmy G completely melt under the pressure of a solid pass rush in a big moment on Monday Night Football. Yes, the defense is really good, but Jimmy isn’t taking them all the way.
- Baltimore Ravens
I’m on the Ravens and Lamar Jackson hype train more than any other team on this list. But we’ve seen this show before with young mobile QBs. The beating catches up with them, not to mention the lack of playoff experience.
- New England Patriots
The “best defense in football” was shredded by Jackson and the Ravens. They faced a good team and didn’t look like the Patriots of old. They looked… old.
- Seattle Seahawks
Yes, they beat the unbeaten 49ers. But the 49ers didn’t play well at all on offense and it took every second of OT for Seattle to avoid a tie. MVP front-runner Russell Wilson also threw a rookie interception late that could have gotten Seattle a win.
- Green Bay Packers
Go Pack Go
- New Orleans Saints
Sure, every team is due one of these games, and it happened to the Packers. But getting beat down by the lowly Falcons in your own place is puzzling and very concerning.
- Minnesota Vikings
I’ll never believe in Kirk Cousins. Next.
- Dallas Cowboys
Jones and the Packers ran them out of their own building until a late prevent defense comeback made it close. To me, the Cowboys are the team that lost to Cousins and the Vikings last week.
- Houston Texans
J.J. Watt may never be the player he was, which is disappointing. The defense is still solid, but I don’t think the Texans have enough horses to get over the hill.
- Kansas City Chiefs
We’ll have to see Patrick Mahomes at 100% to really know what’s going on with this team. But, they’ve already lost enough games to be concerned about their seeding chances. A healthy Mahomes changes the picture here.
With all the mediocrity out there, I end with this stat, which is an important one. The Packers have won the most games against teams with winning records in the NFL, and hold that lead by two.
In a mediocre field of good teams, the Packers have emerged the most successful. A win Sunday night puts them in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 seed.
It’s going to be a fun stretch run. Go Pack Go.