Last season, the Green Bay Packers were called by many the most fraudulent 13-3 team ever. Indeed, they did little to prove the doubters wrong by getting blown out in the NFC Championship against the 49ers. Many pendants predicted the Packers would not only have a regression in record but also finish third in the NFC North.
“Well, well, well, how the turntables,” Michael Scott said. Instead of a regression, the Packers repeated their 13-3 record while looking like one of the most dominant all-around teams in the NFL. Now it is their opponent in last year’s NFC title game sitting last in their division while the Packers sit atop theirs. And not only are they atop their division, but the Packers are also atop the entire NFC, and the road to the Super Bowl is going to go through Lambeau Field. His home-field advantage is just one of the reasons why the Packers can win it all. Here, we bring you the others:
Reason #1- Aaron Rodgers
It is very difficult to win in the NFL. It is even more difficult to win in the playoffs. However, the main weapon that every team covets is a great quarterback. Aaron Rodgers, who very well might win his third MVP Award this year, has put together his best season since 2011.
He does not turn the ball over often (just five interceptions this season); he does not make stupid throws (a career-high 70.7% completion percentage this year), and he finds the end zone (48 touchdown pass and 51 total touchdowns). He is obviously more comfortable in his second season in Coach LaFleur’s system. In fact, Packers’ fans saw something from Rodgers that they hadn’t seen in years: smiling on the field; he’s having fun again, and Rodgers is dangerous when he’s having fun.
Reason #2- The Rest of the Offense
Led by Aaron Rodgers, the Packers had the highest-scoring offense in the NFL this season. Davante Adams became the first player ever to record 100 receptions and 18 touchdowns. Aaron Jones made his first Pro Bowl while recording his second-straight 1,000-yard season. The offensive line, while missing All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, has allowed the second-fewest sacks in the NFL.
The offense is rolling, having scored 30 or more points in five of their last six games, and scoring 40 or more in two of those matchups. Winners of six straight games, the Packers’ offense is in its groove. It will be very difficult to stop them.
Reason #3- The Defense Is Actually Really Good
Here are some interesting numbers: 25, 16, 24, 16, 14, 16. Those are the scores of the Packers’ last six opponents. The lowest score on this list, 14, belonged to the Tennessee Titans, then the highest-scoring team in the NFL. The long-running belief has been that this defense cannot stop the run. However, in the past five games, they have held their opponents’ leading rushers under 100 yards. This included the NFL’s leading rusher, Derrick Henry.
Several defensive players have made massive jumps. Darnell Savage has become one of the highest graded safeties in the NFL. In fact, Savage and Adrian Amos are the highest graded safety combo in the NFL according to PFF. Rashan Gary also has made an incredible jump from his first season to this season. While his sack numbers are not all the way there, but he is constantly in the backfield and draws double teams.
Of course, every defense has its weakness; however, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has himself improved in putting his players in the best positions to succeed. As the scores above show, this defense is hitting its stride, and it’s happening at the exact right time.