The Green Bay Packers are going to the Super Bowl. I’m calling it right now. Not the Saints, not the Rams, not the red-hot 49ers, not Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, the Packers are going. Why you might ask? Well, there are a lot of reasons why. The new and improved defense, the new coach/quarterback relationship, and the emerging offense are all factors of my bold prediction. However, there’s a lot more to this season than new roster moves and personnel decisions.
The New Defense
It sure does seem like there is a new era of defense in Titletown. Year after year, Packers fans have gotten their hearts shattered by the team’s lackluster defense giving up huge performances to the likes of average quarterbacks like Matt Ryan and Colin Kaepernick. I do believe that those days are finally behind the team, though. The new defensive stars have added speed, strength, and zest to the Packer’s defense. Currently, Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith are both top 10 in the league in sacks. Jaire Alexander has one of the highest PFF rankings in the NFL. Blake Martinez is currently 2nd in the league in tackles. Rookie sensation Darnell Savage is making a strong case for NFC Defensive Rookie of The Year. All of these factors have led to the team being top 5 in sacks and leading the league in defensive takeaways. But it’s not just the talent that has helped the defense find their path. Aaron Rodgers said it best in an interview after the astounding win in Dallas, “we all enjoy each other a lot more.” The team chemistry is through the roof. Guys spend a lot of time with each other off the field and it leads to more fluid and smooth communications on the field.
The Growing Surge of Offensive Production
The Packer’s offense got off to a very rough start in Chicago. Nobody is denying that. Things have certainly gotten better, though. Every week the team has managed to score more points than the week prior. With the win in Dallas, it seems the Packers found their running game identity with Aaron Jones. The Packers have one of the better offensive lines in the league and that has been a major factor in the offense’s production. Not to mention, Aaron Rodgers has definitely returned to MVP form. While the stats do not really show it, Rodgers has seemingly regained his ability to throw off of any platform and at any angle. Rodgers can still make all the throws he needs to in order to win games. Davante Adams is a star and will likely surpass 1000 yards again this year. While it is speculated that the team has not found their standout #2 wideout, I, and many other fans, believe that Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the guy. While he only caught one pass against Dallas, I believe moving forward, Valdes-Scantling will see a lot more targets. However, the key factor in this new offense is the new coach. Despite all of the negative feedback from fans, media critics, and analysts, LaFleur is 4-1 in his first 5 starts, which has not happened since the Lombardi days. The defense is outstanding, compared to prior years. The offense has not reached its final form yet, but it has improved in some way every single week.
LaFleur and the Packers are going to the Super Bowl. They have the most complete team in the NFC, free of major injuries, roster holes, or underperforming rookies. The Packers will be 1st or 2nd in the NFC, and with a first-round bye, could host the Rams, Seahawks, or even the 49ers at Lambeau Field in January. No NFC team can easily go to Lambeau in January and win. It’s about time Rodgers gets his chance at another title. It is as he said, “I’ve accomplished a lot in this league statistically, I just want to win now,” and win…win he will.
Images courtesy of packerswire.usatoday.com
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