The Pack was an awe-inspiring juggernaut through the regular season last year, save for one unfortunate run-in with Kyle Orton and Romeo Crennel’s defense. Recent history, however, is not kind to the team that finishes with the best regular season record in the NFL and so too was it unkind to the Packers, who were beaten quite decisively in the divisional round of the playoffs by the Giants. Many derisive Discount Double Check jokes were made.
Five Fast Facts About the Packers:
– John Kuhn has formally apologized to the one black Packers fan for the all the uncomfortable cheering.
– Aaron Rodgers thinks Jeff Saturday has the ideal center ass. A few appreciative trips to Hawaii and Saturday just might give it up.
– Anthony Hargrove will miss the game against the Saints due to his suspension for the bounty scandal. Probably for the best, as the Saints coaches still know all the physical cues to get him to dive at Aaron Rodgers’ knees.
– The biggest training camp battle is between Graham Harrell and Mason Crosby over who has the most upper crusty white kid name.
– Tramon Williams still brings laser pointers to movie theaters.
Notable acquisitions: Cedric Benson, Nick Perry, Jeff Saturday, Anthony Hargrove
Notable departures: Matt Flynn, Scott Wells, Chad Clifton, Nick Collins, Ryan Grant
Vegas win total over/under: 12 wins
KSK verdict: OVER
Fantasy player you’ll want to dig at with rusty hooks: Jermichael Finley
Finley may be less less of an infuriating fantasy disappointment this season than he’s been in years past, just because most people have accepted that he won’t be the top-tier tight end he’s been made out to be leading up to the past few seasons. That Finley’s number would be that much better if he couldn’t be counted on to drop two or three passes per game will ensure he’ll find a way to irritate Packers fans and fantasy owners alike.
Fan forecast, by Griffin Gotta:
The Green Bay Packers ended last season getting punked out of the playoffs at home. That loss to the eventual champions, however, was not one huge, unforeseen disappearance of what we thought we knew about the Packers, like your local mom-and-pop being there on the corner one day, then closed, bulldozed and wiped away entirely by a slab of cement the next. No, Green Bay’s screws were slowly slipping loose weeks before that, even weeks before their only regular season loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. As the point totals kept climbing and an offense that struck with a deadly quickness continued connecting on those pinpoint strikes, their best weapon — Aaron Rodgers and the whirring passing game — distracted critical eyes by the shininess of all those pretty plays.
Everyone saw the blatant problems on defense; the disappearing running game; the tendency towards uneven, sometimes sleepy, play, but that aerial attack just wouldn’t allow you to see, or maybe accept, the flimsiness of the rest of the Packers’ situation. And much like the electricity in Jurassic Park, Green Bay didn’t know how much they truly relied upon Rodgers being surgically right on every read, the offensive line holding up just long enough for him to flick that wrist, the receivers to break, look, and catch at exactly the precise moment, the true intricacy of all that working together at once, until it was all gone. In that NFC Divisional against the Giants, it went fast, and when it did little else seemed even close to passable, as far as Super Bowl contenders go.
It was a grim bow to tie on an otherwise electrifying, if in hindsight a bit ominous in its foreshadowing, season of football in Green Bay. But that was last year, and as ridiculous as it felt to see the Packers go down in flames in their first playoff game, it was just as insane to see them on top of the football world two seasons ago, when everything looked decidedly less optimistic, before the hottest streak at the perfect time rewrote all our memories forever. Make no mistake: The Packers should be freaking good this season. After a draft full of addressing both a tattered secondary that was worsened by a wheezing pass rush, and the return of pretty much everyone on that ready-to-detonate offense, the Packers picked up from last year exactly how you’d want them to: Like it was lots of fun but ultimately a major disappointment because of all the fun we had.
I’d expect the Packers to mix their “we know it what takes to win a Super Bowl” chemicals with some newly acquired “we embarrassed ourselves when it mattered most” elements to form a very eager, uber-talented squad that should battle for home field advantage in the NFC and beyond. In the NFL these days, though, a team’s true colors should be forming and improving throughout the season, rather than acting as some consistent standard to maintain throughout. More importantly, for a potential contender like Green Bay, the best must be saved for last, where, if we’re lucky as fans, we won’t wind up knowing what was possible or not until the very end.