A few quick thoughts about the Packers, who are picked by one of my favorite NFL writers, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, to win Super Bowl XLVII, and not picked by another, Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
First, the defense: The defense will be better. I’m not going to say it can’t get any worse, because a bad defense doesn’t go 15–1 in the regular season. The defense gave up a lot of yards because the offense accumulated big leads, forcing teams to abandon the run and hurl it down the field. The defense also gave up a lot of yards because of the injury to safety Nick Collins, whom the Packers never really replaced. But suffice to say the defense reminded no one of the ’61–62 Packers.
In the most important offensive area, how many points you score, it’s hard to imagine how the 2011 offense could get any better. General manager Ted Thompson made an interesting move by getting a name running back in free agency, Cedric Benson. I’m not sure the offense can get better than it was in 2011, but they may be able to be not as good and still win a lot of games.
I look at the schedule and I see a 13–3 regular season. (For one thing, the Packers’ strength, their pass offense, compares favorably to the weakest part of their NFC North rivals, their pass defense.) That should be enough to get them at least one home playoff game as the NFC North champion. Beyond that … ask me in December. (I can say that because the NFL regular season and postseason are really separate, as the past two seasons have demonstrated, with the NFC’s sixth and fourth seeds winning the Super Bowl.)