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Packers: The Bandwagon’s full, but don’t hop on yet

Here’s a sports column I wrote for the observer for this week, figured it would be enjoyable.

 

The number four jersey and the 1990’s era packers will always be remembered in Green Bay history, but Favre and the 1996 Super Bowl ring are long gone. The Aaron Rodgers era is in full swing and the Green Bay Packers are currently atop the NFL with a 13-0 record. With a current nineteen game winning streak, I’m not sure if the bandwagon can hold any more fans. However, don’t be so quick to hop on. This team can still be beaten.

The Packers bandwagon is so easy to jump on because they are the only undefeated team left. They also hold the second longest winning streak in NFL history, two games behind the Patriots record of twenty-one. Everyone enjoys watching a team win, but the packers do it in such powerful ways. Last Sunday they put up an embarrassing forty-six points on the 7-6 Raiders, a team that is still expected to make a playoff run.

This team has players that are capable of winning, but are comedic and familiar as well. Every girl in America seems to know how to do the Clay Matthews sack dance and can pick him out on the field at any time during the game. Speaking of dances, who could forget the BJ Raji touchdown hip shake against the Bears in the NFC Championship last season? Not to mention the Aaron Rodgers “championship belt dance” he performs every time he scores a touchdown. The belt seems to be the most popular thing since the Terrell Owens dance era. The “championship belt dance” has become so popular there is a Facebook page for it with 27,000 likes. ESPN’s SportsCenter did a three-minute mini documentary on it last year as well. Ever hear someone say, “discount double check” along with doing Rodger’s belt dance?  That’s because State Farm Insurance picked it up as an advertising tool; when customers save money with State Farm they do Rodger’s dance along with saying, “discount double check.”

People love the packers because they entertain, which is what pro football is all about. However, there still is a Super Bowl to be won, and I’m not buying in to the Packers just yet.

The phrase “defense wins championships” comes to mind. The Packers boast one of the leagues worst defenses. According to NFL.com they rank 31st in total defense (yards per game), putting this in perspective, the 0-13 Colts rank 28th. Green Bay also ranks 31st in passing yards allowed (yards per game). Staying in the stat columns the Packers rank 26th in average rushing yards per game with just under one hundred.

The Packer’s not only have a lack of running game, but a lack of run defense. Opponents against Green Bay average 4.8 yards per rush. To compare, the league’s current rushing leader, Maurice Jones-Drew, only averages 4.4 yards per rush. On Thanksgiving, against Detroit, the Packers defense gave up 136 yards on 21 carries. Most would say that was because of the Lions Javid Best, but he did not play because of a concussion. Instead, five different players had at least one rush for the Lions including quarterback Matthew Stafford who averaged 7.8 yards per carry.

Another problem with the Packer defense is the fact that they give up so many points. In sixteen games last year, the Packers gave up a total of 240 points. This year, 258 points given up, with three games left to play.

The main stat everyone cares about is the win column; the Packers have no issue there. However, can they be beat? Yes. “By who,” Becomes the next question? In the regular season, the only team that could come close is Detroit, with their rushing attack and deep passes to Calvin Johnson. In the playoffs the Packers will see teams like the run heavy San Francisco 49ers and the tandem rushing attack of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw of the New York Giants. The deeper into the playoffs the more this team, and defense, will be tested. Their biggest test, and defeat, will come from the 49ers. San Francisco is the only team with a running game good enough to wear down the Packers, and a defense good enough to slow down Aaron Rodgers.

Stay off the bandwagon until a New England-like dynasty comes about. One good year doesn’t give a team dynasty status. Yes, they have won nineteen straight but Green Bay was better last year with a defense that played at the same intensity as the offense. Keep in mind the phrase, “offense wins games, defense wins championships.”

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