Packers May Be Down But Not Out
by Mike Conklin
November 28, 2013
We've seen this script before.
The Packers, missing their star quarterback, drop multiple games late in the season. Even though their signal caller may come back soon, their playoff chances are in peril. Hope is waning.
The last time this story line played out was just three years ago. As Week 15 of 2010 came to a close, the Packers had just finished losing their second game in a row. At that time, their record was 8-6. Their season was on life support.
Even so, the fat lady had not sung yet.
Aaron Rodgers was able to come back the following week and showed no signs of rust en route to a 45-17 blowout of the New York Giants. And the following week the Packers were able to scratch and claw their way to a win over the division rival Chicago Bears, despite the fact that the Bears were two games ahead of them in the standings.
That win enabled the Packers to make it to the playoffs, and the rest is history.
Although it may be hard to believe after such a disappointing result against the Lions on Thanksgiving, it is within the realm of possibility that the Packers season could play out in a similar fashion. Even down to a win-and-they're-in scenario against the Bears in the final week of the season.
Will the Packers defense need to drastically improve against the run in order for that to happen? Of course. After allowing over 200 yards rushing in three of the last four games, such a quick improvement seems improbable.
Once again, we can look at recent history to see that such a scenario is indeed possible.
In 2006, the Indianapolis Colts had a horrible run defense. In fact, that team was the worst against the rush of any squad since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, allowing 5.3 yards per carry during the regular season. Even though the Colts had a prolific offense behind Peyton Manning, there were major questions how far they could advance in the playoffs with such a porous defense.
The Colts defied the odds and were able to tighten things up dramatically once the postseason rolled around. They only allowed an average of 73 rushing yards per game en route to the Super Bowl, after having allowed 173 per game during the regular season. And with the championship on the line, the Colts defense helped earn a Lombardi Trophy by only allowing ten points to the Bears.
Can the Packers defense "turn it on" like the Colts were able to do that year?
It may not be likely, but it didn't seem likely in Indianapolis in December of 2006 either.
The season isn't over yet. Aaron Rodgers may return soon, and it is within the realm of possibility that the Packers could go on a roll of their own.
The fat lady may be warming up, but the Packers are only 1 1/2 games back in the division with a quarter of the season left.
The odds may be long, but the final chapter of the 2013 Green Bay Packers is yet to be written.
Photo Credit: Associated Press