Behind the Jersey


Going into Week 13, the Packers are still perfect… barely. Even with the 12-0 record, it hasn’t been the smoothest of routes for the Green Bay squad. The hot and cold season has seen their offense rise and their defense occasionally fall.
Although they lead the planet with interceptions, they have allowed 20-plus points against seven teams. In those games, three teams have scored 30 or more  against them.
In their most recent clash, the Packers went back and forth with the struggling New York Giants that saw them barely escape with a 38-35 win in the final seconds of the game. With the odds completely against the down Giants, their offense followed the Packers’ pass for pass to keep the game within reach. Eli Manning did his part and a disappointing defensive unit gave up back-to-back big plays in the final 58 seconds to award Green Bay their 18th-straight overall victory. Meanwhile, the Giants dropped their fourth straight.
The game began with a huge opening drive by the Giants to open the eyes of the Green Bay sideline. This was going to be no picnic. Tight end Travis Beckum made the defense look silly as he caught a pass at the 35 and made a series of criss-cross moves on route to the endzone. The Packers would shortly answer and the game was tied for the first time at 7-7. The game would then go back and forth until halftime as the Packers led 21-17. The Packers would score a few minutes into the third to extend their lead to the first and only double-digit lead of the game for either team. Up 28-17, the Packers allowed the Giants to march down the field in just five plays to get back within reach. The game entered the fourth 28-24. In the fourth, the Giants were down by eight as they scored a TD in less than three minutes. They converted on a two-point attempt to lock the game up for the first time since 5:06 in the first. 58 seconds was enough time for the Packers as they would get into field goal range in just two plays. Field goal was good.
In the game, both QBs had over 40 attempts and 340 yards.When both QBs needed a big play, they made it. When receivers dropped passes, they went right back to them and put the ball in the endzone. Rodgers TDs were to three different receivers in a game that was filled with sideline catches and game-changing penalties. In a game that had six lead changes, the Giants-Packers matchup will be talked about for years to come.
This game said something about Rodgers’ ability to win games. After he threw a pick that led to a Giants’ score, he chuckled as he ran onto the field. It was almost as if he was thinking, “Go ahead and score. I’m going to score more than you.”
How has their up and down season gone exactly? Well, they have won by one score or less against five teams. Yet, they have won three games by 20 or more points. They have won six games against teams with winning records. They have four remaining games against teams with a combined record of 26-22. They play Oakland, Kansas City, Chicago and Detroit. They match up well against all of them and neither one of them can put up enough points to beat them. They will go 16-0 like the Patriots of 2007. With that, they will have the first round bye and be three games away from the all-time Dolphins record and a repeat championship.
Can anyone in the NFL beat them? I see only one defense strong enough to slow them down and that is the San Francisco 49ers. They have only given up 20 points or more twice this season. The problem is that they have the best RUSHING defense. The Packers don’t even need to run to put up 40 points in a game. Offensively, only the Saints can potentially score more points. Everyone in the world wants to see that rematch from opening game. The NFC Championship game may have more excitement than the Super Bowl this year. With that being said, if the Packers roll past the Saints, can anyone in the AFC beat them in the Super Bowl like the Giants of 2007? The answer is no. The Steelers do not force enough turnovers to keep the ball out of Rodgers’ hands. The Patriots are too inconsistent on defense as they allowed over 300 yards passing from the safety-prone third-stringer Orlovsky in Indianapolis. The Texans won’t do it. As well as they have done to get to 9-3, Andre Johnson is out and TJ Yates is not experienced enough to surpass Big Ben and/or Brady.
Basically what I’ve been trying to say in the last 900 words is unless the Saints play Super Bowl 44-like defense and put up 40 points in the NFC Championship against the Packers, the “cheese heads” might be celebrating their 19-0 perfection and second-consecutive Lombardi trophy come February. It would still be interesting to see Rodgers and company face off against the potential wildcard-winning Giants, the marching Saints and whatever unfortunate soul makes it out of the AFC (Ravens, Patriots or Steelers).