The Green Bay Packers played their first game of the 2010 season against the Philadelphia Eagles, a team they were expected to beat, and did by 7 points. However, the offensive squad the Pack faced in the first half of that match was not the one they were confronted with in the second, thanks to a game-ending concussion suffered by the Eagles’ starting quarterback Kevin Kolb at half-time.
Enter Michael Vick, the disgraced convicted felon and former Atlanta Falcons 3-time Pro-Bowler. The Packers’ defense – which was ranked number 1 against the run and 2nd overall in 2009 – failed to contain Vick, either on the ground or in the air, as he scrambled for over 100 yards and completed 16 of 24 passes, nearly matching Aaron Rodgers total passing yardage for the day. Still, The Packers walked away victorious, which leads us to game two.
Let’s face it, to refer to the Buffalo Bills as a sub-par team would be and insult to the consistently mediocre. The Bills are a terrible team, and so it was no surprise when the Packers treated them like $20 hookers during their second game of the season. Beating the Bills by a 34-7 margin was no big shock to me, but doing so did help to dispel the rumors that the Green Machine was losing its defensive prowess.
A hard-fought, low-scoring loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in game 3 didn’t cause me to question whether or not Green Bay still had one of the league’s most effective defenses, even though Jay Culter managed to scramble for 37 yards against it. Nobody on either side was able to run during that game (besides Culter) and nobody really even tried. Like many Bears/Packers matches before it, the difference in this one came down to penalties, special teams play, turnovers and heart, and the Pack lost the battle on all of those fronts, even though Rogers outgunned Culter by nearly 100 yards.
The Detroit Lions roared into Green Bay… *cough* Okay, so they didn’t so much “roar” as show up, but show up they did, and they gave the packers a headache they didn’t expect during this remarkably challenging bout. The Lions’ quarterback, Shaun Hill, ended up throwing for well over 300 yards against a Green Bay defense that should have held him to 200 yards or less. Hill also ran for over 50 yards, something that white, relatively slow quarterbacks just shouldn’t do… unless they’re possessed by the spirit of Fran Tarkenton. The Pack’s Aaron Rodgers threw for only 181 yards and ran for diddly, but he did complete three touchdown passes, and that was enough to hand them their 3rd win of the season.
Bottom line – The Packers’ defense is less consistent than it was last year, no doubt, but it’s still damned good, and don’ let the statistics trick you into thinking otherwise. The Green Machine may only be rated 10th overall right now, but I’d be shocked stupid if that didn’t change in their favor soon. Beyond that, Aaron Rogers is perhaps the most underrated quarterback in the NFL by most sports pundits who, let’s be honest, tend to know less about football than they do about drinking heavily.
Look for the Packers to go 9 and 7 this (regular) season, and with a little luck, 11 and 5.
By Edward L. Daley (aka DarcPrynce)
Click HERE To Read Installment 1.