The NFL standings are beginning to take shape as we hit mid-October and approach the midpoint of the season. And as the standings make themselves clearer it is becoming apparent which teams will be in the playoff picture, at least for the most part. In particular, if you tuned into your Direct TV NFL package for this past week’s games, you probably noticed one thing: the Green Bay Packers are making a strong case for being the only truly dominant team this year, and it’s starting to look like it will take a monumental effort for someone to dethrone the defending Super Bowl champions.
Heading into the week, most fans and analysts would have listed just a handful of teams under the heading of “dominant” or “Super Bowl contender.” The Packers, of course, would be among these teams, having coasted to a smooth 5-0 record heading into the weekend’s 6th round of games. The Lions, too, were undefeated heading into the week. Additionally, many have felt that teams like the New Orleans Saints (4-1 heading into the weekend) and New England Patriots (4-1 as well) were looking strong enough to potentially contend for titles.
This Sunday, however, the picture shifted a bit in favor of the Packers being the only team identifiable as “dominant.” The Lions suffered their first loss of the season in a tense game with San Francisco (which has quietly built up a 5-1 record of its own!). The Saints dropped a game against Tampa Bay, and at 4-2 will now have to remain more focused on contending within their division than in the league as a whole. And the Patriots – while they wound up earning a win and getting to 5-1 – needed a late comeback at home to repel the Dallas Cowboys. The Packers, meanwhile, coasted to an easy win against the St. Louis Rams, solidifying themselves as the last remaining unbeaten at 6-0.
So, what has the Packers leading the league in such a methodical way? Aside from substantial talent and considerable youth, you need look no further than quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has passed for an impressive 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns through 6 weeks (stats according to espn.com). If last season’s Super Bowl victory didn’t convince you that Rodgers is every bit as effective as the legend he replaced in Brett Favre, watching a single game this season may do the job – Rodgers is spectacular, and there’s no denying it. Add in one of the league’s best rushing defenses, and the increasingly undeniable genius of Coach McCarthy, and it’s no wonder the Packers are leading the NFL. It’s a bit of a jump to make predictions in week 6, but this team looks primed to repeat.