The Green Bay Packers’ 2014 season absolutely could not have ended in a more disappointing fashion. That apparently has not stopped the Packers from being the consensus favorite to win the Super Bowl this year. I previously predicted here that the Packers would go 13-3 and win the NFC North division for the fifth consecutive year. Since then I have been having second thoughts. Here’s why.
First off, since the Packers’ crushing defeat in Super Bowl 32 they have consistently failed to live up to expectations when preseason prognosticators had them to win it all. Their Super Bowl win in 2010 came out of nowhere when they got hot at the right time. For former quarterback Brett Favre to retire with just one Super Bowl ring is discouraging. If Brett couldn’t do it more than once what makes anyone think Aaron Rodgers can?
The Packers have been right there pretty much every year since Favre arrived in 1992 but only have two championships to show for it. The Patriots on the other hand, have four in the last 15 years. If not for Brandon Bostick that could have been three and three, but unfortunately that kind of misfortune seems to be the Packers’ wont.
This year it seems like there is nothing than can stop the Packers. They have the best offense in the league returning intact and a defense that has top ten potential if not better if their young secondary performs to expectations. It’s the perfect storm for disappointment.
There is no question that quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the best in the game and could go down as one of the best ever. But having only one Super Bowl title, like Favre, keeps him from being one of the all time greats.
To me, this could be Rodgers’ best chance ever to win another Super Bowl. The Packers are in good shape salary cap wise and were able to keep Rodgers’ top two weapons in Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in the fold while running back Eddie Lacy is quietly becoming one of the best running backs in the league. Another year like his first two and Lacy will be due a huge increase when or before his rookie contract runs out. His next deal will be a huge hit to the Packers’ salary cap.
My other concerns are the same ones as last year. Number one, why on earth should we think the special teams will be better under Ron Zook? Head coach Mike McCarthy is a member of the good old boy club that always hires friends whenever possible. How else do you explain former special teams coach Shawn Slocum holding his job as long as he did? It took the worst loss in franchise history to get Slocum fired even though his special teams were among the worst in the league for years. Zook said he didn’t make many changes to the scheme and that Slocum did a good job, so I find it hard to expect much improvement.
Number two is I don’t think the Packers’ coaches are Super Bowl worthy. Since winning the Super Bowl and going 15-1 the following season the Packers have been out coached in every big game. Playoff losses to the Giants, 49ers twice, and last year’s debacle in Seattle make my case.
The Packers have all the tools to win it all, no question, but last year’s loss in Seattle could loom heavy over this team. I think the first game in Chicago will tell us all we need to know. If the Packers go down there and destroy the Bears like they should, only injuries will derail them. But if they overlook the Bears with the Seahawks looming in week two, 0-4 is a distinct possibility to start the season.
Bottom line is, I don’t think I like being the favorite.