The Green Bay Packers, the defending Super Bowl Champions, have emerged from the lockout a much stronger team than the one that walked away with the Lombardi Trophy last February.
Injuries to key players (Jermichael Finley, Ryan Grant, Nick Barnett, Mark Tauscher) set the Packers back last year, almost to the point where they did not qualify for the playoffs. It took a nosedive by the Giants for the Packers to get in. Once they got in, momentum took them the rest of the way.
Its seems unfathomable, but this year's healthy, replenished Packer team is as good - if not better - than many of the franchise's teams under the legendary Vince Lombardi. Numbers don't lie…the Packers are 6-0 for the first time since 1965 and have tied a franchise record with 12 consecutive wins including the postseason.
Green Bay is on a different plane right now than the other teams in the NFC. They are 2.5-1 favorites to win the conference. New Orleans is next at 6-1, Detroit is 8.5-1, San Francisco is 9-1, the Eagles are 13-1 and the Giants - who host the Pack Week 13 - are 16-1.
From the NFL:
“We’re 6-0,” says head coach Mike McCarthy, whose Packers have equaled the 12-game win streak by Vince Lombardi’s teams in 1961-62. “We’ve put good numbers up, but we have to get better. You have to be running on all cylinders and we’re not there, yet. Yes, we put up big numbers, but we’re not at the level we feel we can be at.”
The idea of the Packers getting better can’t be a comfortable thought for their opponents.
Green Bay has relied on its consistent offense en route to 6-0, scoring at least 24 points and posting at least 390 total net yards in each of its first six games this season for the first time in franchise history.
With last Sunday’s 24-3 win against St. Louis, Green Bay became the seventh defending Super Bowl champion to start a season 6-0. All six of those teams won at least 10 games and advanced to the playoffs, and two of them repeated as Super Bowl champions – the 1998 Denver Broncos and 2004 New England Patriots.
Aaron Rodgers, who was named Super Bowl XLV MVP following the Packers’ 31-25 win against Pittsburgh, has quarterbacked the Packers to their strong start and leads the NFL in touchdown passes (17) and passer rating (122.5).
With a 119.6 rating against St. Louis, Rodgers became the first player in NFL history with a 110+ passer rating in each of his first six games to start a season.
Rodgers is currently on pace to surpass Pro Football Hall of Famer Bart Starr’s mark for the highest passer rating by a quarterback in a season following a Super Bowl MVP performance (104.3 in 1968). He can also challenge Peyton Manning’s single-season passer rating record of 121.1 in 2004.
“You have to keep it in perspective,” says Rodgers. “Success is incredible. The numbers, they look good now, but let’s look at them at the end of the year. If they’re still right there at the top, that will feel good, but our ultimate goal here is to win Super Bowls. It won’t feel good unless we’re in Indianapolis this year, actually playing in the game and completing the journey.”