Green Bay Packers: An Average Team, but Enough to Win the NFC


The Green Bay Packers may have picked the right season to be average. In the NFC, that might be enough to succeed.

Despite an up-and-down 2016, the Green Bay Packers are in position to win the NFC North for the fifth time in six seasons.

In fact, this is one of those years where it seems just fine to be an average team. With Aaron Rodgers returning to MVP form, this group could sneak into the Super Bowl thanks to a sub-par conference.

Sitting at 4-6, many people left them for dead. Following their 30-27 victory over the Chicago Bears, Green Bay has won four straight with a decent chance of running the table to finish 10-6.

Winning championships often comes down to timing. Getting hot for a playoff run. Playing a team at the right time. Competing in a watered down league. Taking advantage of matchups, injuries, and a lack of experience.

More from Green Bay Packers

Look around the NFC specifically and you’ll mostly find a sea of mediocrity.  The NFL loves parity, evidenced by the so-so records and underwhelming teams.

There simply aren’t any dominating teams in the NFC.  Think about the gauntlet that existed in this conference in the 1990s.

Those Packers’ squads had tremendous talent, but they were held to just one title and two Super Bowl appearances. That’s because of who they had to deal with.

Green Bay had the Dallas Cowboys dynasty run with the triplets on offense, a historically good offensive line, and a play-making defense.

They also had to go through the San Francisco 49ers, a franchise addicted to winning and littered with skilled players.

Even the Minnesota Vikings were a beast in the ’90s. Did you know, the Vikings had more wins and playoff appearances in that decade than the Packers?

Randy Moss, an intimidating defense, and a big home field advantage fueled their success.

If you put those Packers’ teams from the 1993-1999 seasons into this era, we may have witnessed four or five trips to the big game. That’s not an exaggeration.

A large part of that is the lack of elite, playoff-tested teams that have a proven track record in the postseason.

Start in the NFC North. After beginning the year 5-0, the Minnesota Vikings have gone 2-7. A loss to the Packers on Saturday will knock them out of the playoffs.

Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers
Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers can knock the Vikings out of the playoffs with a win Sunday. Vengance for last year’s loss for the division title. Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /

After the perfect start, Minnesota lost four in a row. They failed to take advantage of a weak schedule and now are in trouble.

The Bears figured to finish last before the season began. Then Jay Cutler got hurt, and it became a near certainty. It’s been a rather ugly run to 3-11.

Meanwhile, the division-leading Detroit Lions aren’t scaring anyone either.

For one, they hold just a 16 point differential despite owning a 9-5 record. Six of their wins have come by four points or less.

Just one of the Lions’ nine victories came against a winning team – the 7-5-1 Washington Redskins. The teams they have beaten have a combined 48-76-1 mark – a .388 winning percentage.

In their five defeats, the Lions have lost to four teams above .500 and to the 3-11 Bears. So Detroit is 1-4 against winning clubs. Also, by seasons’ end, they will have played 13 of 16 games in a dome.

What about the 12-2 Dallas Cowboys, you ask?

Their defense ranks 13th in yards allowed per game and 14th in yards per play. They also rank just 16th in forcing turnovers. All this is a recipe for failure against the top teams.

Add on to the fact that Dallas is led by a rookie quarterback. A true rookie has never taken his team to the Super Bowl. That lack of experience clearly plays a role in the NFL postseason.

Many fans would be chomping at the bit for some revenge in the Great Northwest; however, it would certainly be the most challenging contest.

Some might worry about the New York Giants with Eli Manning’s two World Championships.

Packers’ fans also recognize the perplexing grip New York holds over them in the playoffs.

But let’s be real with this 10-4 squad.

They rank 27th in yards and 24th (19.4 per game) in points offensively. Scoring fewer than 20 points per contest is embarrassing for a winning team. Only the Houston Texas score less and have a winning record.

The Giants have tallied fewer than 20 points in half of their 14 contests.

And while their defense has stepped up late in games to eek out some victories, they are still middle of the road in yards allowed. Nothing dominating with this group.

In the South, no one ever believes in the Atlanta Falcons – and for good reason. Quarterback Matt Ryan is 1-4 in the playoffs with his lone win a 30-28 squeaker at home in the 2012 season.

The following week, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line, Atlanta lost at home to the 49ers. With a 24-14 halftime lead, the Falcons failed to score in the 3rd and 4th quarter.

Turning to the West, you’ll find the one team that probably should worry the Packers – the Seattle Seahawks.

While the Green Bay Packers just dismantled them a week ago, Seattle is a far different team on the road. Plus, Russell Wilson may have played his worst game ever in that 38-10 drubbing.

The Seahawks are currently 7-0 at home, but just 2-4-1 elsewhere. If they win one more game, it would guarantee any matchup with the Packers would take place in Seattle.

Many fans would be chomping at the bit for some revenge in the Great Northwest; however, it would certainly be the most challenging contest.

More from Dairyland Express

This isn’t meant to predict a magical run for the Packers, but it does show a feasible path for a hot team with a Hall-of-Fame QB.

Still, Green Bay has some warts to cover up.

Rodgers’ health remains a concern. The defense, suffering from its own rash of injuries, is susceptible to big plays and periods of complete sieve status as well.

There’s also the chance that Davante Adams turns back into stone hands (we’ll blame the cold for Sunday).

However, with the emergence of Ty Montgomery as a quality running back and the improvement of the receiving corps, the offense has plenty in the tank to win a shootout or take down a quality defense.

Next: Packers' Rodgers, Favre Own the Chicago Bears

Again, if the Green Bay Packers had to choose a year in which an average performance could get them somewhere, 2016 is it.