Peter King – high on the Packers

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Reader Cindy V posted a comment on THIS Peter King MMQB article over at Sports Illustrated while I was reading the article itself. Well, here begins the year of higher expectations. Peter King ranked the Packers the #1 team in the NFL going into the 2010 season. I think King over time has really grown to like Aaron Rodgers, but I also think he sees the overall growth of this team. He does cite a couple potential weaknesses (CB and pass rush) but still believes this is the #1 team heading into this season.

I feel good about this year for the Pack for sure too. But I wonder if part of why he picked GB for #1 is that there aren’t  any overly compelling arguments to be made for the other teams. The Saints were great last year but I think a good part of that was momentum (kind of like the NYG of a few years ago) – which makes me doubt that their success will carry over to this year. The Saints will probably be good again because that offense is so tough to stop, but I think the Packers have a more solid overall team at the moment. I don’t think the Vikes can rebound from their loss. I expect NE and the Jets to be decent but not Super Bowl caliber. Indy will be good again and so will Dallas. I’m not sure about King putting San Diego at #2 though. They have been good, but their history of chunking it in the playoffs has to have taken some kind of psychological toll on them – and if it has it might lead to a total crap-out season. I even wonder if this year might be that kind of a season for them. I also don’t know about Carolina at #6 – seems every year most writers pick Carolina to be good. Can’t figure that one out.

My early, early on sleeper this year: Seattle.

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9 Responses to “Peter King – high on the Packers”

  1. Nick Says:

    My sleeper is the Houston Texans. I think they grab a wild card, and I have a slight feeling (although it sounds crazy) that they may take the division from the colts…….

  2. Dave in Tucson Says:

    The Saints’ biggest worry has to be consistency. They haven’t had back-to-back winning seasons since 91-92.

    Seattle, seriously? Pete Carroll will need to be a Parcells-level genius to even get them close to 8 wins next year.

    You want a sleeper team? How ’bout the Raiders? Yeah, they’ve had at least 11 losses every season since ’02, but… Last year, they showed some spark beating the Steelers and Bengals (not so coincidentally, when JaMarcus Russell wasn’t playing). They’re in a weak division, and have 4 games vs the NFC West.

    The Lions are another team that bear watching. If they stay healthy (especially Stafford and Johnson), and Suh has a solid rookie season–that might be all it would take to get them to 8 wins this year.

    D∈T

  3. Ron LC Says:

    Defense giving up 500+ yds in games was not obviously eliminated by any of the off-season activity. The selection of one Safety in the draft is not the answer. It could be a step in the right direction. Until that issue has been completely resolved there is a high likelihood of losing some key games again.

    Let’s add in the memory of 51 sacks in 16 games. If that is repeated, GB may have to rely on Flynn to lead the team. The Oline picked up two guys in the draft. Nice! Anyone ready to bet whether Newhouse is another Josh Sitton or Meridith?

    My guess at this time is they are pretty much what they were coming into last year. Some potential they didn’t have last year and a little more experience will mark this year’s team. 11-5 was very good. Any improvement will move them ahead again. 12-4 would not be out of the question. It will be a good year again, but the SB is still a real crap shoot this year.

    • Dave in Tucson Says:

      1. 500 yard games: yeah, this is an issue, and I would’ve liked to see a CB taken in the draft. But I’m willing to give Dom Capers the benefit of the doubt for now; he’s got to know pass defense is a major issue.

      2. 51 sacks: 80% of these happened in the first 10 games. Again, an area to watch, but if they stay at 1 or 2 sacks a game, this shouldn’t be a problem.

      I do agree that these two issues (pass defense & O-line) are the Packers biggest issues right now. But I think they are eminently solvable. And if they do solve them, the Packers are well positioned to challenge the Vikings for the NFC North (even if F*vre comes back), and make a run (as they say) “deep into the playoffs”.

      D∈T

  4. DaveK Says:

    500 yard games: lets hope that year two in the 3-4 marks an improvement against good QB’s. Remember that Matthews wasn’t a starter until game 4 last year and Kampman was floundering on the other side. I’m guessing also that three of the CB’s won’t end up on IR by week eight like last year. This defense will be better then last year.

    The offense played amazing down the stretch last year. Even in the two losses (Pittsburgh and AZ) the offense clearly did more then enough to win those games. Five TD’s in five strait possessions in the playoff game and they don’t win? The line will be better. Finley found his stride and he should further open things up for the offense especially in the red zone. Barring injuries I just can’t imagine this offense not being more potent this year.

    I think special teams will play a big role this year if they want to get over the hump. Field position is a big deal in this league and the Packers in almost every game gave up field position because of ST’s play. They need better production on kick and punt returns. Blackmon was very effective punt returner in 2008 and a much better KR then Jordy Nelson. Getting him back healthy could greatly improve the KR and punt return production. They obviously also need a punter that can actually improve the field position battle instead of seeding yards to the other team week in and week out.

  5. RayMidge Says:

    I am really ambivilant about this sort of attention. On the one hand I do think that the Pack should improve and has the talent (and now the experience) to be a Super Bowl contender. On the other hand things like this for a team that has truly won nothing of consequence can be unnecessarily distracting.

    There is a publicity element to these types of rankings that favors the bold or novel prediction. I question whether King really thinks GB is the best team. I suspect that he doesn’t but that GB and SD are the two teams among the top 8 or so that will elicit the biggest reaction, will seem bold and daring for him to pick as “the best”.

    That said, on substance if both lines are improved (the major focus of the offseason) that ought to improve every other facet of the team, including the defensive backfield and LBs. No team can win without dominant lines. It’s like pitching in baseball, everything else plays off of the lines. TT and MM seem to think that the best way to improve the D was to make the defensive line rotation deeper. Its a sound strategy in my opinion, but it comes down to the players they chose being good enough to execute.

    Rodgers alone makes the Pack a threat to win it all for the next 5 years at least. Quarles may add another weapon to the passing game a la Chewy/Jackson in the late 90′s. I don’t know if this is the year, but they have assembled a lot of talent . . . I would much rather be under the radar, however.

  6. Katie Says:

    ESPN take’s on King’s article: http://espn.go.com/blog/nflnation/post/_/id/23569/the-big-question-packers-really

  7. 56Coop Says:

    Wow, I really like this site. Great comments all of the above. I hope Peter King is right but more than that, I want some of what he’s smoking.

    Unless we got some “homeruns” from the draft I think this team is still one or two positions from another Lombardi but I do think they can take back the NFC North if, as stated above, they get more consistent line play on both sides, less injuries, and can cover the middle against good QB’s. Here’s hoping both Harris & Woodson have Pro Bowl years, at the same time….

  8. Ron LC Says:

    Me too 56! I can’t get the 13-3 to 6-10 thing. How did that happen?

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