My prognosticating abilities have been documented, to some degree, on this very blog–sometimes my accuracy can be called into question (see: Bowl-O-Rama these past two years), but occasionally, I get close enough to claim success.
Last year at this time, in the “And Football Never Left!” post, I forecasted an 11-5 record for the 2010 Green Bay Packers simply by looking at the team’s recently released schedule. Given the unexpected rash of injuries that factored in the the team’s actual 10-6 mark, I’m calling that incredibly acccurate…at the very least, just as good as your average weather forecast.
Tuesday, the NFL released its 2011 schedule. Rather than dwell on the fact that Wednesday is day 40 of the NFL lockout, I’m taking the optimistic approach and assuming there will be a 2011 season with real NFL players and not replacements. I don’t want to be seeing Keanu Reeves at QB for any team–although a Gene Hackman news conference might be interesting.
Speaking of assumptions, I’m going to project that there’s no way the 2011 Packers will be as injury-prone as their 2010 counterparts, and that QB Aaron Rodgers plays in all 16 games. There are no shortage of interesting variables: how the Packers handle the greatly increased expections, can Mike McCarthy maintain locker room harmony, will any 2011 Packers draftees be impact players, which other NFC teams improve themselves (via the draft, free agency, or through trades), along with my personal favorite: where will the Vikings play their home games?
September: Green Bay’s reward for winning a Super Bowl is a very interesting three-game stretch to start the season: the Saints game could be a shootout, the trip to Carolina has all the makings of a “trap” game, while Soldier Field will be as hostile as ever. Anything from 3-0 to 0-3 is possible, but I’m going to say the Packers win that shootout with the Saints, they sleepwalk through 60 minutes vs. the Panthers but still win, before losing a close one in Chicago, as Bears QB Caleb Hanie leads a dramatic last-minute TD drive. Yes, I just said that…but it’s not as unbelievable as it would have been if I’d said it last year, correct?
October: Green Bay responds to a week’s worth of pessimism from the Wisconsin media by dominating Denver at Lambeau Field. However, after a week’s worth of praise from the Wisconsin scribes and talking heads, the Pack lays an absolute egg in the Georgia Dome, as Matt Ryan throws 4 TD passes, while Rodgers is picked 3 times. That loss gets the national media off Green Bay’s back, while the Wisconsin press box cynics begin howling for changes up and down the Packers organization. Fortunately for all concerned, the Rams provide no resistance the next week at Lambeau, as the Pack rolls to an easy win. Then, after some tense early moments at TCF Bank Stadium the following week (Jared Allen sacks Rodgers on the first play of the game), the GB QB responds with a 5-TD performance in a one-sided win, as Vikings fans show the ability to exit an outdoor stadium just as quickly as they used to do in the Metrodome. It all adds up to an 3-1 month, and an overall record of 5-2 heading into the bye week.
November: Moving month in the NFL, and the Packers move right back into the Super Bowl conversation by rolling to four straight wins. Green Bay pulls out a win in San Diego, then survives a 3-TD night from Vikings QB Jake Locker (thanks to 4 TD passes from Rodgers and 3 rushing TD’s from James Starks), before two workmanlike performances to beat both the Bucs and Lions. Wisconsin scribes are heaping praise on the 9-2 Packers, and drafting their “dynasty” stories for publication.
December: Those stories are scrapped after a stink bomb in the Meadowlands (then again, maybe that’s the natural aroma of northern New Jersey), as the Giants roll all over the Pack. By now, the national media has labeled Green Bay a “one-year wonder,” and resulting herd mentality spills over into the Wisconsin print & broadcast types, so much so that a gray-bearded, retired QB begins throwing passes to HS players down in Mississippi–and the national media shows up to document the proceedings. Again, the schedule is favorable to the Packers, and they respond with decisive home wins over the Raiders, Bears, and Lions, sandwiched around another inexplicable road loss to the Chiefs. The aforementioned gray-bearded former QB stops throwing around his football, and goes back to cutting his grass.
Final record: 12-4, good enough to win the NFC North over the 10-6 Bears, the 8-8 Lions, and the 5-11 Vikings.
Agree? Disagree? Have your own expectations? Feel free to post those in the comments section, below.
Posted under Hometown Sports
This post was written by bbradovich on April 20, 2011