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Heart And Head Predictions For 2011

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Heart And Head Predictions For 2011

Every year since Corey and I started this website I have offered up a prediction from the heart and a prediction from the head for the upcoming Packers season. And as both the national and local pundits have made their picks, I guess its time for me to make mine.

Heart: 13-3 - Super Bowl Champs

Head: 11-5 - Super Bowl Champs

Get on board people. The train to Dynastyville is leaving the station tomorrow night.

Last year I thought only two things would keep the Packers from reaching and winning the Super Bowl. One was what I considered to be Aaron Rodgers' inability to step up in a big moment when his team needed him and win games on his own. Not only did he shatter those preconceptions, he went on one of the finest stretches I have ever seen a quarterback have after coming back from his second concussion to lead the Packers not only into the playoffs but through them, completely on the road, into the Super Bowl - where he had an exceptional performance to win the games Most Valuable Player award.

The other area I thought would hold the Packers back was what seemed to be Ted Thompson's unwillingness to bring in "veteran talent" to augment his roster. My exact words this time last year were:

...the Packers lack the other element the Saints possesed heading into 2009: A personnel head who is not afraid to bring in one or two veteran players, even midway through the season, to fortify holes on the roster that have cropped up either through injury or misjudged talent.

It's no coincidence that when the Saints and the Packers suffered injuries in their secondaries last year, the team that went out and re-fortified the position with the likes of Mike McKenzie (who played a huge role in the Saints regular season win over the Patriots) went on to win the Super Bowl while the team that re-fortified the position by promoting Jarrett Bush and signing Josh Bell was one-and-done in the playoffs after giving up a playoff record number of points and yardage.

Now, goodness knows not too many Packers fans knew who Erik Walden or Howard Green were when they were brought on board last year. But were they really any different than bringing in Josh Bell, who had actually started more than a few games for the Broncos? Walden was sitting on the street after bouncing around from team to team, having never been a starter, while Green had just recently been cut by the Jets after wearing out his welcome in New Orleans. Both are seen now, in retrospect, as good free agent pickups and integral to the Packers Super Bowl run while Bell is considered a misfire and a bad signing, mostly because fans remember him only for the last play of the Steelers game in 2009. But if you take the moves in the context of when and why they were made, they are pretty similar.

The fact of the matter is, Thompson's way worked. I didn't think it would, at least not in the "Getting the team to the Super Bowl" way - but it did.

Thompson is never going to bring in the free agents you see listed when major outlets like ESPN or SI do their lists of "Top 50 Free Agents." What he will bring in are guys that have toiled in relative anonymity but who have put decent work on film, guys who are hungry and who are willing to do anything asked of them to help a team win. That's what Thompson got in Walden and Green and it helped his team win a Super Bowl.

Now its time for his team to win another won.

We've covered why I think the lockout actually helps the Packers in their quest to repeat as Super Bowl champions. We've covered the lack of organized workouts and explored whether or not it will effect the Packers in 2011. (It won't) We've talked about other teams in the NFL who are making all the offseason noise, none of which will mean anything whatsoever once the ball is teed up on Thursday night.

That's where it all begins - tomorrow night against New Orleans. The defense of the title. The general manager has shaped the roster. Now, the head coach and his staff take over and ready those 53 men to battle through what will be a long and arduous season, filled with twists and turns that no one can know right now, but that will eventually tell the tale of how the Green Bay Packers made it to Indianapolis as representatives of the National Football Conference in Super Bowl XLVI, and how they left victorious.

Yes, for once the heart and the head are in concert. Champions once again. The dynasty begins now.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (17) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

ShopeIV's picture

awesome... only thing is i was assuming your heart would 16-0, Super Bowl Champions ... i know mine does

Anthony's picture

Wow, what a great article. It puts things into perspective. We really are that good, and better than the rest of the NFL, regardless of what anyone else is saying.

BTF's picture

Heart 14-2 Superbowl Champs.
Head 11-5 NFC champs.

Can't quite get my head to see a repeat,but then my head didn't see us win 3 on the road to reach the Superbowl last year..

BTF's picture

Couple of random thoughts-was interesting reading last years article and comments and reflecting how the secondary and the D in general went from a perceived Achilles heel (a perception I shared) to a great strength last year...

Secondly how lucky was the Green pick up for both us and him. If Ryan doesn't make the macho decision to cut him knowing we'd pick him up does he play so well in his first game and carve out a niche for himself ? Fate moves in mysterious ways...

Ruppert's picture

IMO, the only thing that can trip this team up is the usual slow start at the beginning of the season. I'm paranoid that this team will limp out to 3-3 and end up scrapping for a playoff spot.

Self confidence was a huge contributor to last year's run, so hopefully they still all realize how good they can truly be. And hopefully that means they show it right away and roll to 13-3.

I have to work through the first 3 quarters tomorrow night, so Cheers to everybody on the live blog in advance.

Go Pack Go!

chazman46's picture

When Capers got here and demonstrated his magic it was - "in Dom we trust". After last year it is now - "in McCarthy we trust, in Thompson we trust and in Dom we trust".
Not since since the days of Fritz Shurmur, Holmgren and Wolfe have the Packers had all 3 phases supporting the team with the talent to back it up.
So now the heart and head can be one, as are the Packers!

MarkinMadison's picture

I'm saying 12-4 just to be different. Mentally, I'm preparing for one of the Packers' four losses this year to come on Thursday. Overall I just look at the schedule and I think, "who are they going to trip against?" I don't think, "boy, they'll have a hard time against THAT team." The exception will be the Detriot games where our interior OL is going to have its work cut out for it. But we don't see Detriot until late in the season, and Lang will have plenty of reps in by then. I guess we'll find out if the Packers made the right move in dumping Colledge or not - I think they did. Overall, though, this schedule just does not look scary. Carolina, Denver, Oakland, and Minnesota twice? It's hard to tremble about Chicago or Atlanta after last January. There are some decent teams elsewhere on the schedule, but, really, who scares you? Nobody. Just pray for Clifton, Matthews and Rodgers to stay healthy, sit back, and enjoy the show.

Ken's picture

Let's get it!

foundinidaho's picture

I think dumping Colledge was a mistake. And no, not just because I like the guy. But I definitely hope I am very, very wrong.

I think a cold day in Hell has arrived - Nagler's optimistic and I'm cynical. But I sure hope you're right, Aaron.

Wgbeethree's picture

On a somewhat unrelated note.... The Head and the Heart is a pretty catchy band.

Mojo's picture

The biggest question mark I have for this team is; how will the o-line perform? With an aging Clifton, new guy at LG and not much depth the ultimate prize, the SB trophy, will be decided by them.

The Packers have the best QB in football. In case you haven't noticed he has a cannon arm, unbelievable accuracy and a nimble mind as well feet. He will have his tough times, as all QB's do, but if he puts it together at the end of the season, like last year, there will be little anyone can do to stop him. IMO he is the single most dominate player in the NFL. He and Finley have the ability to redefine their positions. If he stays healthy he might be able to overcome even mediocre line play.

I believe the window of opportunity is as large for the Packers as it has been for any team in the last 40 years. They once again are among the youngest teams in the league, with a cache of blue-chip players already on the roster and quite a few others with large upsides. They are financially sound both on the salary level and on the organizational level. They will lock-up their blue-chip players and build around them. Both the GM and coaching staff are top notch.

So on the eve of the Packers next season I'm predicting an 15-4 season (including play-offs) and a spot in SB XLVI. Teams just don't repeat anymore people say, but what the Pack did last year as a sixth seed was never done before. Therefore SB 2012 prediction from both the heart and head GB 35 - NE 23

NoWayJose's picture

It is glorious to have the head and heart in concert -- and that's what having a team like this can do for fans.

14-2. Super Bowl champs in a rematch of XLV against Pittsburgh.

(One of those two losses may come tomorrow - not feeling great about this one).

Lace em up!

Glorious80s's picture

Agree. Concerned about tomorrow's game. Judging from the preseason, Saints look a little more ready. 2nd Quarter in the third GB-Indy game both O line and D pass rush, for example. Saints looked super sharp in their game.
In any case, as former coach Herm Edwards said on ESPN radio, 16 super bowls is what GB faces. And, if they get there, 3-4 more.
Go Pack.

Norman's picture

"Thompson is never going to bring in the free agents you see listed when major outlets like ESPN or SI do their lists of "Top 50 Free Agents."

Umm, Charles Woodson? Anthony Smith?

Okay, that second one was in jest, Smith was on no one's Top 50 list. But Smith can truthfully claim to be a two-time Super Bowl Champion.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Now you are talking nagler. Hope the record matches the heart but I'll take either end result... wait their the same. winning!

GBP 4 LIFE

mark's picture

I predict the two big Packers stories for 2011 will be 1) the no huddle and 2) james starks. Rodgers has always had the cannon arm, nimble feet and pinpoint accuracy, but I think last year he took the next step mentally. he was able to read defenses with that Peyton/Brady intelligence, spot the mismatch, and exploit it. Now, with Finley back in the mix, I feel this ability becomes absolutely deadly. Look at how teams, very good teams, with great defenses (Bears, Eagles, Steelers) were picked apart by Rodgers. Now add Finley. Now add a no-huddle. Dios mio. Obviously, I'm not the first to highlight Finley as a potential game-changer in 2012, but I really think he makes this offense virtually unstoppable. And if it were even possible to make matters worse for opposing defenses, well, guess what? It is....add James Starks, who, I feel has the talent to be an elite back. I'm talking top 5, elite. I think Grant is in the picture because 1) he's good 2) the team wants to make sure Starks is over his injury spell. However, over the course off the season I expect the majority of the carries to move in Starks's favor, and with defenses continually playing back on their heels, nervous about the passing attack, and exhausted from the no-huddle, Starks will break off big run after big run. The guy is explosive, fast, powerful. He has "it", the "x-factor" whatever you want to call it. The tape doesn't lie.

It's a long season, and as we know from last year, health plays a big role, so anything can happen. But if we stay healthy, I really don't see anyone who can keep up outside of (maybe) the Patriots.

So fired up. GO PACK GO!

Pack Morris's picture

You're such a good writer. Even if you'd said my favorite team was going to go winless, your eloquence would've softened the blow. Great work, Aaron. Thanks for all the effort.

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"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
"The Bears still suck!"
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