Cory's Corner: Packers Have Super Bowl Aspirations

Is this the year?

Can the Packers get to the Super Bowl?

One year ago, just about all of you would have called me nuts for even asking the question. The Packers were 4-5-1 after 10 games and were barely in the playoff conversation.

This year, the Packers are 8-2 and are front and center among the NFC playoff heavyweights. Green Bay was having fun back in August and now this team is really clicking.

And amazingly, it's not just because of Aaron Rodgers. Granted, Rodgers leads the NFL with 27 passes of at least 25 yards and he's completing 60 percent of his passes with four minutes left in games when the game is within one score.

But this team is more than just a world class quarterback flinging it all over the place. The Packers are 7-0 when they force at least one turnover and Aaron Jones has morphed into a bona fide No. 1 running back.

Many people still don't think that Jones is the correct choice as the team's featured back. He is 5-foot-9 and 208 pounds. Yet, he is squirting all over the field and has been the focal point of the offense. Jones has scored 47 percent of the offense's touchdowns.

The strangest part about the Packers is that Jamaal Williams leads Green Bay with five receiving touchdowns. This is a team with Pro Bowler Davante Adams, promising sophomore Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison. And, the guy that has the most receiving yards is a running back.

That's the secret ingredient about this team -- so many ways to beat you. Rodgers can throw it for 340 yards, but Jones can also run it for 130 and Adams can also rack up 120 yards. Heck, even Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis have shown what they can do in the passing game and Elgton Jenkins is proving that he has been the best draft pick from last year.

This team has lots of ways to beat you. And it better strap it up for the final six games. The NFC is a meat grinder and in order to see the NFC Championship Game, this team will need a bye. In order for that to happen, they will need to win at least four of the final six.

What a difference a year makes. Heck yes, this team can advance to the Super Bowl. But Green Bay only gets to Miami in February if David Bakhtiari gets back to 100 percent, the secondary doesn't take so many chances and if the Packers get a No. 2 wide receiver to step up.

Green Bay is a tough out because it knows who it is. This team is a run-first team that uses its passing game to stab opponents in the heart. Keep that up and there's no reason the Packers can't win the NFC. 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (45)

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

November 16, 2019 at 06:41 am

OK Cory, you had me at,”Is this the year?” So I will once again dust off my 19-0 prediction (in a Tiger slam sort of way).

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murf7777's picture

November 16, 2019 at 06:42 am

Absolutely they can and are one of the top 5 favorites to do so. Most of the reason is because we have Arod. We have a very talented O that can run and pass which makes it hard to defend. Our D is Opportunistic and if they get better at stopping the run, watch out this could be the year! Go pack go.

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PeteK's picture

November 16, 2019 at 07:44 am

Yes, they are very balanced, 60% passing which is 17 In the NFL !

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Boneman's picture

November 16, 2019 at 07:18 am

Like the Brewers and the Bucks, the Pack has everything needed to go all the way! Superstar and great supporting cast. No team is perfect but with a bit of luck we can be right there until the end. Its time to kill the demons from 2014 Championship game and start a new era of Packer excellence. I feel it coming so gear up and go Pack go!

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Guam's picture

November 16, 2019 at 07:47 am

I want to believe we are a super bowl contender this year, but something keeps telling me we are a year away. I think the SF game will be a true litmus test of our ability to contend this year.

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CoachJV's picture

November 16, 2019 at 08:48 am

We have the edge though.... LAF knows all of Shanahan's plays. And he will be feeding Pettine all the details.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 16, 2019 at 11:22 am

I think that probably is a 2-way street my friend. I don't think either one is really going to surprise the other. The Packers MUST be able to stop the run against SF and force Garapollo into longer 3rd down passing plays where he REALLY struggles.

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LambeauPlain's picture

November 16, 2019 at 07:47 am

Once you get to the dance, you can be crowned King!

Pack has the tools and ML and his coaches have done a great job employing their players in effective, efficient ways.

The D is my major concern, STs the second roadblock. But the D played much better Sunday...especially with Kenny Clark again wearing his Superman Cape alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy Smith & Smith.

At this point my hope for STs is that they just do not lose a game for the Pack.

I also think Sternberger will be getting many more snaps. His blocking was good on Sunday.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

November 17, 2019 at 07:01 am

LP,
Maybe it has been a blessing in surprise but one of the biggest injuries this year has been to Tonyan. My guess is he will finally be healthy after the bye week. Tonyan has the biggest upside potential to improve the Packers offense on the back nine of the schedule. Keep an eye on Tonyan and how LF uses him once healthy. MM would lacked the ability to identify and incorporate young players into the game plan but LF has the coaching ability to evaluate individual players and use their god given talent to help the team. I fully expect Tonyan to give the offense a big boost on his return.

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Turophile's picture

November 16, 2019 at 07:53 am

CAN the Packers win the superb owl this year...........yes. Will they, maybe, it depends on so many things, continued health, getting hot late in the season, the bounce of the ball.

Unlike many (who thought we'd have to wait until next season to make a run, I thought we'd do well this year, even before the season began. I even put a bet on the Packers for the superbowl................and I hardly ever bet.

The veteran free agency pickups had such a good feel about it, high value guys and comparatively young as well. The 2019 draft looks (although early) to be a good one. A mostly new coaching staff, a whole new playbook and a fresh attitude post-McCarthy, has invigorated the team.

While the team can get better or worse over the next few years, it doesn't need a great deal to keep improving. I'd try to keep Bulaga (3yr deal, something close to $10m per year if he can stay relatively healthy) and Martinez (a decent unspectacular ILB) and draft both those positions in 2020 as well, in the first three rounds. If I saw a WR I really liked, or a DL, that is also a good early choice. This draft should be a very good one for WR, good for ILB, but poor for TEs who have some blocking ability. It's also a fairly good year for QBs, but it seems just a little early for Rodgers replacement.

the signs look good going forward, though there can be many a slip twixt the cup and the lip. One game at a time, as the old mantra goes.

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Lphill's picture

November 16, 2019 at 08:12 am

Not gonna happen when the middle of the defense gets gashed by running backs and tight ends, everybody knows the Packers weakness so the opponent’s will exploit it. There were a few inside linebackers released last week and with the Packers bye it would have been a perfect time to try them out , I keep saying it but Blake Martinez is a liability . I would take AJ Hawk over him any day , AJ was good enough to help us get a Super Bowl . Imagine the Packers defense with a Kechley or an Urlacher type in the middle, I think even Clay would be better in the middle now.

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fastmoving's picture

November 16, 2019 at 08:27 am

yeah, right. Hawk must have been good, he was on the SB team!!!
He helped as much as Finley waiving his towel, maybe less.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 16, 2019 at 11:27 am

It was actually Desmond Bishop playing inside who made a difference in 2010. Hawk had very little to do with it.

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Houndog's picture

November 16, 2019 at 08:19 am

I doubt it, and I'm sure I'll get all kinds of Thumbs-down for this!
The past 4 - 5 games have shown us that the defense still has a way to go, and at the trade deadline Gutekunst did nothing but imitate TT. Then, in the past 2 games the offense seemed to forget what they learned when Adams was out, you don't need to throw a 40 yd bomb on third and two!
Few of us expected the Packers to be 8-2 at this stage and I think some of us are now expecting too much. The next few weeks will show what they're made of.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 16, 2019 at 10:39 am

The thing is, we no longer have the money available to make more free agency moves unless we completely pull an Elway and mortgage the future. When you combine that with the age of key players (QB, LT, RT especially), we don't have enough high draft resources to draft our way to a better team on paper, either.

Which, isn't that the point of the salary cap era? No one can build a super team, and thank God for that, or we'd be looking at Dallas with 15 Lombardi's. There are two ways to build a super bowl champ: Either the QB is going to be young (cheap) and good, or the defense and running game needs to be dominant. You can't have a great veteran (expensive) QB AND a great veteran (expensive) defense. You can't pay for it all, which is why the NFL is SO MUCH BETTER than pro soccer, baseball or basketball. The parity between areas like Green Bay and New York or Dallas is real.

So, you have to draft well (check), make smart free agent signings (check), stay healthy (check so far), have great coaching (check), shore up your weaknesses (in our case, run D, explosive pass plays and ST's) so they don't kill you (we'll see) and hope the bounces fall your way (we'll see.) You have to be good, smart and get some luck.

In other words, next year or the year after won't be any easier. So get it done this year! GPG!

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Guam's picture

November 16, 2019 at 10:46 am

I'm not so sure we won't have some cap space for next year. If Graham, Taylor, Twill and Lewis are released/not resigned that frees up close to $20 million in cap space and doesn't significantly damage the team. We will certainly have the room to sign our own free agents and maybe one of two more. The Packers could well be younger and better next year.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 16, 2019 at 12:46 pm

That's true. They could be. And you're forgetting Bulaga, who is an UFA.

But they will have to replace those guys too - either in the draft or with a vet. Graham is easy. He sucks now anyway and the young uns are ready to play. Taylor is easy too. TWill not so easy. He's played well. I could see him on another 1 year deal.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 16, 2019 at 04:20 pm

I'd sign tramon for 1 year $7M with no hesitation. Will he be more or for multiple years?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 16, 2019 at 04:20 pm

I'd sign tramon for 1 year $7M with no hesitation. Will he be more or for multiple years?

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flackcatcher's picture

November 16, 2019 at 07:46 pm

Packers have some hard decisions coming this off season. I count four OL veterans in danger of being let go over cap alone. (Buluga, Tuner and Lindsay and Taylor) Tuner is a one year rental (I hear the screaming now..) and Taylor is coming off a unhealed shoulder injury from the season before. As always coaches input will be critical here. T. Williams signing was pushed by Pettine, and we know he is highly respected by the front office and personal side of the GM. Gute had a small amount to work with by the nature of Rodgers early signing (not his call, he was not even in the job then) and by all accounts done an amazing job in free agency over the past two years. How the Packers go forward is something we can only guess at. Hard choices, tough decisions ahead...

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Guam's picture

November 17, 2019 at 08:28 am

Agreed that Twill is a tough decision. He is 36 however and that decision has to come at some point. I had Bulaga in mind as one of our free agents we will need to resign. I think Bulaga and Clark are guys that deserve deals and Martinez if his price is reasonable.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 16, 2019 at 11:37 am

"The thing is, we no longer have the money available to make more free agency moves unless we completely pull an Elway and mortgage the future"

THIS by my friend Bearmeat is EXACTLY why Gute didn't make any big moves at the trade deadline. The Packers were 7-1 or 7-2 at the deadline, 8-2 now and I'm sure Gute decided a while before he was rolling with who he had for 2019.

I was maybe hoping for a DT or possibly a WR like Saunders but the money used on someone that's any better than who the Packers currently have was probably a little rich, especially when you add in the draft capital they'd have to give up.

Let's roll with who we have now and make a play for a DT and WR in FA next season. This team has a chance, especially if it all ends up going through Lambeau. Drew Brees or SF just ain't going to like Lambeau in mid-January. IF the Packers win in SF next Sunday night they TOTALLY control their destiny for home field in the playoffs. And if Kenny Clark continues to play the way he has the last 2 weeks they have a hell of shot to do that.

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mrtundra's picture

November 16, 2019 at 08:34 am

We should not be looking at going to the Super Bowl, just yet. Let's beat the 49ers first and then move on to beating the remaining opponents, as they surface on our schedule. One game at a time, everyone! Otherwise, we risk the chance of overlooking or underestimating some team with those same aspirations of Super Bowl glory. Beat the next opponent on the schedule and things will take care of themselves. Let's take care of business in the NFC North, while we are at it! GO PACK, GO!!!

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Gort's picture

November 16, 2019 at 11:51 am

I agree.
Don't fret about January football in November.
1-0 every week is the goal.

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CoachJV's picture

November 16, 2019 at 08:45 am

I believe we will go to the Bowl... I believe in this team.

I believe in LaF... I believe in both Aaron's and both Smiths... We will be in the Superbowl this year.

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porupack's picture

November 16, 2019 at 09:34 am

Could be the year, yes; why?

- there has been good luck so far on injuries to key players.
- some lucky bounces, calls and "game of inches" on final seconds that chalked up a great record
- more diversity and ways to beat teams as Cory rightly mentions
- an improved defense, with more CB, safety experience and play. More consistent D-line pressure to match.
- Solid Oline with all gloom and doom about Bulaga being cinderella's glass slipper waiting to break; so far was gloom and doom.
- Emergence of Jones and Williams in dual run/pass options, and all the gloom and doom about Jones being cinderella's other glass slipper certain to break; so far gloom and doom. (all the 'he ain't no bell-cow/ we need a bell cow" offseason GMs out there).
- All the gloom and doom about Kevin King the cinderella glass slipper hasn't broken yet either.
- the 'role players' are contributing and new pics haven't yet started to hit their ceilings (E Jenkins, JSternberger, Savage, Vitale, MLewis).
- they're winning even with mediocre play and sloppy penalties and execution; still winning.
- good experience building by backups in secondary and WR, and could surprise opposing game planners.

Why I still have doubts;
-sloppy execution and penalties still at mid-season
-disappointing, or uneven performance by otherwise blue-chips; Rodgers and Bahktiari.
-still not a believer in the WR group; namely the 2nd and 3rd WR (MVS, Kumerow, or now Lazard).
-ability to defend against mobile QBs, elite TEs.
-methodically getting 3rd down conversions whether short or long. (that is my SB qualifier).
- new pics haven't hit their ceilings, and barely even seen for various reasons (sternberger, R Gary) and other 2nd/3rd year players supposedly were to have their breakthroughs (MVS, Kumerow, Allison).

I'm still a doubter on the super bowl ticket, but ambivalent now; its about what your bet is; potential vs past performance.
GB still hasn't put the dominating performances such as other 1st tier teams (IMHO) NO, SF, KC, Balt, Sea), but the potential is there. I'll humbly be wishy washy until the SF game.

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Tarynfor12's picture

November 16, 2019 at 09:58 am

This team has the ability to pull off the win but it can also totally not show up for a game.

The weak play of the defense, even in wins at times, is very concerning and the weak play of the offense, at inopportune times, doesn't inspire great confidence to overcome the defensive mishaps.

We've had the benefit of playing some teams while they were sorta on the down slide due to differing reasons and that has afforded us the 8-2 record.However, if one was to take a closer look, less any blind bias, we are very lucky to be where we are at this point.

I said a couple weeks ago that this team cannot be dismissed as a favorite to get to the SB while not dismissing others like SF,NO,SEA,DAL,PHI,MINN.

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Since'61's picture

November 16, 2019 at 10:01 am

I believe in taking the season one game at a time. However the next game against SF happens to be critical to the Packers post season aspirations. For the Packers to reach the SB I believe that they will need to get a first round bye and home field advantage. Defeating Sf next week will be critical to achieving that goal.

If the Packers can defeat SF they will take over the #1 seed in the NFC. After the Packers SF plays the Ravens, Saints, Rams and Seahawks. they have a much more difficult schedule than the Packers. Conceivably SF could lose their division to Seattle. The Saints are banged up but who knows. There are too many variables at this point to try to determine how the season will play out which is why I prefer to take it one week at a time.

What we know at this point is that the Packers are a healthy team and they are in control of their own destiny. Before we start thinking about the Super Bowl let's remember that the Packers haven't won anything yet, not even a wild card seed. Let's see where the Packers finish, hopefully with a home field seed then we can begin to consider Super Bowl possibilities. Thanks, Since '61

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Packers2019's picture

November 16, 2019 at 10:21 am

Well said, 61.

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Since'61's picture

November 16, 2019 at 12:22 pm

I appreciate your feedback Packers2019. Thanks, Since '61

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 17, 2019 at 05:28 am

Nice Comment Since '61. You brought up several excellent points...Especially WHO the 49ers have to yet play moving forward.

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Since'61's picture

November 17, 2019 at 09:57 am

AllGasNoBrakes - Thanks for the feedback. I think the Packers have their destiny in their own hands. I'm hoping they realize that and that they handle it well. If nothing else we have meaningful games late in the season for the first time since 2016. Thanks, since '61

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JohnnyLogan's picture

November 16, 2019 at 10:14 am

Lot of holes on this team - BUT - there is also enough talent that if it was to make the playoffs it could win. Martinez is awful, can't hit a gap and can't cover. WR group behind Adams is mediocre. Graham doesn't scare anyone allowing more double teams on Adams. Need a nose tackle to help Clark stop the run. Still awful STs. Smaller issues are King is still a weak link but not a disaster. Penalties. Stop the stupid hard counts that trip up our players more than the other teams and kill drives. Gary is a waste but I guess he has to play with the hope he isn't a complete bust, In crunch time keep him on the bench. With so much time left til the playoffs and an almost certainty that the Pack will be in, MLF should make a concerted effort to try other players at weak positions.; Summers and Sternberger should be given major tryouts. Bench Allison entirely and let Lazard and Kumerow get as much playing time as possible, With all that criticism, I still strongly believe the Pack can win because there are such definite strengths; Rodgers, the RBs, safeties, OL, the Smiths, Clark, decent CB play. This team can win the SB. I Just hope MLF makes the changes necessary to improve their chances.

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sam1's picture

November 17, 2019 at 04:44 pm

Born a loser or did you learn to be that way from being bullied up until now?

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Qoojo's picture

November 16, 2019 at 10:45 am

It would require a lot of luck. The defense will not hold up past the wild card round. Then it's going to be a matter of the offense has to be perfect. As things are currently going, the defense has been getting lucky with a lot of unforced errors. I just see Brees/Brady/Etc... shredding this defense without immediate pressure.

I think the packers need a couple more guys on defense, and some growth by younger players. Maybe next year.

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dobber's picture

November 16, 2019 at 11:43 am

I've become more than a little dismayed by BGs unwillingness to embrace what might be a SB run this year by trying to shore up holes on this team at the trade deadline and during the bye week. They brought in 3 experienced DTs early in the week, but signed none (two have since signed with other teams). Early in the season I agreed that longer term was probably best, but this has turned into a prime opportunity. I agree with what some have said in that would be the perfect time to bring in someone new to fill a role, learn the system, and be ready to play next Sunday.

All of this points to the conclusion that BG is looking longer term with this team, trying to preserve cap rollover, etc. Six weeks ago, I was all in favor of that, but this team has fought through to 8-2 and a spot in the standings that has them well-positioned to make a run. So many things need to go right to win a SB...but they already have TWO of the important ones: positioning and HEALTH. We all know so well how elusive good health can be in this league and how important it is in being competitive. They've got it and can't bank it.

The Packers may well regret not working harder to seize this opportunity.

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 16, 2019 at 11:50 am

They needed help inside on the D and he went all Ted with zero moves. See how this team holds up in Santa Clara and the showdown at the shipwreck by the River. Need the inside LBs to step up or give Fackerell more looks inside. Hopefully, Savage gets his legs back and the CBs hold on to the INT s when opportunity knocks. The Lowry extension is still baffling.

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Sol's picture

November 16, 2019 at 03:59 pm

I know it is a little early but the formula is and will always be, win your next game, secure a wild card spot, win your division, secure a 1st round bye and secure a buy through out the playoffs. If you try to jump ahead it is all speculation and you get nothing but headaches.

Now for not making a move at the trade deadline. You almost never get a bargain or you wind up getting someones problem. Your capital is much better spent at the end of the season with all the coaching changes, teams are trying to sign their free agents and getting ready for the draft.

Where should you start shopping. Well currently in the NFL there are five top ten defenses with less than twenty million in 2020 salary cap two less than ten million and with 40 or less players signed for the next year, two with only 36. Three of theses seriously need a quarterback upgrade. Middle Linebacker I admit is somewhat of a problem, but get another horse in the middle and that will make anyone look good.

As far as our offence goes I like what we have they are playing unselfishness and they don't care who shines weekly. I believe Al Davis put it best, "Just win baby." I am going to go out on a limb here, but I just can't help saying that whenever I watch Allen Lazard play I think I am watching a young Jerry Rice, a true diamond in the rough. It is so refreshing to know there is enough leadership on this team that the Cleveland disaster could never happen to us. I mean really, the game was won and the guy was still trying to get a garbage sack just to pad his stats. Our veterans would never let that happen. Just win baby.

Go Pack

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MarkinMadison's picture

November 16, 2019 at 04:11 pm

Of course they can. I said before the season started that I thought it would be next year, not this year, but I also pointed out that the last time they won the Super Bowl they were "a year early" and then that young team that was supposed to dominate for years to come has never made it back to the Super Bowl since. That team was 10-6, and didn't win the division.

They are staying healthy. They are developing in most areas. No team is perfect. So yup, they could do it. Absolutely.

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Cartwright's picture

November 16, 2019 at 06:11 pm

If the constant remains that field goals, not touchdown are being scored and the defense remains stout at the goal line and in the redzone, with the way the team is set up at 8 and 2 don't think Rodgers being so close will let this opportunity for a super bowl slip away. He has a defense now. It's been a long time, he's almost there and can smell it. The sting of being so close twice must still be fresh and will motivate him all the more.

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EddieLeeIvory's picture

November 16, 2019 at 09:38 pm

I love this team. But we are going to have to beat either the 49ers or Viqueens, plus win all our remaining games, if we want to avoid being a #5 seed & having to win 3 NFC Road playoff games to reach Miami.

It would be:
At #4 Philly
At #1 SF/Sea/N.O
At #2 Minny/N.O/SF/Sea

The Vikings stealing that game in Dallas last week had huge ramifications.
Them beating Philly did too.

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ALLGASNOBRAKES's picture

November 17, 2019 at 05:48 am

The Packers CAN win a SB this year but the NFC is LOADED, at least compared to the AFC. The Packers need to KEEP winning with the Vikings a game back (really 1.5) but the Packers NEED to win the division 1st, hopefully, Homefield advantage 2nd, then 2 really tough playoff games to even get there.

I think this game against the 49ers is HUGE. The Cardinals just took them to the brink at home, the Seahawks just beat em, and now a home game against the Cardinals again before the Packers get them. That Niners Defense has given up 52 points the last 2 weeks AND just lost their starting ILB Alexander. They also had a week 4 Bye which IMO is a horrible bye spot. When they finally play the Packers they'll have played 9 straight weeks and won't have a break again unless they get a bye. My point is the 49ers are getting tired AND they have a brutal schedule.

IF the Packers beat the 49ers and hopefully the Seahawks beat Minnesota week 13, then I think the division and Homefield is Green Bay's which is EXACTLY what I think happens.

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PatrickGB's picture

November 17, 2019 at 07:25 am

I don’t care for super bowl talk when we are not even in the playoffs. A lot of things will need to be fixed before we even make the playoffs. Yet we do have a very good chance to make the playoffs if this team can win a few more games. I think that the emphasis should remain on playing one game at a time. All this looking ahead stuff might be one reason why we lost to the chargers.

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4thand1's picture

November 17, 2019 at 10:44 am

The big thing that concernes me is the lapses in good play. Slow starts and playing 2 good quarters. Fast starts and hanging on for dear life. Defense giving up big plays, but good in the red zone. The most complete game was the Raiders IMO, and how good are the Raiders? I'll say the Charger game just one of those games, every team has them. But, if this team stays healthy and cleans up some things, there's no reason it can't make a deep playoff run. Home field would help, but we have to beat either the 49ers or Vikings. The rest of the games should be won.

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PAPackerbacker's picture

November 18, 2019 at 05:30 am

Defense wins championships and the Packers defense has to many holes. They can't stop the run. If they can figure out how to stop the run then they are a legitimate contender for a Super Bowl. And they need to convert more on 3rd downs. Throwing 40 yards downfield when all you need is a couple of yards to keep the sticks moving just doesn't make sense. A good test will be next week when the Packers travel to San Francisco. This game could very well be a preview of the NFC championship. A win against the 49er's would be huge. One game at a time. Never, ever, underestimate your opponent. Go! Pack! Go!

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