Cory's Corner: The Packers are perfectly nasty

We’re at the quarter pole of the season already and the Packers are right where they want to be.

Coach Mike McCarthy slices the 16-game schedule into fourths each year. After four games, he’s got a lot to be happy about.

There are only five 4-0 teams (Packers, Broncos, Bengals, Panthers and Falcons). And the Patriots are 3-0 after coming off an early-season bye.

I’m not really sold on the Panthers and Falcons. Carolina doesn’t have a proven pass-catcher outside of the aging and lumbering Greg Olsen and Atlanta’s Matt Ryan is just 1-4 in the playoffs.

The reason the Packers are on the top is because of what they showed in Santa Clara. It’s pretty clear that MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers was not showcasing his ‘A’ game. And that’s precisely why the Packers are the best team in the league.

They have overcome suspensions, injuries and poor play. The best player on the team not named Rodgers has been a guy that two 2-2 teams didn’t want. James Jones has been a huge surprise and a huge need at a time when Jordy Nelson was done for the year and Randall Cobb still isn’t 100 percent. Things have gotten so bad that the Packers had to bring their entire practice squad to California just as injury insurance.

The Broncos, who host the Packers on Nov. 1, have the best defense in the league. They attack the quarterback very well and have the best cover corner in the NFL. Obviously, that just masks an offense led by a stationary quarterback that is relying on accuracy.

The Bengals won’t truly be tested until they host the Seahawks this weekend. The Andy Dalton bandwagon is getting awfully crowded, but I’m not still not a card-carrying member. He hasn’t had a season where he didn’t throw double-digit interceptions and he’s 0-4 in the playoffs.

And that leaves the Patriots. New England is tough because they possess the toughest matchup in all of football in Rob Gronkowksi. Even though its defense, particularly secondary, is shaky, Tom Brady continues to inflate his numbers with age.

But for the Packers to be competitive in January they need Bryan Bulaga and Cobb healthy. They need Eddie Lacy hitting the hole with confidence and speed. But most of all, they need a defense that has tallied 13 sacks the last two weeks. With that kind of pressure, Casey Hayward and Sam Shields will look like All-Pros.

In the next four games, the Packers face two unbeatens and the Rams who may be the most underrated team in the league.

This is the first time the Packers have started 4-0 since 2011. And the reason is simple. With guys like Letroy Guion and Mike Daniels, this team has brought the nasty back.

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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 (56)

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ES 1957's picture

October 06, 2015 at 06:16 am

Cory, I think the aging Steve Smith plays for Baltimore.

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CoryJennerjohn's picture

October 06, 2015 at 06:48 am

Good catch. I'm still living in the past.

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Amanofthenorth's picture

October 07, 2015 at 06:02 pm

Comment removed due to NSA violation.

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EdsLaces's picture

October 06, 2015 at 06:53 am

*14 sacks

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CoryJennerjohn's picture

October 06, 2015 at 07:33 am

According to ESPN.com and NFL.com, the Packers registered 6 sacks vs. San Francisco and 7 vs. Kansas City.

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porupack's picture

October 06, 2015 at 07:07 am

Cory, I think there is not much meaning in the Playoff record you use to write off Falcons and Bengals. Packer fans aren't tempering optimism based on past playoff. They both have a good core of veteran playmakers and leadership that have now acquired some grit and experience. They have had quality wins, and complete games. The packers have faced 4 teams each with significant weaknesses, so I'm not putting Packers ahead of Falcons or Bengals just yet. We'll know where packers are after this weekend v the Rams.
But all is trending well with more speed at ILB, a solid d-backfield, and more stoutness and penetration on the line. The special teams play is so finally improved.
With some returns off the injury list, and more experience by young WRs, ILBs, CBs, the second half does look good.
Good game coming up.

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Evan's picture

October 06, 2015 at 07:28 am

"The packers have faced 4 teams each with significant weaknesses, so I'm not putting Packers ahead of Falcons or Bengals just yet..."

Like the Falcons and Bengals have faced the 1996 Packers each week?

Falcons: Eagles, Giants, Cowboys, Texans

Bengals: Raiders, Chargers, Ravens, Chiefs.

There's not a quality team in the bunch. Which goes to a bigger point - this is a very top-heavy season. Maybe 3-4 "elite" teams and then a bunch of garbage.

I'd put the Packers right there with New England. 1A and 1B. (Hell, even the Pats have had the luxury of beating up on the Bills and Jags and a Steelers team without Le'Veon Bell).

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porupack's picture

October 06, 2015 at 10:27 am

Fair point you make Evan. The pack still has faced all 4 teams with notorious weak Olines, so its hard to measure the level of improvement on Packer's Dline. But I agree, there just isn't many teams separating from the dud middle, and no reason to put any team above second rank Packers either.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

October 06, 2015 at 07:12 am

"The best player on the team not named Rodgers has been a guy that two 2-2 teams didn’t want."

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zeke's picture

October 06, 2015 at 09:58 am

I agree that Jones has been a Dog-send, but I think Clay still gets the "best player on the team not named Rodgers" award.

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Dan Stodola's picture

October 06, 2015 at 10:39 am

Dog-send?

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zeke's picture

October 06, 2015 at 11:35 am

Dyslexics of the world, untie!

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Evan's picture

October 06, 2015 at 07:31 am

Regarding the Broncos, this is what I said in a different post:

Yes, the Packers will have their hands full with the Denver pass rush. But the opposite is also true. Denver's offense and o-line are gonna have their hands full with the Packers pass rush.

The Denver D is better than the Packers D, but the margin isn't huge. But the Packers O is a lot better than the Denver O.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 06, 2015 at 08:29 am

To further this, Manning is not the same QB he once was. Rodgers is the best in the game right now. Rodgers is able to escape pressure whereas Manning can't.
Denver may have the better defense, but to me the difference is in the QB.

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MarkinMadison's picture

October 07, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Just remember that mile-high stadium has the best home field advantage that Dog could give it. If you've ever done a serious athletic event at altitude, you know what a difference going up 5,000 ft. from Green Bay can make. This will be a really difficult game for the Packers.

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Evan's picture

October 07, 2015 at 01:22 pm

Oh, no doubt whatsoever. It's going to be a tough, tough game and the home field advantage will play a huge role, as it always does.

Will they be favored? No.

Can they win it? Absolutely.

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Migas's picture

October 06, 2015 at 08:15 am

My big concern is our WR situation. Cobb is tough but if he goes out, we are in deep trouble. Rodgers just does not have faith in the young receivers yet and justifiably so. Jones was a godsend but does anyone else feel the need to get another vet receiver.?

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croatpackfan's picture

October 06, 2015 at 10:23 am

That is why they signed Jared Abbrederis on 3 year deal! I remember Aaron always talked very highly about Abby!

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marpag1's picture

October 06, 2015 at 03:59 pm

Croatpackfan, I like Jared Abbrederis as much as I possibly can for a person who has zero catches for zero yards and zero touchdowns. The Packers could have signed me for much,much cheaper, and my production up till now would have been every bit as good as Jared's.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 07, 2015 at 05:03 am

Honestly, I never heard or read anywhere that Aaron Rodgers talked about your abilities as WR, but I might be wrong... Contrary, he praised Jared Abbrederis for his abilities to catch the ball and to run correct routes... So, at the end, your willing to be signed is just empty wish that will never happen. On the other side of the ball, we might see Abby already playing next Sunday game... I think that tells you everything you need to know!

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marpag1's picture

October 07, 2015 at 06:00 am

Exactly! I am the worst, the suckiest, the most pathetic excuse for an athlete ever! There is absolutely no chance that I could make an NFL roster. No one - and I mean NO ONE - would ever confuse me for a legitimate wide receiver. And yet my production has been every bit as good as Jared's. Kudos for the spot-on observation!

Yes, I know that ARod tossed a compliment or two at Abby. Thanks for repeating that a second time. And if you don't mind, allow me to repeat what I said for the second time: What ARod has NEVER done is toss a completed pass to Abby in any NFL regular season game. Is there something about that statement you disagree with?

Hey, I said in my post that I like Abby, so I'm not sure why you would be unhappy. I'm just not going to pin a great deal of hope on a guy who hasn't caught a pass.

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Migas's picture

October 06, 2015 at 08:18 am

To add to my comment, I think the loss of Nelson removed our deep threat. My concern is that our other receivers don't get separation and if the line is not giving Rodgers time, he must make more difficult throws to move the chains. This may hurt us down the line.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 06, 2015 at 10:25 am

Ty Montgomery did that separation on the first snap last game... Only, because of his confidence he drop the ball. That would be TD catch and he knows that... James Jones gewt 58 yards throw from Aaron. That is not deep enough for you?

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Nick Perry's picture

October 06, 2015 at 08:31 am

Without mentioning Nelson, this Packers team has been winning without important players on both sides of the ball. Bulaga has missed 4 games, Burnett and Barrington have missed 3 and Adams and Lacy have been dinged up too. Guion just came back after his 3 week self imposed suspension so what all this has shown is just how deep this team is. I love this kid Randell and will be the first to admit thinking Ted missed on that one, why not take Brown out of Texas? For this season at least the Packers have depth, quality depth at each level except ILB and TE, and Palmer has filled in at ILB really well.

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PaulRosik's picture

October 06, 2015 at 02:35 pm

Palmer has been a decent starteri nside at LB. Jayrone Elliot, Joe Thomas, Hyde, Richardson, Perry and Pennel have all filled in decently on defense. 17 sacks,6 turnovers in 4 games and 20 points per game given up is going to carry this team a good way.

Barclay has - well he's played on the line. Let's hope Bulaga is back soon.

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Nick Perry's picture

October 06, 2015 at 07:01 pm

Palmer has surprised the hell out of me Paul, he's played really well. Thomas has surprised me. I didn't know he was that quick and he's a hitter. I have a feeling Bulaga is back for Denver.

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Grandfathered's picture

October 06, 2015 at 09:24 pm

I think Barclay has played well for the situation. He is a student of many positions, perhaps master of none, so perfect pass protection is not expected. He has matched up against a few great pass rushers. He's done well in run blocking.

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Since'61's picture

October 06, 2015 at 08:40 am

Through the first four games of this season the Packers have played their best defense in years. To me the biggest difference is on the DL. With Raji, Daniels, Pennel and now Guion holding the point of attack our LBs are able to make plays and we're stopping the run. Our effective pass rush is helping out our coverage, putting pressure on QBs and getting sacks. If we can maintain consistency on defense we're going to be tough to beat, especially at home. It will be nice to have Burnett back ASAP. I said before the season that we'll know where we're at with this defense after 4 games and now we know, the defense is solid and we're fine. While it would be correct to assert that the offense was less than prolific against SF, we should keep in mind that they held the ball for 36+ minutes and that Rodgers was under pressure all day, yet he extended plays and drives with his mobility, most notably the TD pass to R. Rodgers, avoided a at least a few more sacks and most importantly, no turnovers. In a game like the one against SF, no turnovers helps the defense out tremendously. While it may not be very exciting or what we expect, Rodgers played very effectively again. Right now, after 4 games our biggest concerns on offense are Barclay and Bakh (his penalties). Thanks, Since '61

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croatpackfan's picture

October 06, 2015 at 10:27 am

I thought we have to be concern about Josh Sitton penalties. He had 2 vs 1 from Bakh ;-)

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Since'61's picture

October 06, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Croat - Sitton is fine, he rarely has a bad game with penalties. My point about Bakh is that he has had at least one holding penalty in every game so far this season. He has also had a few false starts. If you look back I'm confident that you will find that Bakh is consistently our most penalized starting OL. It hasn't mattered in the final results yet for 2015 but holding penalties can be drive killers, especially if they occur on 3rd down. If they occur on first or second down we then face a longer downs and distances which means more exposure for Rodgers. A better LT would not get flagged as often because he would not be beaten as often. Bakh has done a solid job considering that he is a 4th rounder but the reality is that if the Packers had a stationery QB like P. Manning, Brady or Matt Ryan they probably would have been seriously hurt by now. Rodgers makes Bakh and sometimes the entire OL look good with his mobility when the protection breaks down. When Bulaga is in there our only concern on the OL is Bakh. I like him, he plays hard, but he is not the equal of his 4 starting line mates yet he has the most important job of them all. Dominant LTs are hard to find under any circumstances, especially when we usually draft at 24 or higher. However, we need to keep #12 standing at all costs. Thanks, Since '61

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croatpackfan's picture

October 07, 2015 at 05:06 am

I thought you'll pick up little joke. Sorry you did not. I agree with you that Bakh is our most penalized OL man (well, Barclay is, maybe, in his category), but I think complete OL had very bad game at SF... Hopefully, that will not occur again!

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4thand1's picture

October 06, 2015 at 09:45 am

You had to throw "inflate" in the article didn't you. The team isn't relying on Rodgers to keep the team afloat for once. Its a great problem to have if the offense can't put up enough points, the defense can hold the team in the game.

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Evan's picture

October 06, 2015 at 09:49 am

Exactly. They may not have the best offense this season or the best defense, but I think they're probably the most balanced team.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 06, 2015 at 10:10 am

'I think they're probably the most balanced team.'

YES!!!

Everyone loved our 2011 team that rolled through everyone. But that team was essentially a great passing team. I thought last years team was the most balanced team we have had, but this years team is truly the most balanced team we have had under McCarthy.

They have a rushing offense that can grind out games or gain chunks of yards at a time.
They have a passing offense that everyone fears.

They have a rush defense that in the last 3 games has given up 41 yards rushing to Marshawn Lynch, 49 yards to Jamaal Charles, and 20 yards to Carlos Hyde.
They have a pass rush that can get to the QB from anywhere. And they have DB's that can create turnovers.

Also special teams has been the best its been in a while.

This is by far our best/most balanced team we have had.

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Bohj's picture

October 06, 2015 at 12:17 pm

I'll add some D stats too:
Games against QBs so far
Cutler qb rating: 67.5
Wilson qb rating: 91.8
A. Smith qb ratng: 80.2
Kaep qb rating: 55.4

Soooo.....good against the run. Good against the pass. We have better qbs coming up, but not paired with the dangerous running backs. Denver, we come off the bye and McCarthy teams are ridiculous in games after the bye.

Zona will be our biggest challenge.

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Evan's picture

October 06, 2015 at 11:13 am

Let's see how it breaks down so far (based on points per game, not yards).

Packers
Offense: #6
Defense: #3(T)

Patriots
Offense: #1
Defense: #17

Broncos
Offense: #11
Defense: #2

Panthers
Offense: #8
Defense: #3(T)

Bengals
Offense: #4
Defense: #9

Falcons
Offense: #3
Defense: #15

So, the Packers, Panthers and Bengals are the only teams so far with a top 10 offense and defense. I'd take the Packers over either of them by a wide margin.

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Tundraboy's picture

October 06, 2015 at 09:48 am

Some improved health, Cobb and Adams in particular are what we could use now. Burnett as well, but we are otherwise looking very good and see no reason to fear any team. We now have a D to be reckoned with.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 06, 2015 at 10:13 am

Health will be the key to this team and how far they go. The best thing that can happen will be to get everyone healthy and playing well right before the playoffs.

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Portland Mark's picture

October 06, 2015 at 09:49 am

Although they are only 2 -2, I don't want to have to go to Seattle. They didn't get hot until the end of last year and still got the number 1 seed. A loss last night would've been great. Too bad the refs "blew" another 4th quarter call.

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RCPackerFan's picture

October 06, 2015 at 10:11 am

All we have to do is finish with the same record or better as them, and we won't have to go there. That's why week 2 was a pretty big game early in the season.

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croatpackfan's picture

October 07, 2015 at 05:17 am

If you go through their schedule, they might be wild card team this season, or they might miss the play off as well. They are already behind Cardinals (Arizona is for real!) and Ranms looks well, too (do not forget Rams are 2-0 against division opponents!)...

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Duke Divine's picture

October 06, 2015 at 09:51 am

This defense is awesome!

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Aaron Rodgers Mustache's picture

October 06, 2015 at 10:25 am

Hey fellas...
Not to thread jack here, but my wife and I will be attending our first game at Lambeau this weekend. We have gone to many other locations including, Wahington DC(where we live, worst fans in the country), Carloina, New York (Jest in 2010 Giants in 2011), Philly(for the playoffs in 2010 and regular season opener), Chicago(in 2007, we got blown out of the stadium with a very cold lookign Brett at QB) and Atlanta, but have just never worked the logistics out right to make it to Green bay. But she suprised me this year. Very stoked!!

Well I was wondering if any of the regular readers on this site would be willing to invite her and I to their tailagte or know of a tailgate we can attend. I know my fellow packer fans are notoriously nice but I really wanna show her a good time and the real spirit of Green Bay. I would be willing to provide beer and even food but I just want to have a fun time with fellow packer people.
Reply here or reply to my email at [email protected]
And dont get ticked if I post this message in a few other comment sections for this and other various packer blogs, lol. Gotta cast a wide net to catch big fish.. hahaha. Go Pack GO!!
Cant wait for the weekend to get here!
Thanks
Bill

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A.A. Ron Rodgers's picture

October 06, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Hey Bill,

Find Scott (#74) And Justin (#73) with the Packer "Phanatics" in Lot 1...look for the flag poles near the Oneida Gate with a Packers/Jack Daniel's flag, Canadian flag, and yellow smiley face flag, among others. Usually they have a big inflatable Packer player on top of a white pick up truck as well. You will not be disappointed! Do a shotski or two or three while you're there and tell them Jon E. sent you!

Have fun and Go Pack Go,

-Jon

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Aaron Rodgers Mustache's picture

October 06, 2015 at 01:43 pm

Thanks Jon. Much appriciated!
I will look for them.
they arent on here?

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JerseyAl's picture

October 07, 2015 at 04:24 pm

I was going to recommend the same tailgate. While there, you're likely to run into Steve "the Owner" Tate. Make sure you say hello and tell him Jersey Al says GO PACK!

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JRome Coaxum's picture

October 07, 2015 at 12:29 pm

Wassup fellow packer fan. I too for the first time in life visited Lambeau Field last year. I thought I share this as I also live in the DC area( Landover,Md) to be exact. My girlfriend surprised me with the tickets for my 25th birthday. I had a lifetime experience. We blew the Viqueens out that game 45-10 I believe.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

October 06, 2015 at 11:22 am

I don't think it's "nasty" just yet. The team (more so on the defensive side) is playing more disciplined. Although, I have been seeing HHCD actually seeking the hit instead of waiting to meet the runner. Clay is Clay. Overall, I do like the direction the Defense is heading.

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PackerBacker's picture

October 06, 2015 at 11:31 am

My only comment is that I don't like using Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton's playoff record as one of the reasons not to trust how good the team is. A QB's record whether overall or in the playoffs isn't a stat and should have no bearing on anything. If you want to tell me that they have a QB rating of 72 in the playoffs, that I can use. But the record in the playoffs is not of much use.

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DrealynWilliams's picture

October 06, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Agree

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A.A. Ron Rodgers's picture

October 06, 2015 at 11:59 am

Long-time reader, first-time commenter here...I blame the new app...

For what it's worth and from a strictly objective point of view...looking back at the 1st Qtr of the season, the Packers were a perfect 4-0, against a combined record of 5-11.

Looking forward to the 2nd Qtr, we will host one quality opponent and one average opponent, enjoy a well-timed bye week, and play back-to-back road games against two quality opponents (both of which are currently 4-0 and sit atop their respective divisions). Current combined record of 2nd Qtr opponents is 12-4.

If nothing else, I found this interesting when put into perspective. While still early in the season, I think this next quarter may be the toughest stretch of the regular season. Starts with the Rams next week...we'll see how it all pans out.

Go Pack Go.

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Since'61's picture

October 06, 2015 at 12:15 pm

A.A. - excellent first post. The quality of opponents is definitely improving over the next 4 games. However, they will also face a high quality opponent when they face us and we have Aaron Rodgers. He tilts the field in our favor and is the differentiator in these games. One game at a time. We only need to win one game and that's the next one. We'll deal with the others as they get here. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61

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A.A. Ron Rodgers's picture

October 06, 2015 at 12:28 pm

Agreed to all of the above.

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MarkinMadison's picture

October 07, 2015 at 01:22 pm

I feel like the Quarter point of the season is a little early to judge teams by their records. I mean really, there are five 4-0 teams, one 0-4 team, and everyone else is within two games of each other. Look at how many years the Packers have started 2-2 and won the division and made the playoffs anyway. The next quarter will put a new set of tests in front of the Packers, but I don't feel any more nervous about those than I did having Seattle come here or going to Santa Clara.

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Lphill's picture

October 06, 2015 at 12:49 pm

Win all your home games and half your road games , to go 12 and 4 , it's very possible .

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4thand1's picture

October 06, 2015 at 01:05 pm

I love nasty when it comes to football. I loathe nasty when it comes to internet blog fighting. The Packers seem to be playing with an Aaron Rodgers chip so far, lets kick ass and take names.

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