Don’t get it twisted. This is NOT last season’s Green Bay Packers.
That team won 13 games and reached the NFC Championship game. But they were destroyed by the San Francisco 49ers.
That Packers team was called a fraud and was left for dead. After that debacle, all the talk was about how Aaron Rodgers wasn’t that guy anymore and that he was in the twilight of his career. Some NFL analysts even went as far to say that he was washed, overrated.
Hence, many thought the 2020 Packers would be taking on water and would probably never have a shot to win another Super Bowl with Rodgers under center.
If you were on that train, consider it derailed.
The Packers destroyed the Tennessee Titans on Sunday Night Football, winning 40-14 in the snow in Green Bay.
The Titans were supposedly the type of team that the Packers can’t beat — because they run the ball. That’s what the 49ers used against the Packers to win and move onto the Super Bowl.
For sure, this Titans game was a test to measure where the Pack are with a single game left in the NFL regular season.
This win — and the one earlier this season in New Orleans — are their signature victories. Both are the reason you should believe in this team.
This team not only can get to the Super Bowl in Tampa in February but they can win it, too.
Sorry, don’t crown the Kansas City Chiefs too quickly.
The Packers are on that level.
And the belief in the Pack is more than just that they have quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is having an MVP season.
On Sunday, Rodgers had as many touchdowns (4) as incompletions (4). On the season, Rodgers now has 44 TDs (one short of his career-high) and just five interceptions.
You always feel good when you have a Superman QB on your squad, but it’s not always enough. Most teams can’t honestly compete without one.
But the defense has let the Packers down often in the postseason. This defense is much-improved, a strength on this team. Through the first 14 games, the Packers ranked eighth in total defense in the league.
It’s a reason the Packers have a chance to do something they haven’t done in almost a decade - secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Packers haven’t been the No. 1 seed in the NFC since 2011, when they went 15-1. And they have never hosted the NFC Championship Game since Rodgers became the starter in Green Bay.
This Packers team is also improved on offense. They have scored (474) almost 100 points more than a year ago (376) with another game to play.
Even former Packers’ DB Charles Woodson was impressed by his former team. In a tweet after the game, Woodson, who won the Super Bowl with GB in 2010, wrote: The @packers are looking like Super Bowl favorites to me.
The difference between this trip through the playoffs and last year is that if the Packers beat the Bears or the Seahawks lose to the 49ers, the Packers will clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
It’s huge. It means the road to the Super Bowl will come through Green Bay.
The Packers would get a first-round bye and play all their games at home.
It’s never easy to play in the cold in Green Bay in January. The Lions’ Barry Sanders, considered by some as one of the greatest running backs ever, once had -1 yards on 13 carriers in a playoff game there in 1994.
The Packers’ defense stopped NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry on Sunday, limiting him to 98 yards on 23 carries at Lambeau Field. He had rushed for 100 or more yards in his previous nine road games.
Meanwhile, this Packers team can run the ball. Against the Titans, they almost had two 100-yard rushers. Rookie AJ Dillion entered the game with just 115 rushing yards in his career. He had a whopping 124 yards on 21 carries. For good measure, Dillion also added his first two NFL touchdowns.
Aaron Jones had 94 yards on 10 carries. It allowed him to pass the 1,000-yard mark in rushing for the second straight season. This season is different, however. The Packers have enough to win it all.