26

October

Undefeated But Not Overconfident: What The 2011 Packers Can Learn From The 2007 Patriots

It feels pretty good, doesn’t it?

The Green Bay Packers, the defending world champions, are 7-0 and the only remaining undefeated team in the National Football League.   Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is playing lights out (and that may be an understatement) and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down.   The Packers’ nearest competition in the NFC North, the Detroit Lions, have lost two straight games which has given the Packers a two game lead in the division. Brett Favre remains a source of scorn and ridicule.

Could life be any better for Packer Nation? Not likely.

There is one major roadblock each week going forward that both the team and its fans will have to face.

Overconfidence or even arrogance.

For their part, Mike McCarthy and his players all seem to be saying the right things.  They know they nearly blew in Minnesota against a rookie quarterback.  The defense is all too aware they are giving up far too many yards.

McCarthy himself said it best in his press conference yesterday: “It’s exciting because we know our best football is ahead of us.”  He even described his team’s play right now as “above-average” despite the Packers not blowing out their opponent for the first time in weeks.  The team knows it can play better and that slow starts could come back to haunt them.

As for the fans, they seem to be doing their part as well.

I honestly expected that heading into the bye at 7-0 and having only a few potentially challenging games remaining that there would be a lot of chest bumping and talk of a 16-0 season.  That’s not to fault fans for doing such a thing. Runs like this only occur so often so they have every right to be excited and fired up.

Thankfully, we seem to have taken a page from the Book of McCarthy.  Fans are taking the season one week at a time and the talk of a perfect season has been limited to whispers if not less. We know our team has its flaws and that the old adage is true:  “Anything can happen on any given Sunday.”

Perhaps we’ve all learned from history.  Rewind to January 2008 and the NFC Championship between the Packers and Giants.  After the Giants beat the Cowboys in Dallas in the divisional round, we thought we had a trip to Super Bowl XLII in the bag.