Last season and after the loss to the Seattle Seahawks, I wrote about how the Green Bay Packers were facing a turning point in their early season. It seemed like a knee-jerk reaction to what was a huge debacle by the replacement officials and the NFL because it was after only three games. Turns out, the Packers did get it together enough to win the NFC North and win a playoff game. In looking back at last season, the Seattle loss still looms as the turning point in 2012.
Here we are, three weeks into the 2013 season and seemingly at what could be this season’s turning point. Sure, some will say it’s too early, I’m being hasty, I’m a downer on Twitter and when this team gets all of its injured guys back, the Packers will be fine.
The “problem” that the Packers have, as far as fans are concerned, is that with a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay will always be a contender who can win any game. Therefore, the expectation to win is high. When the Packers don’t win, there is usually an adverse reaction that ranges from mild displeasure to profanity laced rants on twitter to some jumping out the 10th story window. Emotional responses by fans, players and coaches are a part of football. It’s contagious when we are watching a game that thrives on emotion and so we respond in kind.
But let’s try to take the emotion out of the equation for a minute and look at a few things that are happening now that could play into how the Packers respond after today’s loss and the upcoming bye week.
What is a “tough opponent”? For the purposes of this discussion, I’m talking about playoff-caliber teams. So far, the Packers have faced, and lost to, two such opponents. Last season, four of the Packers’ five losses were to playoff teams. Their fifth loss was to the New York Giants, who were the defending Super Bowl champions. They beat only two teams who made last year’s playoffs (Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings).