Analysis: Packers Super Bowl-Ready
Photo: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
ATLANTA - For much of a 10-6 regular season, we questioned whether the Green Bay Packers were Super Bowl caliber.
We questioned whether a team without a running game, a team with injuries to Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley that ended their season, a team that committed 18 penalties to a Chicago Bears squad in a game they had no business losing, could even make the playoffs.
I had even written after the Packers' loss to Miami in October that the Packers season felt like it was over.
Boy, was I wrong. Incredibly wrong.
The Green Bay Packers are playing as well as any team in the National Football League, and their 48-21 demolition of Atlanta in the NFC Divisional Playoffs - the biggest margin of victory over a #1 seed in a non-Super Bowl playoff game since the NFL seeded playoff teams in 1975 - proves it.
And beleaguered coach Mike McCarthy becomes the only NFC coach to send his team to the NFC Championship Game two times in the last four years.
In their two playoff wins, the Packers' offense has played with the efficiency of Bob Lanier or Shaquille O'Neal using their feet to crush an ant.
10 of their 20 drives against Philadelphia and Atlanta have ended in scores.
That's half of your drives ending in scores in playoff games. On the road, no less.
16 of 25 third down attempts by the offense have ended in 1st downs.
And Aaron Rodgers is looking like Dan Marino in 1984 or Tom Brady in 2007, or perhaps even better.
He has a 134.53 quarterback rating in the playoffs.
This is historic stuff, people.
Furthermore, the Packers' defense has played lockdown in this postseason.
They have stopped 14 of 19 opponents' drives without points.
They have stopped 15 of 23 3rd down attempts by their opponents.
They have forced five turnovers, and when teams have gone into the red zone, they have been repulsed from the end zone half the time (3-6 opposing team efficiency in the red zone).
If the Packers two main units can survive the blunders of their special teams (a scoring return by Atlanta and a field goal missed by Mason Crosby), Chicago, Seattle, Pittsburgh, New England and the New York Jets had better worry.
The 10-6 Packers may be ready to follow the 2005 Steelers' path of becoming a No. 6 seed and bringing their 4th Lombardi Trophy and record-padding 13th NFL Championship back to Wisconsin.