The Green Bay Packers are not better off at 3-3 compared to being 6-0 at this point last season. However, they are in good shape and may play better in the second half of this season than they did last.
In 2011, the Packers jumped out to a 13-0 start. There was talk of them going undefeated. Then they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs and everyone calmed down. After the Chiefs loss, Green Bay won out to finish 15-1.
The Packers were odds on favorites to win it all going into the playoffs. They did not win a game as the New York Giants defeated them in a second round matchup in Green Bay. The loss was considered an upset by many. New York was 9-7 and had barely gotten into the post season. They had no business being on the field with the 15-1 Packers.
In reality, Green Bay’s record was a mirage. While their offense scored a ton off points the defense gave up a lot. The play of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his receivers masked Packer weaknesses at linebacker and in the secondary. For most of 2011, Green Bay was the best team in football. However, they had their flaws. The Giants exposed them.
Maybe the Packers 15 wins made it hard for them to see what their problems were. Teams that score a ton of points feel as if they always will. This confidence can be dangerous, because at playoff time someone will shut them down or match them point for point. When that time comes many teams who have experienced nothing but success don’t know how to handle it.
Trailing the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings in the standings Green Bay knows that they have to focus for the rest of 2012. Every loss now is crucial. The Packers have to pay attention to detail. Things that they may have let slide in 2011 must be looked at critically this year.
The Packers may be better off this season, because they know that they can be beaten. There is no talk of an undefeated season. There is no talk of a title repeat. There is no talk of going to the Super Bowl. Everything is focused on the task of catching Chicago and Minnesota.
Green Bay still has their flaws. Every team in the NFL does. At 3-3 they will pay more attention to them than they would at 6-0. This should prepare them for the stretch run and playoffs.
Though every team would like to win every game, the Packers 3-3 start may benefit them more than going 13-0 did in 2011.