The love affair with the defending Super Bowl champions is coming to a fever pitch. Experts and color analysts are falling in line to kiss royal buttocks of soon-to-be MVP Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers. Can anyone stop them?
Eli Manning and the New York Giants eye revenge in Meadowlands
One of the largest regular season obstacles for Rodgers and the Packers looms at New MetLife stadium in the form of the New York Giants. Eli Manning likely hasn't forgotten how Green Bay humiliated the G-men last season at Lambeau Field in a game that largely cost New York the playoffs. Now Aaron Rodgers must brave a cold and raucous stadium in addition to a dynamite New York Giants pass rush that ranks first in the NFL with 30 quarterback sacks. Giants' fans will also relish the chance to end another undefeated season after Manning their team stunned the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Two games remain against Detroit Lions and bad boy Ndamukong Suh
One team that wasn't in awe of the Green Bay Packers last season was the Detroit Lions. Led by fierce defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Detroit possesses one of the deepest defensive lines in football. The Lions are designed to get after quarterbacks and the Packers offensive line has dealt with injury problems for weeks. Aaron Rodgers actually got knocked out of a 2010 game in Detroit with a concussion. If the Minnesota Vikings were able to sack Rodgers despite their lopsided loss, it stands to reason Suh and his teammates will look to smash the Packers from the opening snap. Another major reason is the improvement on the Detroit offense. With Matthew Stafford guiding a prolific passing attack highlighted by stud receiver Calvin Johnson, the Green Bay defense might have its hands full.
Jay Cutler and Chicago Bears defense have recovered from early slump
Perhaps no team in the NFL is hotter now than the Chicago Bears. After losing to Green Bay early in the season and falling to 2-3, the Monsters of the Midway have come roaring back to life with four-straight wins. Their defense has remained the key, forcing twenty turnovers and holding normally prolific offenses to season lows in points. Another welcome surprise is the steady play of quarterback Jay Cutler. Though he hasn't lit up the stat sheets, Cutler has made far fewer mistakes than years past and has the Bears offense headed in the right direction. The real story though is running back Matt Forte. He now leads the NFL in yards from scrimmage and is a likely shoe-in for his first Pro Bowl. His ability to run the football gives Chicago an added dimension that can stifle the Packers: clock control. A proven way of stopping great quarterbacks like Rodgers is keeping him off the field. If Jay Cutler and Matt Forte can control the clock and keep their defense fresh, they stand an excellent chance to beat Green Bay.
The reason Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are so good is because they make few mistakes. Any team playing them will have to make fewer mistakes but the Packers are not unbeatable. Eli Manning and the New York Giants can. The Detroit Lions and Ndamukong Suh can. The longtime rival Chicago Bears and Jay Cutler can too. Also don't count out the 8-1 San Francisco 49ers. In the NFL of today, perfection is something teams relish chances to prove wrong.