At first, I thought the high expectations were just among us. Those who saw the development of the team last year. Witnessed the maturation of Aaron Rodgers into an MVP-level player. Could attest to the strength of the run-stuffing defense. But as the pre-season prognosticators across the myriad media outlets started pontificating their predictions, the persistent premonitions of Packer prowess were perceptible.
Interestingly, probably the most muted expectations were from the sports writers at the Green Bay Press-Gazette. Although 3 of the 4 predicted the Packers will win the NFC North, only one (Mike Vandermause) had them going to the Super Bowl and losing to the Ravens. I think they're sand bagging -- either that or trying to invoke some superstitious reverse jinx or something. The national media has been much more bullish on the Packers' prospects. This ESPN article providing the predictions of 7 of their top football analysts was particularly striking. Among their predictions:
- 4 of 7 have Rodgers as Offensive Player of the Year, 3 of 7 have him as MVP
- 6 of 7 predict the Packers will win the NFC North
- 7 of 7 predict they will go to the NFC Championship game
- 7 of 7 predict they will win the NFC and go to the Super Bowl
- 4 of 7 predict they will win the Super Bowl
Cue Queen (with David Bowie)...
There are two possible outcomes when the hype circling your team reaches this decibel level. Either:
- You embrace it and confidently start delivering the goods, turning that pre-season hype into regular season intimidation and domination on your way to Super Bowl glory, or
- You don't live up to it, start losing, trigger a wave of nay-sayers whose ripple effect spawns a wave of self-doubt causing your entire season to implode and all the coaching staff to lose their jobs.
My hope is for scenario 1.
Against that backdrop, I wouldn't be a self-respecting blogger if I didn't publicly lay out my predictions for the Packers' 2010 season. So without further delay, here goes:
Sun., Oct. 3
Sun., Oct. 24
Sun., Oct. 31 @
Sun., Nov. 7
Sun., Nov. 14 -- I predict they will have a bye week. Record: 7-2.
Win NFC North and get first-round bye
Lose to Saints in NFC Championship game in a shoot out.
There you go. I desperately hope I'm wrong and they bring home another Lombardi, but I just think the failure to shore up the defensive secondary and pass rush is going to be too much to overcome against the elite quarterbacks. We shall soon find out.