Green Bay Packers: Will Aaron Rodgers & Co. go 16-0? [Poll]
The Green Bay Packers are 5-0 after a 25-14 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday night. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his cohorts are riding an 11-game winning streak dating back to the end of the regular season last year and including their run to the Super Bowl championship.
So how long can they keep it going? Long enough to become only the second 16-0 team in NFL history? The toughest games on the Packers' schedule appear to be a pair of matchups with the league's only other undefeated team, the Detroit Lions, and a date with the 4-1 San Diego Chargers.
Writers from around Tribune Co. will be discussing the topic -- check back throughout the day for their responses. Also join the discussion by voting in the poll and leaving a comment of your own.
Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times
Of course the Packers stand a chance of going undefeated in the regular season. Will they? I doubt it.
We’re just five weeks into the season, and so many things can happen over the next 11 games: key injuries, a letdown, or simply a good team that’s better than Green Bay on that particular day. Plus, there’s the likelihood that if the Packers were to build a comfortable lead in the division — no guarantee, considering how Detroit is playing — they would take their foot off the pedal, rest some starters, and coast into the postseason.
It wasn’t so long ago that the 14-0 Colts did that, and, despite all the criticism from their fans, made it to the Super Bowl.
Steve Svekis, South Florida Sun Sentinel
If Aaron Rodgers, who is clearly the best quarterback in the NFL, avoids a significant injury, the Pack could become the second team in NFL history to finish the regular season 16-0. To that end, the loss of left tackle Chad Clifton could be an issue.
Barring such a setback, though, the Packers have three games that stand out as challenges unless they throw in an unforeseen clunker: They are in San Diego after a Green Bay off week and have a pair against the undefeated Detroit Lions.
Interestingly, the finale at Lambeau Field against the Lions may be the most problematic. If the Pack has home-field advantage for the playoffs wrapped up by then, they may take the foot off the pedal against a division foe they may play in the postseason.]
[Updated at 9:57 a.m.:
Keith Groller, Allentown Morning Call
A chance for the Packers to finish unbeaten? Yes.
The Falcons showed, at least for a little more than a half, that Green Bay can be slowed and held to field goals.
Look for the Packers to stumble either at San Diego on Nov. 6 or against the Lions in what is suddenly a very appetizing early Thanksgiving Day game, or the week after at the Giants, who are capable of beating — or losing to — anybody.
And even if the Packers are still perfect entering a Christmas Day game against the Bears, Mike McCarthy might want to play Santa Claus and give his starters, especially Mr. Rogers, a day off -- assuming that the NFC North and the No. 1 seed throughout the NFC playoffs are locked up.]
[Updated at 1:28 p.m.:
Dan Pompei, Chicago Tribune
Going undefeated in the NFL is highly improbable. Injuries hit. Bad bounces happen. Opponents can rise up beyond their capabilities.
But the Packers are playing well enough to go 16-0, or 19-0, and there looks to be a considerable gap between them and the rest of the NFL. No other team appears to be as balanced or as dominant, or as capable of overcoming adversity. They have stability, excellent coaching, a difference-making quarterback, multiple weapons on offense, playmakers on defense and remarkable depth. They can win with different styles and in different environments. They are confident. They are stable.
Teams change over the course of a season, so there is no guarantee that the Packers of December will look like the Packers of October. But it’s difficult to imagine this team being anything but exceptional.]
Photo: Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, whose team is now 5-0 with an 11-game winning streak dating back to last season. Credit: Rich Addicks / Associated Press