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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

November is Meat Month

by Mark Quarderer
PackerChatters Staff

Mercifully, the season starts in less than a week and we can quit talking about last year and start talking about this year. Training camp begins, and about two weeks later we have our Aug 11. scrimmage (uh, excuse me, exhibition game) against San Diego. The starters will play a series or two and the bulk of the game will be played out by guys who'll be long gone by the time the games count.

Still, they'll have Packer uniforms on and that's good enough for somebody who hasn't watched a Packer game in 8 months.

The football gods were kind to the Packers this year when it came to the schedule. We open up with 5 straight games against teams that didn't make the playoffs last year....Detroit, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Carolina, and the Saints. None of these teams, with the possible exception of Detroit, is figured to be an offensive powerhouse this season which should certainly give our newly reconstituted defense some time to gel and gain confidence. The game in Detroit is always tough, and the game in Carolina is certainly no gimme, but it is not out of the realm of possibility that the Packers could win all 5 of these games, or go 4-1 as they head in to their bye week.

They come off the bye, with two weeks to prepare, for an early divisional showdown at Minnesota followed by a home game against Cincinnati.

But the season will be defined by what happens in November, because that is the meat of their schedule.

Home against the Steelers, away against the Falcons, home against the Vikings, away against the Eagles.

Four straight nationally televised games against four playoff teams from 2004, including three who were in the conference championship games.

I would submit that even if the Packers roar through the rest of their schedule with a 10-2 record, it's these four games which will define their season. The Packers don't need to win all of these, but they need to look like they belong on the field with them, which quite frankly they didn't against Philadelphia last year.

I'm not going to be deceived by another 10-6 record this year because I know that we're an above average team and we should finish with an above average record. I'm going to look at how we do against the better teams....because we didn't beat a single team last year with a winning record.
I would agree with this preview of the Events to come. My hope is we once again see the Brett Favre of old. Knowing that his INT percentages were gradually getting worse, QB Coach Bevell has focused his attention, in the off-season, directly on the particular problem.

Brett spent the summer away from Lambeau, missing both mini-camps and working out with a Personal Trainer. Let's hope these tactics have produced a return to the QB we saw during the Nineties run at the SuperBowl.

Having Jim Bates around, to instill the Defense with new purpose can't hurt, either. Certainly, Bill Belicheck had his eye on Bates.. and that's a telling thought all by itself.. now isn't it?
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