At 9-0, the talk that has been buzzing for the past few weeks about the Green Bay Packers is fast become something closer to a roar. Perfection, perfection, perfection, that is the word being tossed out about the reigning SuperBowl Champs. With the explosiveness of their offense and the opportunistic nature of their defense, perfection is more than a pipe dream for this group of players, it's a potential reality.
The key to this, however lies in the unlikeliest of places. It lies in San Francisco.
That's right, if the Packers are going to reach the milestone of a perfect 16-0 season, then they are going to need the help of the San Francisco 49ers to achieve it. Sitting at 8-1, the 49ers are right there with the Packers, record wise, and are just waiting for them to slip up and lose a game or two so they can jump into that number 1 spot in the NFC.
With the 49ers so close behind them, Green Bay has no choice but to keep on winning to achieve the number 1 spot in their conference. That drive, that motivation, will allow the Packers to approach each week in a more focused manner than, say, if the closest team behind them had 2 or 3 losses.
Perfection in the regular season isn't the goal of this Green Bay squad, winning another title is, so to that end they would be more likely to sit key starters in the final weeks to rest up for a playoff run if able. If San Fran can keep winning, though, the Packers will have no choice but to play hard every week to get the win, thus making it more likely that they go undefeated.
Nothing breeds excellence better than competition and for a team that is coming off of a big SuperBowl win and is cruising through the regular season, the competition that the 49ers are bringing is just what the doctor ordered for these Packers.
Let's take a look at the remaining schedules for both these teams.
Green Bay faces the following teams in this order to finish the Season: Tampa Bay, Detroit, Giants, Oakland, Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit.
San Francisco finishes the season against the following teams, in order: Arizona, Baltimore, St. Louis, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Seattle, St. Louis.
The Packers still face a tough road to having a perfect season, but if any team can accomplish this, than I have to believe that they can. Also, the fact that San Fran's schedule is a cakewalk besides the two AFC North teams leads me to believe that we have a very good chance at seeing the second 16-0 team in the past decade.
A special place in NFL history is in the grasp of the Green Bay Packers, now it's just up to them to take it.
Well, with a little help, of course.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS