Packers Ponder 16 - 0


by Andrew Coughlin

If Greg Jennings' injured knee doesn't make Coach Mike McCarthy think twice about going for a perfect season or resting his starters, I don't know what will.

With a victory on Sunday against the lowly Kansas City Chiefs, the Packers will wrap up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. I can't see the Chiefs putting up much of a fight and I believe this game will be handled by Green Bay before halftime. But who knows? Crazier things have happened and Kansas City has a new Head Coach and some fresh enthusiasm in trying to hand the Packers their first loss of the season.

The question will not be posed this week, but it certainly will in the final two weeks of the season where Chicago and Detroit come to Wisconsin playing for their playoff lives. Both of these teams will want the Packers' JV squad, but if you're McCarthy, would you want your offensive starters playing either of these nasty defenses?

Since QB Jay Cutler went down with a thumb injury and was lost for the rest of the regular season, the Bears' defense could not have played much better than they have been. The past four games, their defense has allowed an average of 17 points/game. With their star QB out they're 1 - 3 in those games.

The past four games have been a different story for the Lions. They've given up an average of 30.25 points/game. Although their defense has faltered a bit down the stretch, I'd still be cautious of them. (See Nstompakhong Suh on Thanksgiving). You know the Lions would be licking their chops at a chance to knock off the Packers.

The Lions and Bears are division rivals and no matter the record, division games are always tough for both teams.

They already have that extra week to get healthy with the first round bye in the playoffs. The real concern here is avoiding serious injury. But how does McCarthy weigh the cost of injury versus continuity, because the Packers are rolling right now and a break of three plus weeks of normalcy could take away from how hot this team is playing right now.

We know that the players want their shot at a chance at history. The questions is: how bad does McCarthy want it? It's ultimately his call and his decision alone to make.

I say he goes for it. Anything can happen to your players at anytime. Injury can happen in practice and during games, but they're much more likely to occur if you're playing scared. He shouldn't approach these next three weeks any differently than the previous 14 weeks. If the Packers have significant leads in all these games, then bring in the second and third units, but play to win. Show the rest of the NFL that Green Bay cannot be beat and this team could go down as the greatest team in history on their way to back-to-back Super Bowl titles.


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