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Packers 60-second rant: Running down potential spoilers

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Dan Arkush

darkush@pfwmedia.com
Executive editor

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Posted Oct. 25, 2011 @ 7:23 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

OK, I admit it.

Even though I continue to believe the odds remain slim for the Packers to pull off a perfect record this season, the possibility of that actually happening is warranting more serious consideration with every passing victory.

One might say a loss is a lot more likely to be coming down the pike after the lowly Vikings legitimately scared the Packers to death last Sunday in the Metrodome, with their rookie QB, Christian Ponder, displaying some impressive pluck, and Adrian Peterson emphatically confirming his status as the league's best back bar none.

But here the Packers sit at 7-0 as they settle into their well-deserved bye week, methodically having overcome a host of imperfections — a vulnerable, injury-plagued secondary, a subpar pass rush, an inconsistent kick-return game, etc. — while making it perfectly clear that they deserve to be considered the best team going.

Who knows? Maybe this team does have what it takes to negotiate a clean sweep this season after all? In a QB-driven league, the Packers certainly have the best QB going in Aaron Rodgers, who really looks like he's in a league of his own right now.

And it does seem like the team might be starting to gradually separate itself from the NFC North pack just a bit, with the Lions all of the sudden hitting the skids with a two-game losing streak, and QB Matthew Stafford back on shaky ground after limping off the field near the end of Detroit's loss to the Falcons last Sunday.

But the schedule definitely gets tougher after the bye — a lot tougher. Each of the nine teams left on their regular-season schedule are more than capable of raining on the Packers' perfect parade

Real quickly, allow me to prioritize the potential spoilers:

1. Lions (Nov. 24 at Detroit) — Only four days after having to contend with the Bucs, a Turkey Day trek to the Motor City is rife with pratfalls, whether Stafford is under center or not.

2. Bears (Dec. 25 at Lambeau) — It appears things might be starting to look up for Lovie Smith's troops, who always give the Packers a run for their money. Take away a couple of uncharacteristic defensive breakdowns by the Bears in the first Packer-Bear bash this season, and it might have been a different story altogether.

3. Chargers (Nov. 6 at San Diego) — Green Bay will invade San Diego well-rested. But Chargers QB Philip Rivers, who hasn't been at his best so far this season, figures to be motivated to give his all matched up against A-Rod.

4. Lions (Jan. 1 at Lambeau) — It's very possible the Lions will need to win this game to make the playoffs.

5. N.Y. Giants (Dec. 4 at Metlife) — Think the Giants might have some heavy-duty revenge on their minds after getting their asses handed to them by the Pack in Week 16 last season?

6. Buccaneers (Nov. 20 at Lambeau) — Wasn't it just a few years back when a bad Bucs team came to Green Bay and caught the Packers with their pants down? Bucs QB Josh Freeman looks like he might have regressed a bit, but he can still be one very tough customer who seems to keep his team in almost every game.

7. Vikings (Nov. 14 at Lambeau) — I really liked what I saw from Ponder last Sunday. Could he spearhead a prime-time upset of major proportions? If A.P. runs like he did last Sunday, most definitely.

8. Chiefs (Dec. 18 at Kansas City) — Did you see all those pick-sixes in K.C.'s six-pick shutout of the Raiders last week?

9. Raiders (Dec. 11 at Lambeau) — I suspect Carson Palmer will look a great deal more comfortable in a Raider uniform by the time this game rolls around than he did last Sunday against the Chiefs.

 

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