When looking at the NFC, I think it's fair to assume the playoff teams will be pretty much the same this year as they were last year. Maybe AZ or STL takes over for Seattle or maybe the Saints show up this year. However, assuming the main teams are still there, I want to take a look at what the playoff "PACk" have done this week. Those teams being
This is just kind of a look at what the Packers might be up against assuming they make it back to the playoffs.
Also, if you do actually read this whole thing, I'm at work on lunch break and don't have time to proof read it (and organizing my thoughts/spelling are pretty sketchy to begin with) so if it's crap, I apologizePhilly
Where to start with Philly. Holy crap do they have talent. The offense isn't changing much. They still have Vick, McCoy, Jackson, Maclin, and Celek. While they swapped Kolb out for Young at backup QB. The offense is definitely built to fly and be exciting. It's going to be hard for any defense to stack up play after play and contain them from the big play. However, they didn't really address the receiver position or the offensive line position and is VY as a backup QB really such a good thing? With their offensive line, you can get to Vick and make him hurry. Which as we saw at the end of the year last year caused an injury and a huge drop in production from him from the first part of the season. If Vick gets injured again, do you really trust a headcase like Vince Young with the keys to this very very expensive car? Philly fans will be a lot more relentless than the slight booings he received in Tennessee. While they do have DJax and Maclin, they don't have a ton else behind them in the receiver corps. Jackson and Maclin are each having their own issues. Jackson wants a new contract (I heard this morning he's only making $500,000 next year) and Maclin is having some kind of unknown pneumonia threatening to cause him to miss games, from listening to KFAN today, apparently they're pretty concerned about the illness. So while they do have this electrifying offense, it seems to be quite full of holes and questions. If the receivers go down and McCoy is forced to be more of a traditional RB with men stacked in the box, how will he fair? On the other side of the Philly ball, the defense added uncle Cromartie, Nnamdi, and Cullen Jenkins. Boy oh boy is that defense full of talent. The secondary was considered a bit of a weakness last year and now they have Samuel, Cromartie, and Nnamdi to play corner, with Samuel apparently being shopped around. They add that talent (and Casey Matthews!) to a defense that ranked 21st in total yards allowed and 12th in ppg, is that enough to make their defense elite? Probably. I really think the NFL over looks Cullen Jenkins, if he can stay on the field, look at the production you can get from him as a DT. I freaking DT that can rush the passer like that and he put up pretty nice numbers last year considering that he missed a few games and when he did play, he had a club on his hand most of the time.
While the Falcons didn't do much, they did add Ray Edwards in Free Agency to what was a hit-or-miss defensive line last year and drafted Julio Jones (along with releasing Michael Jenkins). Did they do enough to put them over the top? I remember in that regular season game in Atlanta I felt the Packers were lucky to still be in the game with how the Falcons were moving the ball, despite not having many yards. Ryan, Turner, White, Jones, and Gonzalez sounds like a pretty sweet offensive set up. The defense wasn't too shabby at 16th in ypg and only 5th in ppg. Jones is probably the fire power to make their offense something to compete in a shootout, but will their defense be able to repeat the "bend don't break" style they did last year? Or is Ray Edwards the answer? (unless they're playing the Cowboys in the playoffs, I doubt it).
Marion Barber, Roy Williams, Matt Spaeth, and Sam Hurd come in on offense to help add fire power, while probably their most talented pass catcher last year leaves in Olsen. While the Olsen move is pretty questionable, I really like what they did with Barber, Williams, Spaeth and Hurd. Their offense was not impressive to me last year. They have two fast receivers in Knox and Hester but the Packers all but shut them out last year, Olsen was the real threat to us and now he's gone. However, Roy Williams most productive year was under Mike Martz and still has potential despite being terrible in Dallas. Hurd can be a nice #3-4 receiver to go with Knox/Hester who are solid #2-3 receivers. While they still don't have a true #1 receiver, Cutler has to be happy with these additions. Even with Olsen gone, Spaeth can play a little as a receiver and blocker. Barber is the big question mark for their offense to me. If Barber can get back to form and be a nice bruiser that can run instead of just a goal line back, Forte is suddenly going to be a very nice compliment to him and will make them a much more versatile offense because Forte/Taylor is just a little too repetitive. They also lost Kruetz and replaced him the center from Seattle. While their offense still isn't elite... they're definitely much better than last year. On top of that, a very good defense adds Gholston and Okoye to their D-Line, making a team that we struggled to score on all 3 times we played them last year, even better.
The Packers on the other hand, did nothing. However, that may not be a terrible thing. We get Finley, Grant, Neal, and Burnett back. Add that too an OT/apparent OG drafted in the first round, a KR/speed WR/Can Opener/Tooth Pick/Pocket Knife in Cobb in the second round (a KR desperately needed btw), and a BJax replacement in the 3rd round... the Packers have plenty of talent to go around. I am not the least bit concerned about adding people. In fact, we may have too many weapons. Last year the offense looked hit-or-miss with Finley healthy because there simply wasn't enough football for Rodgers to share. If they players can put their ego's aside, and Grant can regain form, this is probably the best offense in football. Defensively last year, despite a ton of injuries, the Packers were half of a point away from having the best ppg allowed and they had the 5th best ypg allowed. If Neal can come close to replacing Jenkins and Raji continues to develop, there's no reason why the Packers shouldn't have one of the best defenses for yet another year in a row under Capers.
Did the other playoff teams do enough to knock off the Packers? Or are the PUP additions going to be enough to potentially put the Pack back in the super bowl? Assuming the team can stay healthy, I gotta like the Packers chances of getting back to the super bowl, when a team only trails by 7pts once in an entire season (especially with all the injuries), there's something good happening.