On Thursday morning, SB Nation published its 2017 NFL season preview, featuring predictions, comments, and analysis from a host of individuals. In addition to the SBNation.com writers, each of the team sites submitted responses to a handful of questions about their teams.
One of the interesting prompts was asking each site who their team’s biggest rival is. The Green Bay Packers were the choice by a whopping five team sites — the other three NFC North teams, of course, but also two other teams from around the NFC.
Here’s a look at what those blogs each had to say about the Packers, with a brief discussion about each.
Windy City Gridiron (Chicago Bears)
History tells us the Green Bay Packers are the Bears’ biggest rival, so that’s the obvious choice. The rivalry has been a bit one-sided lately, but that doesn't take away from how bad Bears fans want to see the Packers lose. This is the longest rivalry in the NFL, and it’s all tied up 94-94-6.
History won out for us at APC, as I listed the Bears as the Packers’ biggest rival as well. Besides — when your team’s fans celebrate a song called "The Bears Still Suck," there can be only one answer. As WCG noted, the series is tied and a Packers win in Week 4 would put them on top in the rivalry for the first time since 1932.
Daily Norseman (Minnesota Vikings)
It’s probably the Packers, even though most of us understand that we’re not their biggest rival. Obviously, having them only about a four-hour drive away means that there are a lot of turncoats -- er, rival fans -- in the Twin Cities area, and they’ve had a good run over the past few years. All of that combines to make it a pretty miserable experience, but hopefully the tide will start turning the other direction here soon.
Rest assured, the Vikings were definitely our second choice behind Chicago.
Pride of Detroit (Detroit Lions)
Not long ago, I would have said the Chicago Bears, but the Lions have won seven of the past eight matchups between the two teams. Therefore, I have to say the Green Bay Packers. In both 2014 and 2016, the two teams played for the division title in Week 17. The Packers may have won both of those games, but the rivalry has been fairly even over the past four years.
It is true that the Lions have provided some of the toughest competition for the division in the past four years or so (although the Vikings were actually the only other team to win a title in that span besides Green Bay). In that time, the Packers are 5-3 against Detroit, a huge change from the 15-1 record over the eight years before that.
Blogging the Boys (Dallas Cowboys)
It would be easy to pick Washington, Philadelphia, or the Giants. But let’s do something more interesting and say "rival right now" and go with Green Bay. The Cowboys have lost two close playoffs games to the Packers in the last three years (including the Dez No-Catch game), and they also play again in 2017. The two teams have a storied history against each other since the Ice Bowl. At the moment, the Packers/Cowboys rivalry is hot.
This one was legitimately surprising to a few of us at APC, given the heated rivalries in the NFC East. It’s true that the Packers have handed the Cowboys their last two playoff losses, however, and both have been in fairly dramatic fashion. Apparently postseason games sting a bit more than divisional ones, and if you think back to the mid-1990s when the Packers couldn’t get past Dallas in the postseason, you can understand where they’re coming from.
Field Gulls (Seattle Seahawks)
As strange as this may have sounded not long ago, I guess right now it would have to be the Packers. Since 2012, the Packers and Seahawks seem to be getting into some of the most intense matchups of any two teams in the NFL, especially the Monday night game in 2012 with Wilson throwing a legitimate touchdown to Golden Tate to win the game legitimately. The two meet again in Week 1 and are probably the odds-on favorites to meet in the NFC Championship game this season.
“Legitimate.” Okay. Still trying to convince yourselves of that, huh?
Of course, the Packers have also beaten the Seahawks each of the last two years and get a third straight game at Lambeau Field in week one. Aside from last year’s game (that fantastic 38-10 blowout), the games are always close late.
Ultimately, if you are referred to by other regular playoff teams in your conference as their biggest rival, you’re probably doing something right. The Packers play every one of these teams in the regular season this year, so hopefully Green Bay will show all of these five teams who’s on top.