Tight game with Vikes should not be seen as sign of Packer weakness

MINNEAPOLIS — There is a decent chance the Green Bay Packers won't defer another coin toss after being tested by another rookie quarterback.

Randall Cobb might fumble another kick, just as easily as he could take another one back a long, long way.

Certainly, Aaron Rodgers could go deep into another half before throwing an incompletion.

Mason Crosby could make another 58-yard field goal, particularly indoors. Clay Matthews is certain to get robbed by the ref again. T.J. Lang will likely take another low blow in his career, just as sure as the Packers and the Vikings are going to treat a football game with the same chippy attitude tossed about in pickup hockey match on a Minnesota pond.

And, oh yeah, Charles Woodson is going to make another rookie quarterback pay.


OK, so the chances of Greg Jennings ever being that wide open again could attract really appealing Vegas odds.

The only thing we don't know about the NFL's only undefeated team is whether it will stay that way through the regular season and beyond.

In the wake of the well-earned 33-27 victory Sunday against the Vikings in a Metrodome that might as well have been deeded to Brown County for all the Packers fans in the joint, it's OK to start broaching the 16-0 subject.

While it might not be particularly relevant or important for a team to win every game before the playoffs, it is fair to ask whether anyone can stop the Packers' relatively healthy bodies once they come back rested and refreshed from the bye.

No quarterback in the league can begin to touch Rodgers. No defense has a chance against everything the Packers have going for them offensively, especially when they can run out the clock as they did with James Starks and the offensive line against the Vikings.

And I wouldn't take the tight score as any sign of weakness. This was all about a familiar rival and a weird environment and everything that makes Packers-Vikings such a trip to the dentist with extra laughing gas, no matter the state of either team. And, let's face it, the Vikings are about as good as the dump in which they play.

Still, you could make a compelling argument for the Packers running the table, except in the event that they are so far out in front of the NFC North and the entire conference that certain starters are given leave for portions of December. Outside of catastrophic injury, the division already can be called.

And if you're the Packers, 16-0 is just about the last thing that matters. They're so good that the only team capable of beating them wears green and gold on game days.


"We're trying to do something that's never been done before, be undefeated and win the Super Bowl," tight end Jermichel Finely said.

With respect to the '72 Dolphins and their 14-game regular-season schedule, you know what Finley is saying. He's the same guy who first brought up the Super Bowl last season. Even if it just doesn't matter, a 16-0 record attached to the Packers has become a big part of the NFL conversation. Of course, nothing is important beyond a perfect playoff record. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with allowing the 16-0 chatter to begin in earnest.

But you know the deal with these Packers. As humans, they want 16-0 attached to their legacy. As locked-in pros, they've moved way beyond that little Texas soiree eight months ago.

"We are not going to swing from the ropes around here as far as the extremes, one way or the other," coach Mike McCarthy said. "To a man, we know that we can play better and that's what's exciting about what is to come."

It's easy to say that the Packers, 7-0 without a complete performance, could really be scary if they put four quarters together.

Scarier still is the notion that they could continue to occasionally misfire and still be symbolically perfect this season.


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