It has been over 10 years since the Green Bay Packers last lifted the Vince Lombardi trophy and a lot has happened since then. Tom Brady has won another Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Donald Trump came and went as President and the Chicago Cubs exorcised their demons and broke the curse by winning the World Series in 2016.
Despite having had to endure a decade of hurt, Packers fans have gone into every subsequent season since that 2011 victory with high hopes of a positive showing from their team. Last season their hearts were broken by Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, but there were positives to take, even in defeat.
This season the Packers find themselves fourth favorites in the outright NFL betting odds. Before you race to bet online and back Matt LaFleur’s men, read on to find out just why the Packers are featuring so highly in the betting odds.
(Highlights from the Green Bay Packers Last Super Bowl success in 2011.)
The NFC North is Weak
Last season the Packers finished with a 13-3 record and won the NFC North before losing to the Buccaneers in the conference championship. This season they will likely win the NFC North again thanks to the relative weakness of the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, and Minnesota Vikings.
On the opening weekend of the season, the four teams in the NFC North kicked off their campaign by allowing 140 points and losing by a combined 66. While the Packers’ 38-3 loss to New Orleans was an aberration, the performances of the other 3 NFC North teams were par for the course.
The point is that the Green Bay Packers could win the NFC North with their eyes closed and as such, can afford to start thinking about the postseason before most of their rivals.
If push comes to shove, they could probably even use some of their regular-season games as de facto training sessions to practice for the likes of Tampa and Kansas City.
After their shocking opening day defeat to New Orleans, the Packers have made a real show of their defense. Since then the Big Bay Blues have given up 129 points at an average of 18.4 per game even with Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith on injured reserve.
6 foot 3, 232 pounds, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell has been vital to the Packers newfound resolve, tackling running backs in space, charging down quarterbacks, and going man to man with receivers. The former Arizona Cardinal has taken to the Packers’ defense like a duck to water and appears to have found a new lease on life in Wisconsin.
In tight postseason games, a well-drilled and disciplined defense epitomized by the professionalism of De’Vondre Campbell could well be the difference between defeat and victory.
(Why De’Vondre Campbell’s move from Arizona to Green Bay has been so successful.)
Matt LaFleur is the Man
If you were to watch any of Matt LaFleur’s press conferences or media interviews you might find it hard to stay awake. The 41-year-old former Omaha Beef and Billings Outlaws player has been as dull as dishwater with the media since joining in 2019.
On the field though his teams have been anything but with fans raving about the football being played by the Packers. What’s more is that his team has been able to combine style with substance. When the Packers recently beat Arizona 24-21 it took LaFleur’s regular season record to 33-7.
That’s the highest win percentage of any coach in the Super Bowl era in their first 40 games and it’s not the only indicator of the ‘LaFleur factor’.
During his time in Wisconsin, the Packers have been phenomenal in one-score games, racking up a 15-3 record in games decided by 8 points or less and are 4-1 in that regard thus far this season.
All of these factors stand the Packers in good stead ahead of the playoffs.
Sure, there may better teams out there than the Green Bay Packers, but there is just that something special about Matt LaFleur’s team this season. They feel like a roster with a plan and real grit and determination to do something memorable.
They could well come up short at the final hurdle, finding themselves lacking that elite level quality when it counts, but equally, their camaraderie and organization could see them lifting the Vince Lombardi trophy…