John Feinstein’s ‘A Season on the Brink‘ is a terrific chronicle of the 1985-86 Indiana Hoosiers men’s basketball team. The book gives a fascinating portrayal of head coach Bobby Knight, who occasionally displays the same anxiety as sports fans. Knight – when his team was mired in a slump – would frequently ask “will we ever win another game?” After two consecutive ugly defeats, Green Bay Packers fans can be forgiven for wondering the same thing.
Their defense has surrendered almost one mile of yardage over the past three games and their offense has the uncharacteristic tendency to stall for long stretches. This is the perfect recipe for a losing streak. When you consider the youth and injures in the secondary, as well as the inexplicable disappearance of Eddie Lacy, the problems seem pretty significant.
Yet while it’s tempting to panic and worry the Packers have won their last game of 2015, there are at least three reasons to R-E-L-A-X:
- Two games is a small sample
Any team can look atrocious for two games. This is especially true when the games are played on the road against two of the finest teams in the NFL. The Packers are simply not as bad as they were in Denver or for the first three quarters in Charlotte. This is true for the simple fact that no team in the NFL is that bad. Furthermore, it’s uncommon to find any team in NFL history that’s avoided a two-game slump.
2. Mike McCarthy’s teams get better throughout the season
In McCarthy’s first season (2006) the Packers lost consecutive home games by the combined score of 73-10 (I had the misfortune of attending the 35-0 drubbing by the New England Patriots). They proceeded to win their final four games and narrowly missed the playoffs. In 2009 the Packers were 4-4 after losing to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Packers finished the season 7-1 and made the playoffs. McCarthy often says “We’ve got to get (insert room for improvement) cleaned up.” History tells us that the Packers’ woes will, in fact, get cleaned up.
3. Aaron Rodgers
As long as Rodgers is healthy the Packers will be a threat to win the Super Bowl. Nothing more needs to be said.
Next up is a home game against the 1-7 Detroit Lions, a team that has not won in the state of Wisconsin since 1991. This should be a comfortable victory for the Packers. But if the Packers lose this game, then by all means sound the alarm. The sky will be falling.