Hunger … That’s what will drive the Green Bay Packers to a division championship in 2011.
Hunger? Are you kidding, you ask?
Isn’t this the same team that is pushing itself away from the table that is the gluttony of the Super Bowl? How can this team be hungry?
Just insert here the number of teams that have taken nosedives the season after a Super Bowl championship. Why won’t the Packers be just one of those statistics next season?
Hunger, that’s why.
Remember, this team didn’t win its own division last year, had to win their final three regular season games just to sneak into the playoffs as the final seed and then had to win three straight playoff games to get to the Super Bowl … Then they had to win the big game.
And they did it despite losing 15 players to the disabled list.
It was clearly one of the greatest coaching achievements in the history of the game.
Unless there is some kind of complete meltdown by this team or the lockout prevents the season from proceeding, the Packers will be improved … And they will be hungry enough to take the division title from the Bears, that overachieving group with a good defense that carried them to several wins last year.
Don’t expect that this year.
Yes the defense will still be formidable, but the Bears did nothing to make their offense any better. Their offensive line will be average at best, even with the addition of Gabe Carimi, and their quarterbacking situation will continue to implode.
Jay Cutler will start the season, but will play himself out of the starting role with subpar performances. The cry for Caleb Hanie will be overwhelming and Cutler will ride the bench for the last half. Hanie will win some games, but his inexperience will be his undoing and the Bears finish 6-10.
Cutler will be released at season’s end and will end up playing in places like Buffalo or Arizona.
The hungry Packers, on the other hand, will show vast improvement on both sides of the ball. Second round pick Randall Cobb will make the greatest impact, adding a dimension on third downs and special teams that the Packers haven’t seen in years.
They will defeat the Bears twice, sweep the Vikings and split with the Lions, the team with the biggest upside in the Division.
While the Packers’ hunger will earn the team the NFC North Division title, the Lions will win a few games that many don’t expect, but will fall in the end because of the deficiencies in their defensive backfield.
The Packers, of course, will be the favorite heading into the season, not only because the team won the Super Bowl, but because this team has shown significant improvement through the draft and will have several returning stars returning to the lineup.
That fact alone is enough for the team to take the division title and send it into the playoffs.
That and the fact that this team will have the hunger to win.