Green Bay Packers: Destined for greatness?


It will be the Packers defense that will make a difference Sunday.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

There has been a lot of talk lately about the Green Bay Packers being a team of … dare I say … destiny.

It makes sense, however, doesn’t it?

Think about it:

• The Packers start out frustrated by the San Francisco 49ers, who they had lost to twice in the same year, once an embarrassing loss in the playoffs. All the offseason talk about stopping the read-option and hitting the quarterback and being a tough-as-nails defense was thrown out the window as the secondary allowed Colin Kaepernick a career passing day. There was speculation that this Packers’ team was just not up to snuff.

Aaron Rodgers was criticized after a week 3 loss to the Bengals, a game in which his level of play was brought into question.

• The Packers rallied from a 1-2 start to win 4 games straight, even though …

• The injury bug took its toll: it was Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward and Bryan Bulaga (before the season even began). It was followed closely by Clay Matthews, Eddie Lacy, James Jones and Randall Cobb. Then came Jermichael Finley. Sam Shields hit the sidelines. All culminating in …

• A week 9 tilt with the Bears. First possession, third down: Rodgers leaves with a fractured collarbone and the prospect of a promising season. He’s out 8 weeks.

Aaron Rodgers

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

• Then came the backup quarterback woes: let’s start with Seneca Wallace. He finished the Bears game for Rodgers, unsuccessfully. His first start the next week lasted a whole … five minutes. A groin injury put him on injured reserve. Next up? Scott Tolzien, who showed significant promise for the future, but needs technique and fundamental training. He looked good at times and bad at times. He couldn’t get it done. The Packers then re-signed free agent Matt Flynn to the active roster after being released by three NFL franchises in a single calendar year. He rallied the Packers back from big deficits against the Vikings and Cowboys to keep the Packers in the playoff hunt, just when everyone else had counted them out.

• The Packers had a HUGE win at Dallas that boosted morale all around, despite our defense dropping into the depths of the NFL ranks. It was improbable. It was … miraculous?

• The Lions, controlling the division, LOST ON Monday Night Football on a 61-yard Justin Tucker field goal. The Ravens scored 5 straight field goals to keep the Packers’ playoff hopes alive and put the Lions in the backseat of the NFC North.

• The Packers had a solid chance to take hold of the division against the Steelers; made it all the way to the 6-yard line and the mismanagement of the clock by the officials ended the game and potentially the team’s January hopes, early.

• After the loss to the Steelers, the Bears had an opportunity to clinch the division against the Philadelphia Eagles; keeping in line with the story of the North this year, they couldn’t get it done, surrendering to the Eagles 54-11 on Sunday Night.

• In a season which saw the Packers needing a whole lot of help to reach the playoffs, both the Ravens and the Eagles presented the Packers with early Christmas gifts.

• The Packers/Bears rivalry came full circle: it was Shea McClellin of the Bears that knocked Aaron Rodgers out of the game on that first possession back in week 9, fracturing his collarbone. Rodgers made attempts to return earlier but was never medically cleared … until the Packers met the Bears in the season finale at Soldier Field. How fitting …

• With Rodgers and Cobb playing together again for the first time since week 6, the Packers offense got a big boost. Ultimately, it was a 48-yard bomb to Cobb that gave Rodgers and the Packers the last laugh against the Bears. The go-ahead touchdown came with just 38 seconds left in the game, and was followed closely by a crucial stop on defense (which was a rare sight from the 2013 defensive unit).

Randall Cobb

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Look at everything that the Packers have overcome in the past 17 weeks. Doesn’t it seem like fortune has been smiling down on the Green Bay Packers, often disguised by adversity? There is a special feeling flowing through Packers Nation right now, a feeling of … inevitability. It just feels like the coin has landed on our side.

If the 2013 regular season trials and tribulations aren’t enough to sway you, just take a look at the potential post season opportunity:

• The Packers’ first opponent? The San Francisco 49ers. They have had the Packers’ number lately, especially in the last three meetings. With two season openers spoiled and an embarrassing postseason loss last year under their belt, the Packers seem poised for payback. The Niners are rolling into Lambeau on a six-game winning streak. They are riding high and favored by experts and analysts everywhere. That is the best thing the Packers could ask for. In 2010, the Packers were heavy underdogs in each of the four contests they starred in. Yet, they hoisted the Lombardi trophy, still. This year is reminiscent … and so is the doubt that surrounds them.

• If the Packers succeed and knock off the 49ers at home, they will most likely (depending on the outcome of the Eagles/Saints tonight) travel to Seattle to have an opportunity to settle a debt with the Seahawks and the 12th Man. Analysts like to feature the Seahawks as having not lost at home since 2011 (until the Cardinals this year). Perhaps they have all forgotten week three of the 2012 season when Rodgers and Co. came into Seattle and beat the Seahawks; however, they couldn’t beat the replacement officials, and that is ultimately the letter that sticks. I can guarantee you: the Packers and faithful fans everywhere have not forgotten and would love nothing more than to go into Seattle and make it official.

Let them count us out, let them overlook the Packers chances at reaching the Super Bowl.

I know a lot of guys wearing Green and Gold that are excited at the prospect of gaining some momentum and fulfilling their postseason destiny.

It’s almost too perfect, isn’t it?

I can’t wait to see how this one ends …