The last time the Packers lost a game was week 15 of the 2010 season against the New England Patriots. Now, in 2011, the Packers are trying to do what the New England Patriots could not do in 2007, finish the season 19-0.
The last team to complete a perfect season, going undefeated in the regular season and winning the Super Bowl, was the 1972 Miami Dolphins. Since then, the Patriots have gone undefeated in the regular season, only to lose in the Super Bowl to the Giants in 2007, finishing with a record of 18-1. In 2009, the Colts nearly went undefeated, only to lose in week 16 to the Jets, and again in week 17 to the Bills. They would go on to lose in the Super Bowl to the Saints, finishing the season with a record of 16-3.
The Packers are still seven wins away from joining the 2007 Patriots as the only teams in NFL history with 16-0 seasons, but it is hard to not start talking about the idea of the Packers going undefeated. The task will not be easy, however, as the rest of their schedule comes with a few tough tests that may have the 1972 Miami Dolphins popping a few corks.
First, let’s look at the Packer’s remaining regular season games:
Week 11 vs. Tampa Bay: Tampa has three straight losses and have not shown any indications that they can or will challenge the Packers.
Week 12 at Lions (Thanksgiving) : The Lions beat the Packers last season in Detroit 7-3, spurring the four-game winning streak that has led to the turnaround this season. When the Lions started the season 5-0, everyone was excited anticipating a Thanksgiving matchup between the two teams. Since then, the Lions have taken a few steps back, while the Packers have only picked up steam. The turkey day match could hinge on the health of running back Jahvid Best.
Week 13 at Giants: This could quite possibly be the week that the Packers lose. The Giants seem to play to their opponent’s ability and are in the midst of one of the hardest six-game stretch in the NFL. The Giants were the team in 2007 that played the Patriots the toughest during the regular season, then beat them in the Super Bowl to prevent them from going 19-0. A Giants have a pass rush that could be enough to disrupt Aaron Rodgers and an offense that could find holes in an inconsistent Packers’ defense.
Week 14 vs. Raiders: This game will depend on Carson Palmer’s play and whether Darren McFadden will be recovered from his injury.
Week 15 vs. Chiefs: With Matt Cassel looking doubtful to finish the season with the Chiefs, the matchup only looks easier. I doubt any team in the AFC West can hold a candle to the Packers.
Week 16 vs. Bears: Week 16 is when the Colts lost their hopes of an undefeated season in 2009. Different teams, but a similar situation. The Jets were playing for a chance to grab a playoff berth, while the Colts were trying to preserve their health for the playoffs. The Packers may rest their starters in Week 16 and 17 if they are able to clinch home field advantage.
Week 17 vs. Lions: Again, Green Bay may decide to rest their starters if they are able to clinch home field advantage. They may have even less incentive to play their starters if they are able to beat the Lions on Thanksgiving.
The playoffs will not be any easier for the Packers if they do make it through a couple of tough games to end the regular season. They will most likely clinch home field and have a first round bye. As the playoff picture stands now, the 4-6 seeds are Giants, Detroit and Chicago, respectively. This means that the Packers would have to beat either the Lions or Bears three times in one season, something that believe it or not, has been done more times than not. They may have to beat the Giants twice, something the 2007 Patriots were unable to do.
Prediction: Packers finish the season 14-2, losing to the Giants in week 13 and either the Bears or Lions in week 16/17.