Wednesday July 4, 2012 : What is Wrong with the Green Bay Packers?
All of the sports betting sites had the Green Bay Packers as the odds-on favorites to win Super Bowl XLVI. The action was furious on the Super Bowl futures that had the Packers as repeat champions. When Green Bay went 15-1 in the regular season, the betting pundits could not be more sure of a Green Bay victory in February.
But even in the midst of regular season domination, some of the sportsbooks could see problems on the horizon. The Packers still did not have a reliable running game to lean on. In 2010, James Starks stepped in out of nowhere in the wild card round of the playoffs and gave Green Bay the running game it needed to be Super Bowl champions. As expected, Starks earned the starting job at running back for the 2011 season. But Starks and the running game were not nearly as effective in 2011 as it was in the 2010 playoffs. Defenses had figured Starks out and, while he had a good season, it was not enough to establish a running game for the playoffs.
When the playoffs started, the Packers had no surprises at running back to unleash on an unsuspecting league. Teams already knew how to stop Starks and that allowed defenses to focus on quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The football crowd does not need to be reminded of the accomplishments of Aaron Rodgers. But in the playoffs, everyone plays a little better and the lack of a running game left Rodgers by himself to score points, keep the Green Bay offense on the field and single-handedly win the game. That is a tall order, even for Aaron Rodgers.
The Green Bay defense had lost its bite. Clay Matthews was no longer the terror that was dominating the line of scrimmage. Once again, teams had learned how to keep Matthews to the outside and reduce his impact on the flow of the game. The rest of the Green Bay defense just seemed ineffective all season long. The thing that was especially concerning was the inability of the Green Bay secondary to stop teams from executing two or three long passing plays per game. Even the best sports betting sites will tell you that if a team cannot stop the deep ball, then there is going to be problems.
By the time the Giants showed up in the divisional round of the 2011 playoffs, most people started to wonder exactly who was the favorite. The Giants defense completely dominated Atlanta in the wild card round and New York quarterback Eli Manning was having the season of his career. Most betting experts felt sorry for the Giants because they felt that New York was walking into a no-win situation. But it turned out that the Giants were laying in wait to upset a Green Bay team that really never had a chance.
In 2012, the Packers will be entering the season with the same issues that plagued it in 2011. There were no major upgrades made on defense and the offense was kept intact. With the same parts in place, Green Bay fans can expect the same results in 2012 that they got in 2011.
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