The NFL just put Week 5 to bed.
So what does that mean for the Packers?
Many folks who thought that the season was swirling down the drain after losing two of three to start the year should be feeling pretty good right about now.
And the reason is because I really don’t see a dominant team in the league. Sure, the Eagles and Cowboys sit atop the NFC East at 4-1 but Philly has been getting by with smoke and mirrors without LeSean McCoy and everyone is just waiting for Dallas to come back down to earth.
Arizona and Cincinnati were that last two unbeatens before both teams got its doors blown off at Denver and at New England.
Amazingly, the best three teams right now are the Seahawks, Chargers and Broncos. When Seattle is able to get Russell Wilson in space, they can beat anybody. And San Diego doesn’t face Denver until Oct. 23, which will be the ultimate litmus test for both clubs.
So the Packers are just fine. Getting two of three in the first spin through the NFC North was important. Especially after getting embarrassed at Ford Field, the Packers have rallied and are looking strong. They could’ve hung 50 easily on Minnesota but Aaron Rodgers — who was outdone in yardage by Christian Ponder 222-156 — didn’t play the final quarter.
The biggest reason the Packers are back on track is because they have a plus-6 turnover differential. This defense surprisingly has seven picks. And it’s not just the secondary either. Julius Peppers — who showed off his quickness by becoming the first defensive player to score a touchdown this season — Clay Matthews and Jamari Lattimore are guys that are taking advantage of turnovers.
Add in Eddie Lacy’s 2014 reboot and the Packers are back. Now, I’m not saying they are one of the best teams yet, but the wins at Chicago and at home vs. Minnesota were near flawless.
But that’s not to say this team doesn’t still have questions. Things like a capable tight end to step up. Andrew Quarless only has one more target than Lacy and they have the same number of receptions.
And the other thing that’s crucial is keeping Rodgers upright. He’s been sacked 12 times, which is a pace of 38. Since Bryan Bulaga is back to anchor the right side of the line and with Corey Linsley playing far better than a rookie, Rodgers looks to be in good hands.
This year has been so upside down so far, just look at the Saints. That was my team to win the Super Bowl and they’re clinging to a 2-3 record, a mark that could easily be 1-4.
And in true NFC North fashion, the Lions fell apart at home giving Detroit a first place tie with the Packers.
The division is the Packers for the taking. They have the best quarterback and a secondary that is getting better every week. And don’t forget about a coach that took the predictability muzzle off the passing game, allowing Jordy Nelson to run open and free.
The Packers have gotten better since the season opener, but in the NFL, championships are won when a team peaks in December. Just ask the Super Bowl XLV champs.
Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn