Packers Eyeing Historic Start

Even with a leaky defense that enters Sunday's game ranked 31st overall, the Packers are off to a rousing start. Not many teams in franchise history have started 7-0, and the Packers are in position to do just that.

The Green Bay Packers are one of the NFL's three undefeated teams, and yet, to a man, they'll quickly say there is plenty of room to improve.

That's the good news.

And for more good news, the schedule affords them plenty of opportunity to work out the kinks.

The combined record of the Packers' four opponents before their bye — starting Sunday against Denver (1-2) and continuing with Atlanta (1-2), St. Louis (0-3) and Minnesota (0-3) — is 2-10.

A 7-0 start would be almost unprecedented in the long history of the 13-time world champions.

The 2007 Packers under coach Mike McCarthy started 4-0 and reached the NFC Championship Game.

The 1998 team under Mike Holmgren started 4-0 and lost in the wild-card round on Terrell Owens' infamous last-second catch.

The 1996 team that won the Super Bowl started 3-0 and 8-1.

The 1967 team that won Super Bowl II started 3-0-1.

The 1966 team that won Super Bowl I started 4-0.

The 1965 team that kicked off the Glory Years three-peat started 6-0.

The 1962 team that is considered one of the best in NFL history started 10-0, with its only loss of the season coming in that notorious Thanksgiving game at Detroit.

The 1961 team that will be honored at halftime on Sunday as the first of the Glory Years champions dropped the opener but won its next six games.

The 1944 team that was the last of Curly Lambeau's champions started 4-0.

The 1932 team started 8-0-1 but missed out on a fourth consecutive championship by dropping its final two game. Chicago infamously won the title with a 7-1-6 record.

The 1929 through 1931 three-peat all had fast starts — 10-0-1 for the undefeated 1929 champions, 8-0 in 1930 and 9-0 in 1931.

Getting back to more of a modern era, eight previous Packers teams have started 3-0 in the last 50 years. All of those teams reached the playoffs. In fact, 75.9 percent of the NFL's 3-0 teams have reached the playoffs since the 12-team postseason format was instituted in 1990.

"If we're going to do the things that we want to do this season, we've got to get better," cornerback Charles Woodson said. "We're nowhere near hitting our stride as a team. But we have gutted out some tough wins, made some big plays when we needed to to win those games, so we feel good about that. But we've definitely got to get better."

That's especially true on defense, where Dom Capers' units have given the Packers top-five defenses in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1968 and 1969. Back then, the NFL was only a 16-team league.

Through three games, the Packers are ranked 29th overall — despite their No. 1 ranking against the run — and 31st against the pass.

"I see the elements," Capers said on Friday. "We've been here before. You think two years ago, Cincinnati came in here and ran the ball up and down the field on us. It was a helpless feeling and I'm thinking to myself, ‘Oh, this is going to be a long season.' By midseason, nobody could run the ball on us. We've got to keep that element going and the other stuff will fall into place."


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.


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