Sydney Speaks! All aboard!

NFL football experts are not giving the young Green Bay Packers a chance of winning many games this season. However, the always straightforward Harry Sydney is somewhat optimistic about this year's team. Sydney explains why as he predicts the Packers' 2006 record.

It's that time of the year to really look at the schedule and make the call. The Green Bay Packers went 1-3 in the preseason, looking ugly at best. Now the final roster has been set at this time with a few surprises, such as keeping four tight ends and four wide receivers, and getting rid of Jason Horton. I thought he had played good enough to make the team. But as I'm trying to figure this team out, I really have no idea of what their record will be and here's why!!!!

If I had to bet, I would say the Packers are going to win more than six games, and don't think I'm crazy because I am not. Just take a walk with me and follow my logic. First, they were 4-12 last year for a lot of reasons: One was Mike Sherman's lack of what I would call good clock management and bad game-time decision-making, which cost this team some wins. How many? I don't know, but enough to I believe help get him fired, and I won't mention his lack of ability to be a quality general manager because that would be like beating a dead horse. So, if Mike McCarthy and his staff can manage the clock better, not be so predictable on offense, go into the game with a solid game plan, and make necessary adjustments that could be at least two more wins than last season. Now right off the start, the Packers could win two more games than last year. Where and when I don't know, but surprise wins are out there. Just think of the games last year they lost in the second half or very late in the game. Off the top of my head I can think of the Vikings, Tampa, Cleveland and even Carolina. So if they just have two more wins by good coaching the Packers are sitting on at least 5 wins. I know two and four are six but I have to have a margin for error that's why I'm saying five. That's the wins the coaches can get this team, but now to the players!!!!

Offensively I can't believe Brett Favre will throw 29 interceptions this year. This coaching staff won't allow him to hurt the team by throwing that many this year. Not only that, but I believe Brett Favre has too much pride in himself to repeat the season he just finished. Regardless of some of the things that has been coming out of his mouth lately he still wants to be the best he can be because his ego won't allow for anything else. But you have to admit lately he has been opening mouth and inserting foot, even if you are a fan of his. I'm a fan, but every time he opens his mouth I just want to say "Brett don't do it" like his latest talk about maybe wanting to play somewhere else when four months ago he said he was a Packer for life. Unfortunately it's hard to believe anything he says these days.

So back to how I think they might do. If Brett cuts down on the interceptions, that might just give the Packers two more wins. So with better coaching decisions and Brett being more careful with the ball this team could be up to seven wins. I'm still not crazy, but having a better defensive secondary could improve that side of the ball. If Charles Woodson and Al Harris can play better than they have in the preseason, especially Charles, how many games could the defense win? If they can be the shutdown corners - because Charles is trying to prove he can stay healthy and be one of the best in the business and Al is trying to prove that he is worth the big money that Woodson got - this defense just might win two games. The play of the two corners just might allow Bob Sanders to call a more aggressive defense game plan, perhaps blitzing more to help get a better pass rush on the quarterback which could lead to more fumbles or interceptions, and that could help the Packers put points on the board in each game.

I know some of you might think I have lost my mind, but remember this is possible because if you look at the speed of this defense it's incredible. Guys like A.J. Hawk, Abdul Hodge, Nick Barnett and Brady Poppinga might make the difference and steal a win or two especially if the offense isn't turning it over and putting the defense in a bind like it did last year.

So right now the Packers are at nine wins - five because of coaching, two because of Brett Favre not throwing 29 interceptions, and two because of the defense. Now let's look at the conference the Packers are playing in, and the only team I believe that's worth anything is the Chicago Bears. The Vikings and Lions just might be worse off than the Packers, and you never really know what's going to happen when they get together.

As you can see, the Packers have an opportunity to win maybe nine to ten games, but you and I know that in football the ball bounces funny at times. So as I figure, nine wins. I also have to account for this team being very young, along with the coaching staff that is headed by first-time coordinators and a first time head coach, so they are going to miss some opportunities. So, I have to subtract a win or two which puts the Green Bay Packers anywhere from 6-10 to 9-7. So, in other words ALL ABOARD!!!!!!!!!!!


Harry Sydney

Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. E-mail him at mybrotherskeeperinc@hotmail.com.


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