At this point in the Mike McCarthy Era, the Packers showed that they simply do not have the manpower to even compete with the better teams in the NFL. We saw it in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears, and again on Sunday in a 35-0 loss to the Patriots. Both games were at Lambeau Field, and for a first in team history, the Packers were shut out twice. And it wasn't even close in either game.
The Packers sure had me fooled. I went ahead and predicted them to beat the Patriots in PackerReport.com's weekly pundit poll after they upended the Minnesota Vikings a week earlier. I believed, as did many Packer Backers, that the team was primed to give the so-called struggling Patriots a good game, and maybe even an upset. I believed that an upset was in order based on the fact that the Packers were playing their best football of the season, but I overlooked the fact that the teams they beat are not that good. On Sunday, the Packers ran into a good team, and even though the Patriots had lost two in a row at home, the setbacks were to good teams in the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts.
The Packers barely put up a fight against the Patriots, and that's what is disappointing. McCarthy didn't hide his feelings either at his post-game press conference. He was noticeably agitated at his team and himself, and maybe the fact that the Packers are what they are. They are a young team that will be inconsistent and will compete with other young teams, but not against teams destined for the playoffs. Until the Packers' current personnel develops, or the Packers obtain better personnel, like at safety, it will be hard to imagine the Packers beating a team like the Patriots.
As I was interviewing center Scott Wells and defensive end Aaron Kampman after the game, the question of whether or not the Patriots simply had better personnel came up. Both referred to the Packers' lack of execution as the main reason for the team's problems, though, I got the feeling they wanted to say personnel. Lack of execution is usually the company line in any loss, but in this one it came down to personnel. The Packers were definitely overmatched, just like they were against the Bears. The scoreboard says it all in both cases.
We now know if the Packers measure up to the better teams in the NFL, and the answer was obvious on Sunday. Green Bay will have to wait until 2007 to have any chance of contending for a post-season berth. Until then, it will be up to McCarthy and his team to improve and reach that higher level. In the meantime, don't be fooled, like me, into believing that the Packers are there right now. They have a long way to go.
Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at email@example.com.