No offense, but this isn't a playoff team

With the NFL's growing emphasis on scoring, a lack of firepower on offense figures to keep the Packers out of the postseason,'s Steve Lawrence says.

Todd Korth, the editor of the Packer Report and my boss here for more than a decade, recently predicted the Packers would return to the playoffs this season (see "Scout NFL Roundtable: NFC Playoffs" from June 19).

I like Todd. Which makes this all the more difficult to say: Todd, you're nuts.

The adage that defense wins championships, while not necessarily false, just doesn't hold as much water any more. The NFL, in its quest to be the king of professional sports in the United States, has put a bigger and bigger emphasis on offense. Sex sells, and so do 30-27 shootouts.

Last season, the top seven offenses in the NFL in terms of points belonged to playoff teams. The league's second- and third-highest scoring teams, Indianapolis and Chicago, met in the Super Bowl. Of the NFL's eight division champions, San Diego led the NFL in scoring, Indy was second, Chicago was third, New Orleans was fifth, Philadelphia was sixth, New England was seventh, Baltimore was 12th and Seattle was 14th.

If you're going to win in today's NFL, you have to score points. Last year's Packers finished 23rd in the league by scoring 18.8 points per game. That kind of production isn't going to get it done, unless Nick Barnett is the next Ray Lewis and Justin Harrell elevates the Packers' defensive line into an elite unit.

Certainly, a more-experienced offensive line will help and a healthy Greg Jennings will take some pressure off Donald Driver, but it's hard to see where this year's Packers will be any more prolific.

Ted Thompson has this team on the right track. He's slowly building what should be a long-term winner.

But those winning days — or, more accurately, playoff seasons — aren't going to start this year.

Brett Favre, who's been showing his age the past couple of seasons, hasn't gotten any younger.

It's hard to imagine any team in the league having bigger questions surrounding its running game. Vernand Morency and Brandon Jackson have talent, but they are anything but sure things.

Is Brandon Miree 's blocking at fullback going to make people forget about William Henderson?

Is there one legit tight end on the roster? Even if you combined all of their strengths into one player?

There's talent at wide receiver, but does anyone other than Driver cause opposing defensive coordinators to lose even a minute of sleep?

Those are a lot of questions surrounding the offense.

Maybe most of them will be answered in the Packers' favor to help this team turn enough field goals into touchdowns. Maybe the special teams will emerge to give the Packers an artificially productive offense, a la last season's Bears.

But that's a lot of wishing and hoping.

Long term — assuming Aaron Rodgers is a competent quarterback — the Packers' offense will be fine. But looking only at the coming season, how on earth is this team going to score enough points to win the nine or 10 games necessary to get into the playoffs? Especially considering the challenging schedule that looms.

No, this Packers team isn't playoff-caliber. Not when the questions outnumber the answers on offense.

Lawrence is a regular contributor to Send comments to

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