Packers quickly gaining respect

Green Bay's 35-13 victory over the New York Giants Sunday proves that the Packers are better than most expected this year. How good? How the Packers fare in the next three weeks will tell a lot, says's Dylan Tomlinson.

After two games, the Green Bay Packers are 2-0 and while it's early, anybody who tries to minimize the importance of getting off to a quick start is a damn fool.

Yes, 2-0 can be misleading. The Detroit Lions are undefeated after a pair of wins over the Oakland Raiders and Minnesota Vikings. The Houston Texans are also a most unexpected 2-0. But virtually nobody is expecting either team to still be playing once January rolls around.

I don't think the same can be said about the Packers, who have a pair of victories over two teams that made the playoffs a year ago. The Eagles were among the favorites in the NFC and while the Giants might not be an overwhelming favorite to make the playoffs again this year, going on the road and demolishing a team 35-13 is never a small accomplishment.

In December when the Packers are in playoff contention and they hold tiebreakers over both the Eagles and the Giants, nobody will try to minimize the importance of a pair of September victories.

And as nice as this start has been for the Packers, more than likely they're going to take a bit of a beating over the next three weeks. They host the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings the following week and then host the Chicago Bears a week later. All three games are winnable, but few would be surprised if the Packers lose two of those games. After all, the Chargers have arguably the NFL's best offense and the Bears have arguably the NFL's best defense.

Through two games, the Packers have already proven that they are a lot better than anyone anticipated. While Green Bay needed two turnovers on special teams to edge the Eagles in the opener, they flat-out dominated the Giants on Sunday.

Suddenly the Packers look like a team that can hang with any team in the NFL. Does that mean they'll upset the Chargers on Sunday? Probably not, but after two wins, I guarantee you no team is going to look past the Packers this season.

The most important thing that happened on Sunday was that the Packers were able to find their offense again. After an abysmal performance against the Eagles, Brett Favre was unstoppable with three touchdown passes against the Giants. The Packers' running game isn't going to strike fear in any of their opponents, but there were signs of improvement on Sunday as DeShawn Wynn was an unlikely hero by contributing a pair of touchdowns.

There is no question that the Packers are only going to go as far as their defense can carry them this season. But if Green Bay gets a few more performances like it did Sunday against the Giants, it will take one of the NFL's elite teams to beat them.

The Packers are not yet among the NFL's elite, but after two early victories it's clear that they are a lot closer to being there than anyone would have imagined at the beginning of the season.

If the Packers want to prove they are among the NFL's elite teams, a win over the Chargers on Sunday or a win over the Bears in three weeks will do a lot to get them there. Few think the Packers will be able to hang with either team, but few thought the Packers would open the season 2-0 either.

Dylan Tomlinson

Dylan Tomlinson is a frequent contributor to and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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