Maybe after Green Bay's exciting victory over the Denver Broncos Monday night, some of those critics will be changing their tune. They should be because the Packers are getting more confident with each play, whether it be on offense, defense or special teams, and each game. They are officially worthy of winning the division and advancing past the first round of the playoffs, and here's why:
The Packers are believing in themselves, beginning with Brett Favre, who admittingly didn't know what to expect of this team at the beginning of the season. Even after he heaved an 82-yard bomb to wide receiver Greg Jennings that he said still doesn't know what to expect of the young Packers, but "it's been a heck of a ride so far."
This is all good as is the team chemistry and character. Mike McCarthy has the Packers believing they can conquer the world, and they continued their mission in front of a national television audience on Monday night. As long as Favre and the Packers feel they have to continue to prove themselves to the rest of the football world, they will continue to win more games. Can a football team have a better mentality? The Packers are clearly finding ways to win, not to lose, and that's evident in their 6-1 record.
As early as last year, and for sure in 2005, the Packers probably would have allowed the Broncos to score a touchdown in the final seconds of regulation for the victory. But that didn't happen Monday night. Green Bay stopped the Broncos short of the goal line on a few occasions, including in the final seconds of the game. Progress sometimes can be measured one play or one game at a time, and Packers have made remarkable strides under McCarthy since December of 2006. Even without much of a running game!
In the thin air of Invesco Field at Mile High, these young Packers reminded the doubters that they are for real, and probably aren't going to go away anytime soon. The Packers are not just Favre, and a bunch of kids. They have a productive blend of veteran play-makers along with up-and-comers such as Jennings, James Jones, Ryan Grant, A.J. Hawk and Atari Bigby. Yes, even Bigby, who committed four penalties but still has a ton more ability to make plays than any other strong safety that has taken the field for Green Bay since LeRoy Butler.
Favre obviously keys Green Bay's success, like any quarterback for any team. When he can play as well as he did against the Broncos (21 of 27 for 331 yards and two game-turning touchdowns with no interceptions) Green Bay's chances of winning skyrocket.
While it's true that the Packers are doing just enough to win, the bottom line is that they are winning, and that's all that really matters in the NFL.
These Packers are for real, and if you don't think so, continue to watch them as the season progresses as they accomplish more than any of the so-called experts, including this one, ever thought they would this season.
Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at email@example.com.