Second-half prediction

Packers will continue winning ways and win NFC North crown, advance to Championship Game

Here the Green Bay Packers sit, atop the NFC North Division with a record that even the most optimistic of Cheeseheads would have hesitated at predicting prior to this season. In the first eight games, the Packers have proved to the football world that they are for real, winning games in venues that are traditionally difficult to win, and winning all but one game at home.

The Packers have had their share of lucky bounces and breaks. But, as they say, good teams or players create luck and breaks with preparation and hard work. Despite their youth, Coach Mike McCarthy has the Packers believing in themselves, the coaches, and the system that has been implemented. The Packers have gained confidence with each victory this season, and that has snowballed to their 7-1 record.

So what's ahead for the Packers? There is no reason to think that the Packers cannot finish the second half of the season with a 6-2 record, which would give them a 13-3 overall mark, a division title and a bye in the first round of the playoffs.

As I peer into my crystal ball, I see Green Bay winning the next two Sundays against Minnesota and Carolina, respectively. After that, the Packers probably will hit some turbulence against the Lions in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, and the following Thursday in Dallas against the Cowboys. It would be impressive if the Packers split at Detriot and Dallas, but more likely, they probably will fall to 9-3 and be neck-and-neck with the Lions for the division crown.

From there, look for the Packers to get back on the winning track with victories at home against the Oakland Raiders, and wins at St. Louis and Chicago. That probably will set up a showdown for the division crown against the Lions at Lambeau Field on Dec. 30.

If the Packers can avoid any major injuries to key players until that point of the season, look for the Packers to beat the Lions and enter the playoffs with some major momentum.

I realize that's a very optimistic outlook for the Packers, but they've done nothing from my point of view thus far to feel any differently.

Playoffs? Book your tickets to the NFC Championship Game, but that's probably where the fun will end for the Packers this season. Still, it would be a great step forward in the Mike McCarthy Era.

Todd Korth is managing editor of and Packer Report magazine. E-mail him at

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