The Packers won a nail-biter Sunday afternoon in Lambeau Field over the Bears, qualifying them for the 2010 Playoffs. They grabbed the No. 6 seed and will take on the Eagles next Sunday.
But it’s never too early to look forward to next season.
With the completion of the 2010 NFL regular season also came completed schedules for the 2011 season. Here is a breakdown of how schedules are compiled each season as a refresher:
Home and away against its three division opponents (6 games).
· The four teams from another division within the conference on a rotating three-year cycle (4 games).
· The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle (4 games).
· Two intra-conference games based on the prior year’s standings (2 games). These games match a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place, and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched in the same way each year.
Based on the rotating cycle and second-place finish, The Packers will face the NFC South and AFC West, the New York Giants (second in the NFC East), and the St. Louis Rams (second in the NFC West), along with their NFC North opponents.
With so many talented players in each league, it is a foregone conclusion that stars will be left off the Pro Bowl roster every year. After all, only three or four players from 16 teams can be selected for each position, meaning more than a handful of players inevitably will be “snubbed.”
Most times arguments can be made for and against players making or making the team, and the discussion in Green Bay is no different.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers posted a fantastic season in 2010 and have the Packers one home win against the Chicago Bears away from sealing up the No. 6 seed in the NFC. However, his season was only good enough in the eyes of the voters to warrant a first alternate selection for the Pro Bowl, meaning his name will only be called if someone at his position drops out or is playing in the Super Bowl.
In Rodgers’ case, his slow start and absence in two games down the stretch probably hurt him the most. Touted by many as ready to take the jump from great to elite, Rodgers’ numbers through eight weeks looked more like the former. With the team sitting at 5-3, Rodgers had passed for 12 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and an average of 251 yards per game.
No one thought the Packers standed any chance of knocking off the Patriots with Matt Flynn at the helm, but they hung around late into the fourth quarter before failing on a last-minute drive. The loss dropped the Packers to 8-6 and were officially knocked out of the NFC North race about 24 hours later when the Bears knocked off the Vikings to move to 10-4. About four hours before the Packers kicked off, they received some great news when they heard of the Lions knocking off the Buccaneers on the road and the Eagles coming back to beat the Giants.