The Green Bay Packers enter the 2011 NFL season with a target on their backs. As the defending Super Bowl champions, it is safe to assume the green and gold will be taking everyone’s best shots all season.
Repeating as NFL champions is no easy task. In the Super Bowl era, only eight teams have successfully defended their title.The Packers will look to become the ninth when they open their season at Lambeau Field Thursday, September 8 against the New Orleans Saints and their high-powered offense. After their clash with the Saints, the Packers will have to get used to life road- traveling for five of their next seven games. Unfortunately for the Packers, their second half schedule doesn’t get much easier. The Packers’ final eight games feature matchups with ascending teams like the Buccaneers, Lions and Chiefs. The team will also have to prepare for clashes with established foes such as the Giants and Bears. The Packers’ schedule is illustrated below.
Packer fans needn’t worry too much about the schedule, however, as last year’s team, which remains almost entirely intact, proved it can stack up against any team, on any field. Returning a key player from injury has, in fact, essentially added an additional piece to the Packers’ championship team. Jermichael Finley worked tirelessly in the off-season to rehab his injured knee and reported to training camp ready to fulfill the All-Pro potential he displayed last year before getting injured in week five. Finley will re-join Pro-Bowl wide receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings; rising stars James Jones and Jordy Nelson; and the talented rookie, Randall Cobb, to form a group that is sure to give secondaries around the league nightmares.
Led by Clay Matthews, the Packers’ defense will look to sustain its ways of pressuring quarterbacks and forcing turnovers- a strategy which should lead to continued success for the long-haired linebacker. With a defensive line anchored by BJ Raji, and a secondary filled with proven veterans and hungry young talent, the Packers’ D shouldn’t miss a beat.
The Packers are fully aware they will receive each team’s best shot. Fans can rest assured that team leaders Driver and Matthews will not sit back against the ropes taking blow after blow. The Packers will look to strike early and often, and are well-situated to make another run deep into the playoffs.
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