Reasonable people can disagree about the identity of the second-best team in the NFL. Maybe it’s the 49ers or the Patriots or the Steelers or the Texans or the Saints or the Giants, or maybe any one of half a dozen other teams that look great one week and bad the next in the topsy-turvy NFL.
But no one can dispute that the Packers stand far above the rest of the league.
The defending Super Bowl champions did it again on Monday night, pummeling the Minnesota Vikings 45-7 to improve to 9-0. The Packers, who squeaked into the playoffs in 2010 before going on a run in the postseason and winning the title, are a better team this year than they were last year, and right now they look like overwhelming favorites to repeat as champions.
Although there had been some concerns in recent weeks that the Packers’ defense wasn’t up to par, that certainly wasn’t the case on Monday night. Green Bay pitched a shutout in the first half, and when Minnesota finally got on the board in the third quarter, it was only because the Vikings recovered a muffed punt at the 14-yard line. The Vikings’ offense couldn’t do anything on Monday night. The Packers’ defense dominated.
And as for the Packers’ offense? Aaron Rodgers may be playing quarterback better than anyone has ever played the position. Against Minnesota, Rodgers completed 23 of 30 passes for 250 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions, before being pulled from the game in the fourth quarter to give backup Matt Flynn some playing time. Rodgers has had a passer rating better than 110 every single game this year, and he remains on pace to set a new NFL record for the highest passer rating in a season. He’s looking like a runaway winner of the MVP award.
Could the Packers go 16-0? Could they join the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only undefeated, untied league champions in NFL history? The odds are still against that: The NFL is so unpredictable that even a seemingly inevitably has a rough week.
But it’s hard to figure which team would beat the Packers. There’s no one even close to as good as Green Bay.