The 2022 Packers had a lot of expectations coming of three straight 13 win seasons.
They were expected to contend for their first Super Bowl berth since 2010.
And looking back, they actually have a lot in common with that 2010 championship team.
The 2009 Packers finished the season hot and had some Packers fans thinking 2010 might be the year they start to become serious contenders.
Both teams started the season 3-1 before dropping to 3-3. Both teams lost painfully close games to Washington and beat the Bears twice. Both teams beat the Cowboys with a statement game and both teams had narrow wins over the Patriots.
Both teams need a home win against a division rival on the final game of the season to overcome single digit playoff probability and sneak into the playoffs with the final seed.
And, of course, both teams are hoping the Eagles beat the Giants late in the year to help their playoff chances.
But it’s not just some scheduling quirks that make the teams look similar, the players have a lot in common with 2010 as well.
Both teams, of course, were led by Aaron Rodgers.
In 2010, Rodgers suffered a serious injury and threw double digit interceptions. In 2020, Rodgers suffered a serious injury and looks like highly likely to throw for double digit interceptions for the first time since winning the Super Bowl.
Rodgers also had an ascending deep threat at receiver in 2010 (Jordy Nelson), just like he does this year (Christian Watson). Both teams drafted a receiver on Day 3 of the previous draft with a 5 letter first and last names (Brett Swain, Romeo Doubs)… ok, maybe that one isn’t as meaningful.
But, both teams had season-ending injury from a high-profile linebacker (Nick Barnett, Rashan Gary) and serious injury issues at offensive tackle (Mark Tauscher, David Bakhtiari).
Both teams overcame season-ending injuries to a starting defensive back (Morgan Burnett, Eric Stokes) and had the best cornerback in the league taking criticism for a perceived fall-off in play (Charles Woodson, Jaire Alexander). Both teams depended on a new free agent defensive lineman that didn’t get a lot of attention (Howard Green, Jarran Reed) and both teams struggled with middling tight end play (Andrew Quarless, Robert Tonyan).
And both teams depended on rookie first round picks to start immediately (Bryan Bulaga, Quay Walker) and needed a new linebacker to step in midseason due to injuries (Erik Walden, Kingsley Enagbare).
The teams were built similarly. There’s some coaching similarities, too.
Both teams were led by first time head coaches who lost the NFCCG in a cold game at home following a 13 win season with an aging Hall of Fame quarterback, learning lessons that would serve them well in more challenging years. Both of those coaches ran with old retread defensive coordinators and, of course, both had definitively bad special teams units.
The key was getting hot at the end.
The 2010 team did it. They beat a couple teams in the playoffs that they had already beaten (including a division rival and an NFC East foe), then flipped the tables on a non-division foe they had lost to on the road by one score.
The Packers could be in a similar situation. They would need to beat the Vikings in the regular season to get in and they could face them again in the playoffs, along with a team like the Cowboys (from the NFC East, who they’ve also already beaten), plus the Eagles, who they lost to on the road by one score.
So what does all these mean?
At first glance, it means very little. Maybe it just looks like a bunch of coincidences.
But dig deeper and look around the league at all the crazy endings to games.
Seeing how many similarities the 2022 Packers have with the 2010 Packers reminds us that anything can happen, regardless of the circumstances.
This is not a hopeless season and the Packers are in the thick of things every bit as much as they were the last time they won. Don’t let the fact that they won a lot more games in previous years make you think that this team has any less of a chance to win it all.
This has been a season of crazy things happening and the Packers getting hot in December would not be crazy at all.
I’m going to be enjoying the heck out of the last part of this season.
No matter how it goes down, it’ll be entertaining, because the Packers are still in this.
Enjoy the ride.
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