Mike McCarthy's Green Bay Packers have made a regular habit of making the playoffs in recent years, banged up or not. Even though star quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed seven weeks last year, the team held it together and made it into the postseason. In fact, despite significant injuries, they're made the playoffs for five straight seasons. The Packers won their 13th NFL Championship with Aaron Rodgers under center at Super Bowl XLV in 2011.
Aaron Rodgers wasn't the only star Green Bay had to play much of the season without, either. The team showed great resilience despite the losses of Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley, and Clay Mathews.
Now, they're looking healthy and they're bound to be hungry for championship number 14 in Green Bay. While there's never a guarantee of making it to the Super Bowl, it's hard to see how anyone will beat them out in the NFC North if the Packers stay healthy. Their closest competition is likely to be the Detroit Lions, who have plenty of star power in Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Co., but who haven't been able to keep team cohesion for an entire season since sometime in the late 50s.
Last year's rookie of the year running back Eddie Lacy is in top form and comes back with all the tools and another year's experience. Look for him to make life rough on opposing defenses. As long as he's providing a serious ground assault threat, defenses are going to have to give Aaron Rodgers room to do what Aaron Rodgers does best -- put up obscene numbers in the air.
The Green Bay defense has a few more question marks as aging stars make way for younger talent. The secondary wasn't exactly a highlight of the team's playoff run last season and the Packers haven't done much to address the situation. The addition of rookie safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix should help some, but as with all rookies, he still needs to prove he can be as great at the pro level as he was in college.
Even with the questions on D, Green Bay fans can look forward to another strong year. The competition isn't all that strong in the NFC North and the Packers won't really see a major test until they hit the playoffs. All told, if the Green Bay Packers can stay healthy, they're looking good to make it four straight NFC North division titles.
What do you think? Will Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers take the NFC North again this year?