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Packers set for an encore championship
One writer thinks the Pack has what it takes to repeat last season's magic
Published 9/13/2011
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The three readers that consistently follow my columns might be getting sick of me talking about the Green Bay Packers. If that’s the case, you may want to grab a doggy bag for this one. 

Yes, I may be biased, but that doesn’t mean I’m wrong. The Packers have as good a chance to repeat as Super Bowl Champs as any team in recent history. 

No one has done it since the Patriots in 2004-05. Only a fool would guarantee a repeat. That’s not what I’m doing.

I’m saying if you ask me to make a prediction for this year's Super Bowl winner I go with my beloved Pack for more reasons than my love for them, because a team's harshest critics are often times their fans.    

Reason No. 1 — The running game will be more functional.

This was the Packers' biggest weakness last season, which they overcame because Head Coach Mike McCarthy is one of the, if not the, best offensive minds in the NFL. The Packers make up for their lack of ground game by using quick short-timed passes, draw plays, screens and Aaron Rodgers'ability to scramble.

Make no mistake, the Packers probably still won’t be in the top half of the league in rushing yards, but the return of the injured Ryan Grant and the playoff emergence of James Starks gives them a functional two-back committee.

Take into account that Pro-Bowl snub G Josh Sitton and 2010 first-round pick Bryan Bulaga have another year of experience under their belts and teams might actually have to worry about them running the ball this year. 

If that happens, it only makes Rodgers even more difficult to stop. 

Reason No. 2 — Jermichael Finley emerges as the next Antonio Gates.

I truly believe the only way this doesn’t happen is if he gets injured again. Before a season-ending injury early in week five last season, Finley racked up 21 catches, 301 yards and a TD. He was on pace for 1,204 yards, which would have ranked him seventh among all receivers last season and first among tight ends. 

The guy is 6-foot-5, 247 pounds, runs a 4.6 forty, has incredible hands and is only 24 years old.

Again, if Finley is healthy along with the receiving core that won a Super Bowl last season, if makes Rodgers even more difficult to stop. 

Reason No. 3 — 2011 second round pick WR Randall Cobb finally gives them a legitimate special teams threat.  

The Packers' second biggest weakness last season was their special teams. Anyone who watched that large lineman from the Patriots return a squib kick to the five yard line on Monday Night Football last season knows what I’m talking about.

But it’s not even a debate that the Packers are the best organization in the NFL when draft day comes. Charles Woodson is their only notable starter that wasn’t drafted by the Packers themselves. With that in mind, Cobb was one of the best values in the second round of the draft. The Packers needed a Josh Cribbs-type utility player and they got a very promising one.    

But mostly I believe the Pack have a real shot at a repeat because they are — top to bottom — the most professionally run organization in football.    

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