Packers chase perfection, Colts try to avoid it

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There is perfection _ what the Green Bay Packers are chasing.

And then there is perfection _ what the Indianapolis Colts are trying to avoid.

Neither team wants to broach the subject, although both are very aware it’s out there.

“I think we’re a long way from there,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “If we’re fortunate enough to be still undefeated after 14 or 15 games, maybe we can start talking about what you were talking about.”

What the rest of the nation is talking about: 16-0. And, in the Colts‘ case, 0-16.

“”I think all the losses are tough. At this point, we’re just trying find a way to get a win,” Colts safety Antoine Bethea said. ” We’ve got five games left now, so we got to keep rallying and stick together.”

The Packers have been sticking it to just about everyone all season. They lead the NFL in points (382, 34.7 per game), and are near or at the lead in many other offensive categories. Rodgers is having the lights-out sort of season that Tom Brady had in leading the Patriots to their perfect regular season in 2007.

Indeed, there are several similarities between these Packers and those Patriots, including a heavy concentration on passing, a nice mix of veterans and youngsters, and a well-established coaching staff with a strong ability to adapt during games.

But there are many differences, starting with Rodgers‘ corps of receivers, which is deeper than what Brady enjoyed. Sure, Brady had stars in Randy Moss and Wes Welker, but beyond that his targets usually were Donte’ Stallworth, Jabar Gaffney, tight end Benjamin Watson and running back Kevin Faulk. Moss had a record 23 TD receptions and Welker grabbed 112 passes.

While nobody on these Packers figures to produce such numbers, Rodgers throws to as many as 10 receivers in a game, and double-covering any of them tends to create mismatches elsewhere, particularly with TE Jermichael Finley, unlike Watson a deep threat, and the emerging Jordy Nelson.

New England also had a better offensive line than the Packers can put together, and its defense was stingier than Green Bay’s.

Perhaps most notable is how the Patriots blew out teams in the first eight weeks, then were tested severely in the second half of the 2007 schedule, with four victories by four points or less. Thus far, the Packers have only two lopsided wins.

That actually might help Green Bay, toughen it for the postseason grind. Remember that the Patriots did not win the NFL title that season, losing to the Giants in the Super Bowl _ and being held to a season-low 14 points.

To their credit, the Packers aren’t totally ignoring the perfection chatter.

“Yeah, they don’t mind it,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “You guys don’t like my same message, but it kind of works for us. I don’t feel any pressure by it. It’s a great place to be. It’s nice to be undefeated and to be part of those conversations. Anybody would like to be part of those conversations.

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