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It’s an extraordinarily difficult task to repeat as Super Bowl Champions, but the Green Bay Packers might be the team best equipped to do it in recent memory.
Of course, we don’t even know if there will be a 2011 season, but if there is the Packers could be even stronger than they were this season thanks to the returns of several key players from injuries.
It’s remarkable that the Packers were able to win Super Bowl XLV despite suffering several in-game injuries and already being without their starting running back, star tight end, a stud linebacker, and their veteran right tackle for most of the season.
On offence, the Packers will get back Ryan Grant, who had surpassed 1,200 yards in two straight seasons, and tight end Jermichael Finley, who has emerged as one of the NFL’s best players at his position. Grant’s return will make the Packers ground game an actual threat after it was ignored for most of 2010, and the duo should make an already explosive Packers offence virtually unstoppable next season.
Defensively the Packers already displayed tremendous depth along their Super Bowl run and the return of Nick Barnett, a tackle machine, will only make them better.
They aren’t at risk of losing too many key contributors either. Whenever free agency starts, the key Packers that could choose to leave Green Bay are Cullen Jenkins and James Jones. Jenkins must be re-signed, but Jones’s loss wouldn’t hurt the Packers much considering all the other weapons they have. Charlie Peprah, Atari Bigby, and Brandon Jackson are also free agents, and though the Packers might want to keep at least one of the first two, their losses would hardly derail Mike McCarthy’s crew. The Packers will also have to decide what to do with A.J. Hawk, but they’ll have the opportunity to keep him if they choose.
We all know that anything can happen in the NFL and that Super Bowl winners have performed awfully in the season following their victory recently, but the Packers could buck the trend. Green Bay is a good bet to return to the playoffs next year, and at least right now, it’s easy to imagine them hoisting the Lombardi Trophy again in 12 months(?).
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