Packers players want to gun for 16-0
No one can say yet exactly how the Green Bay Packers are going to handle the stretch run.
With a victory Sunday at Kansas City, the Packers can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and homefield advantage. If that happens, the Packers will be 14-0 with a big decision on their hands as far as how to handle the final two games.
Weeks 16 and 17 will be meaningless to the Packers’ 2011 season in terms of the results if they’ve sewn up the No. 1 seed. But there is always 16-0 to play for and the shot to become the first 19-0 team in NFL history.
Of course, Packers coach Mike McCarthy hasn’t given any hint as to what his plans are at this point.
“I don't think he's going to change anything,” wide receiver Donald Driver said, according to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “He knows exactly what everyone wants to do. He's trying to say, ‘OK, I shouldn't do this and I shouldn't do that,' but he knows exactly that guys want to play.
“(He'll say), ‘If guys want to play I'm going to let them play.’ I don't think he's going to change. He's not going to do it.
“This is another opportunity for us. We're 13-0. To be 14-0, 15-0, 16-0, that's something special. That's what we want to be a part of.”
McCarthy has been a model of consistency during his reign as head coach. Silverstein speculates that the coach is not about to change, not with the playoffs looming.
“I'll just say that I think, as players, we would probably like to finish this thing out if we get a chance,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “And (have) a chance to maybe keep the Bears and the Lions out of the playoffs like the Bears tried to do to us last year.”
The first step, though, is Sunday when the Packers have a chance to become the first defending Super Bowl champion to begin the next season 14-0. Green Bay can’t worry about how to handle playing time in the final two games until it takes care of business this week.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune