When things are going well, there's a tendency to look back and shrug off how bad they really were before. It's the nostalgia goggles. You get a few decent paychecks, get a little comfortable and then look back with almost a hint of fondness as you remember a night sitting around with an empty fridge, overdue rent and a temptation to dial while watching Matthew Lesko infomercials, as if it was all a useful precursor to the current success.
Sports fans do this all the time. You win a title, remember when the team went 2-14 and recall "You know, I really did see the seeds of success." Sure it stunk, but you had a hunch things would come together. You were optimistic amid the misery.
Green Bay Packers fans know the feeling. And they don't have look back too far.
A year ago, the Packers finished Week 15 with a 31-27 loss in New England, which dropped their record to 8-6. How bad was it?
• That third loss in four games dropped Green Bay's playoff likelihood to 46.4 percent. For perspective, both the St. Louis Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars were better playoff bets. Jay Kornegay of the Vegas Hilton tells me the Super Bowl odds for Green Bay had dropped to worse than 30-1. (Perspective: Denver is currently at 20-1.)
• Aaron Rodgers had just sustained his second concussion of 2010, and there was belief in some quarters that the Packers were putting him at risk if he played in Week 16.
• The team had 14 players on IR, including its top running back and tight end along with numerous other starters on both sides of the ball.
• The Packers couldn't finish! Five of the six losses involved blown second-half leads.
A full 361 days later, Green Bay hasn't lost a game since.
Could we see it again? Not likely, but that's partly because the Packers are in the way. Still, I decided to look at current teams that fit the 2010 Packers profile and rank who looks the closest based on projections (via AccuScore), overall statistical profile (via Football Outsiders) and the eyeball test. Again, this isn't about teams that appear to look exactly like the Packers, but compare similarly based on where the Packers found themselves exactly a year ago this week. Keep it in mind.
Here are the results: