The potent-on-paper Eagles who can't get out of their own way at 1-3 ... Tony Romo not closing out a game, just when you think he's closed the door on the old criticisms ... Matt Forte playing lights out in search of an extension ... the Steelers looking old, tired and hurt ... and Peyton Manning watching his 2011 slip away.
It's all white noise.
THE story in the NFL is the one you're not hearing enough. Green Bay's quest to repeat looks healthier, and likelier, every day. That's the logline of the 2011 season, plain and simple.
Pack to Back. Sounds pretty cheesy, huh? Well, that was the intent. That's where we're headed, folks. Forget that the Packers are 4-0. Forget that Aaron Rodgers is chucking nerf footballs to wideouts frolicking around without a care in the world.
This is the best team in football. Who's going to stop them?
Even clubs that thought they had a decent pass defense -- like the Saints or Bears, or the Falcons and Steelers in last year's playoffs -- found out otherwise after watching grown men in green-and-yellow tights run around their secondary like kids at a public swimming pool. The Pack's passing attack makes every team look silly right now.
But back to the first point: What happens if Dom Capers gets the defense on track, a unit that only allowed 15 points per game in 2010? What happens if Matthews really gets going? He's already been disruptive, as his five quarterback knockdowns and seven-and-a-half "hurries" can attest. Wait until he gets productive.
That's when this whole deal gets more interesting, as teams like the Saints, who played well coming from behind at Lambeau, will find it more difficult when their quarterback is running for his life.
Now this is not to say the Packers don't have some leaks. Like the Patriots, their secondary has been torched at times, especially with the loss of safety Nick Collins. But take a wild guess which team leads the NFL in interceptions? Yep, the club that has Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams manning the corners.
Some felt the running-back-by-committee situation would be a problem, with neither Ryan Grant nor James Starks wowing anyone. But the ground game has been quietly effective when needed, averaging 4.2 yards per carry and a very healthy 109.5 yards per game, despite being an afterthought in Mike McCarthy's spread-'em-and-exploit-'em offense.
I thought the schedule and league-wide parity would spread dominant play so thin that no team would win 14, or even 13, games this season. While the playoff picture and the who's for real debate are very much murky topics just a quarter of the way into the season, one emerging fact is not. The Packers are damn good, and it's beginning to look more likely than not that they'll repeat.
Pack to Back. We might have our first repeat champion in seven seasons.