Three years have passed since the Packers last played in the NFC Championship Game. That fall, the Cubs won the World Series.
Seems like longer, doesn't it?
The Packers and Cubs – whose fans are dedicated loyal to the point of being delusional – haven't met expectations in the years since. The Brewers exceeded expectations in each of the last two seasons, missing the playoffs by a game in 2017 and falling one game short of their second pennant/World Series trip last October.
The journey has been thrilling. The expectation among many fans is that progress will continue in an upward direction. But, sports doesn't always work that way. It's not always linear. Promising young players who enjoy "breakout" seasons often fade into oblivion afterward. (In the press box at Miller Park, this is known as the "Bill Hall Syndrome.") Teams that narrowly miss a major goal often find that the window has closed. Sometimes the house has burned to the ground.
The Brewers enter this season with the talent, experience and hunger necessary to accomplish great things. But, they will need the secret ingredients that all winning teams utilize – good health, good timing and a fair amount of good luck. Their division has been fortified, with St. Louis and Cincinnati adding key pieces and the Cubs welcoming back some contributors who were injured/unproductive. There is a chance that the teams will beat up on each other to the point where the division winner has between 89-92 wins.
The Brewers have the pieces to get back to the postseason, with either a division title or a wild-card berth, but you can't bluff your way to success over 162 games.
I expect the Brewers to be good this season. I expect them to compete for a post-season berth. Will they win one? Ask me in September and I'll have a better idea.
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