The Green Bay Packers are getting in the habit of apologizing for the way they are winning games. Fellas’ – no apology necessary. This is the National Football League, there are no real cupcakes in this league. A win is a win, no style points awarded.
A win over the Vikings is even more special. The Packers have now won 10 straight NFC North games, which is simply amazing considering the rivalries in this division. The Packers have been playing the Lions and Bears since day one, and the Vikings since 1961, and the beauty of it all is – these teams do not like each other.
I speak from experience when I say this, winning this kind of game hurts the losing team even more than blowing them out. The Vikings know that they probably should have won the game. They had a turnover on the Packers’ 16-yard line wiped out due to penalty and threw two interceptions in the red zone. Not too mention their running back gained 210 yards on just 21 carries. Ouch!
The Packers put the debacle in New York behind them and they keep plugging along, even with having to deal with a string of injuries to key players. They have beaten the teams they are supposed to beat but have lost four games to teams that would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Three of those games were early in the season when the Packers, by their head coache’s admission, weren’t ready to play.
The Packers have only beaten one team that currently has a winning record, and that was the Texans. They will have one more chance to do that this year when the face the Bears in two weeks. If the Packers win that one I would say they are ready for the playoffs. Lose and the questions will remain.
Of course all of that is moot if the Packers lay another egg on National TV Sunday night. The Lions are even more desperate than they were when the Packers beat them in Detroit two weeks ago. Weather could be a factor in this one with an early forecast of snow and temperatures in the 20′s.
I feel good about having Greg Jennings back and looking good. We could see a big game from him next Sunday with Jordy Nelson out again with a hamstring injury. The Packers big question mark is still running back. When James Starks runs like he did Sunday the Packers have the tools to beat the cover-2 and slow the pass rush. He needs to be more consistent down the stretch for the Packers to make a serious run.
I need another win before I can raise confidence. It will remain medium for another week.