It's two days after Thanksgiving and I have awoken from my post-holiday slumber. I have to admit that of all the games this year this past one against the Lions was the one I was looking forward to the least. As the season went on I started to look forward to it less and less. There something about that game and all the elements combining together into a perfect storm of annoyance for this Packer fan.
It all started innocently enough, a loss to Detroit in Detroit last year. Making things worse was the fact that Aaron Rodgers was knocked out of the game. After this event many Lion fans started to thump their chest like their team was the one destined to rise up and stomp the mighty Packers. After all, the last time the two teams met the Lions won, and they played them close the first game too. It got worse when the Packers won the Super Bowl and Lion fans treasured the win more. The draft intensified it all. Nick Fairly is going to work with Ndamukong Suh and Corey Williams to form this mythical line that was going to pound Rodgers all day. Good grief.
The season started and this annoyance grew into a headache. The Lions rattled off five wins and suddenly their fans were thinking Super Bowl. They were a team that was engineered to beat the might Packers. As this confidence and new outspokenness grew I must confess my patience wore thin brother and sister Packer fans. The final straw came when I was at Ask a Fan and posed the question of why Lions fans thought they were built to stop the Packers and was greeted with an insult to my handle and the judgment that I underestimated the Lions.
My patience broke and I got mad. I was insulted that this fan base thought they could come out of the basement so quickly and then think they can hang with the big boys of the division....especially after the pasting they took from the other big boy team of the division, you know that one down in Chicago that is actually the defending division champion? I thought about writing a scathing response but instead decided to have some quick back and forths with a more polite response and then go into a small exile from the blogs until after the game was done. I knew their team well enough and they knew ours and the trash talking would be answered by the game on Thanksgiving.
And it was.
Now I once again find myself with nothing to write about our beloved Green and Gold again. Is Rodgers still good? Yup. Are the receivers still the best in the league? Yup, but a few too many dropped passes. Is the defense still generally good enough? Yup. Sure there are some injuries and such, but all that can wait for next week when more information comes out and we figure out who the Packers have on the field against the Giants and who is going to be out.
So what is a Packer fan to watch for this weekend? What is a Packer fan to cheer for? Unfortunately I think the Sunday slate of games looks like a plate of cold leftovers, but there are a few gems put into the mix. Here's a couple I plan to keep an eye on and who most Packer fans are probably cheering for.
Minnesota @ Atlanta
Why it's important: The Packers have a chance to clinch a playoff spot this weekend. To do this the Falcons must lose. If the Vikes can pull off a miracle then the Packers can punch their playoff card that much sooner.
Who should be cheered for: Unfortunately the Vikings. I hate our division rivals. I really do, especially in weeks like these, you know why? Because they get me to cheer for them against my nature and they let me down. It never fails, they always let me down. I could say that I get to appreciate what it's like to be a Viking fan, but really I don't want that...I just want them to win a freakin game when we need them to. But AP is out and their offense is basically terrible without him so this should be basically a win for Atlanta. But I'll watch and cheer for the Vikings like the sucker I am.
Chicago @ Oakland
Why it's important: It's always fun to watch the Bears lose.
Who should be cheered for: The Oakland Raiders. Do you know why I hate our division rivals? Because when I watch their games and cheer for them to lose they win. It never fails, they always let me down. Really I think these teams know when they just want to give the big middle finger to all the fans of their rivals out there. But I'll watch and cheer for the Raiders like the sucker I am.
New England @ Philadelphia
Why it's important: It is an interest game in a wasteland of should be blowouts and toilet bowl matches.
Who should be cheered for: Take your pick...or basically no one. As I look over this slate of games I am left with the thought of "Why the hell should I care?" It could just about any of the games really like Cleveland @ Cinci; Washington @ Seattle; or Buffalo @ NYJ. I'm sure they have some importance for the AFC playoffs or are division games for divisions I don't care one lick about. Worst of all they just seem boring. Patriots @ Eagles doesn't seem boring. I may just want to wish pain upon Vince Young and Tom Brady, but at least the game itself should be interesting regardless of the outcome.
New York Giants @ New Orleans
Why it's important: If the Giants lose along with the Falcons losing the Packers have clinched a playoff spot. Also, by the grace of God almighty there is a Monday Night Football match up that doesn't suck on its face. It's a big deal this year.
Who should be cheered for: The Saints. This should be a good game to watch as well and could be actually important if the Vikings pull off a miracle (remember I'm a sucker). Also it's nice to take a moment and watch the team we are playing next week, get a feel for how the game next week should go. Thankfully it seems like the Giants are in their second half swoon after looking like the one legit team out of the East this year. How they match up against one of the best in the NFC and the league.
The moral of the story dear Packer fans is that there may not be much reason to fight off the post victory hang over and tryptophan poisoning that you are suffering from after a long weekend of celebration and turkey. If you are able to do so and watch the Vikings try and help us out, awesome. If not feel free to sleep till Monday, you probably won't miss much.