Sunday, December 19, 1999

The Table is Set

Packer fans had the Sunday off. The division leading Buccaneers were in town to play the Raiders. What better way to spend the afternoon than to go to the game and root against the Buccaneers. (Besides, since this is the 27th straight blacked out home Raider game, I could not very well stay home and watch it.

Well, as we all know, the Raiders completely destroyed the Buccaneers, 45-0. We did not stay until the bitter end, but I imagine that the Buccaneers must have had to crawl off the field at the end of the game. Now the Raiders are OK, but they are not that good, which suggests that the Buccaneers are not as great as some might think. The game films will show how you beat the Buccaneers. You play aggressive defense and put pressure on the rookie QB, Shaun King. Oh, if only the Packers had a defense! If only they could rush the QB!

Meanwhile, what a weekend to set the table for the Packers and Vikings on Monday night. True, the Panthers won on Saturday, but they are still only at 7-7, so not yet really a factor to the winner of the Monday night game. In the NFC East, The Redskins lost, and dropped to 8-6. The Giants lost, to drop to 7-7, and the Cowboys lost, to drop to 7-7 as well. The 6-7 Cardinals have not yet played as of this writing, but again, they are not yet a factor.

In the NFC Central, the Buccaneers were crushed and dropped to 9-5. The Lions lost to the Bears, and the Lions are now 8-6. And the 7-6 Packers play the 7-6 Vikings tomorrow night.

So the table is set. All the Packers have to do tomorrow night is to beat the Vikings in Minnesota, to move into a tie for 2d place in the division. And all they have to do next week is to win at Tampa to move into a first place tie. If there was ever a time for this team to step up, this is it.

Unfortunately, the Packers have been wildly inconsistent all year, so there is no really good reason to think that the Packers will win both of these games. But it could happen. The Buccaneers, given their offense, are pretenders as was shown today. And the slumping Vikings are not exactly world beaters, either. But you could not have asked for a better set of results in the Sunday games, to make the Monday night game even more critical than it already was.