Monday, November 24, 2008

The Pressure is On

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Tonight's game at New Orleans will go a long way toward showing if the Packers are going to make a run at the playoffs this year. After an abysmally bad showing against Minnesota, where they were lucky to even have a shot at winning the game, the Packers proceeded to crush their other historical nemesis, the Bears, the following week.

This marked the first time in Lovie Smith's tenure as head coach of the Bears that the Packers had beaten the monsters of the midway in Green Bay. As a result, the Packers were put back in charge of their own destiny. If the Packers win all their remaining games (admittedly, a long shot), they will win the division. But at least as of today, they don't need to rely on any other team. Let's hope that state of affairs continues.

The burning issue of the day, though, is which Packers are the real Packers? If the real Packers are the team that can't stop the run, can't get a running game of their own going, and misfire at the most inopportune moments, the team is in big trouble. If, on the other hand, Ryan Grant continues to run as he did last week against the supposedly good Chicago Bears rushing defense, if they continue to shut down the run like they did last week, and if the truly sensational Green Bay defensive backs continue to control some of the premier wide receivers in the league, then it is hard to see how they can lose another game.

So a visit to the Superdome, in prime time for all the nation to see, could not come at a better time. Sadly, with the departure of Brett Favre to the Titan-beating New York Jets, there are no remaining player links on the team to the Super Bowl XXXI Champions, who won their Super Bowl game in New Orleans almost 12 years ago. If I am not mistaken, Packers running backs coach Edgar Bennett will be the only member of the Super Bowl Champion team to be on the Packer sidelines tonight. Drew Brees and the Saints will present quite a challenge to the Packers tonight. The Saints have been scoring a lot of points, but the good news is that they give up lots of points, too. The Saints are in the bottom half of the league in both rushing and passing defense. So the Packers should have some opportunities to score some points. Wear some Mardi Gras beads and get ready for a good game.

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