These last few Packers games have had a now or never feel to them, at least to me. "OK, they couldn't beat the Bears, but now that Seneca Wallace has had a week of preparation . . .." "Well, you can't expect Tolzien to pull off a win against the Eagles in those circumstances, but now that he has taken the starter reps . . .." "We all know that the Giants have the Packers' number, but wait until the Vikings come to town . . .." "They didn't win, but a tie is better than a loss, and look at the way Flynn played - when he gets another crack at the Lions, look out!"
But what are you going to say about the Lions crushing the Packers on Thanksgiving Day, by the very ugly score of 40-10? I have run out of excuses, and of optimism, for the Packers this year. I couldn't even bear going back to re-watch the Lions game. I realize it was just a pre-planned Black Friday sale, but it seemed somehow strangely fitting when, early Friday morning after the game, I got a Packers Pro Shop email promotion announcing a 30% off site wide sale. My confidence in the Packers is at least 30% off.
Anyway, I think "now or never" time has really arrived. If the Packers were to win their 4 remaining games, I could see maybe a 50% chance that the Packers win the division. The Lions would have to lose 2 games, but that could happen (they have away games at the Eagles and Vikings, and home games against the Giants and Ravens). The Bears would have to lose one, but in my scenario of the Packers winning out, that happens when the Packers beat the Bears in week 17.
On the other hand, how likely is a Packer four game winning streak? Let's be honest, not that likely. They have not won any of their last five games. The offensive line is in disarray, with Center Evan Dietrich-Smith listed as questionable for the game. The defense is in free fall. They still don't have Aaron Rodgers back, even though everyone (including Rodgers) seems to have assumed that he would be ready to play this week. But the four game winning streak, if it is going to happen, has to start against the Falcons tomorrow, without Rodgers. As disappointing as the Packers have been this year, the Falcons have probably had an even more disappointing season. They were, after all, in the NFC Championship game last year, where they blew a 17 point lead to lose narrowly to the 49ers. And yet they are 3-9 as they arrive in Green Bay today. They have beaten no good teams, only the Rams, the Buccaneers and the Bills. They may not have had the injury problems the Packers have had, but losing Julio Jones for the year is, without question, a severe loss.
I am predicting a Packers loss. Maybe that will switch up the mojo.
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