Friday, November 11, 2016

Get a Grip, Fans!

Mike McCarthy, Speaking for All of Us, photo by Mark Hoffman, USA Today
Real life intruded to prevent me from posting anything about the Packers' loss to the Falcons last week (Falcons won, 33-32), and so now I have two unfortunate losses to look back on before turning to the Titans game this Sunday.  The Falcons game, as it turned out, was a tremendous disappointment.  I had come to expect the Packers to lose that game, especially when I saw the inactive list before the game.

And then came the Colts game (Colts won, 31-26).  That one I expected the Packers to win.  They were at home, the Colts have not been playing up to expectations, they don't have a very good offensive line, I was assuming that the Packers would get back Montgomery and maybe Cobb and maybe Matthews, so I just didn't see them losing the game.  But they did, obviously, starting with the opening kickoff which even the NFL Sunday Ticket didn't give to us since the local station was carrying the Packers game and they were still in commercial at the time.

Games like this make some people crazy.  Here was the Facebook status of one of my Packer fan Facebook friends shortly after the game.  Remember, this is a Packers fan, not some troll or some Bears fan or whatever:


Long ago, when I was a law clerk working in the Federal Court of Appeals in Chicago, I learned that typing your motion or brief in all caps definitely adds extra persuasiveness to your position.  In those days, petitioners and brief-writers couldn't easily change the size of the font, but if they could have, all caps and huge font size would really have been extra super duper persuasive.  

Look, I am not trying to make fun of my Packer fan Facebook friend, but rather I am trying to make the point that people need to get a grip.  The Packers are not playing very well right now.  They don't have the killer instinct, or they would have at least found a way to win one of the last two games against the Falcons and Colts.  You might even say that they are a mediocre team at 4-4.  Maybe being a 4-4 team is the very definition of mediocrity.  They certainly are not as good as I assumed they would be at the beginning of the year.  Right now, I am not confident that the Packers will even make the playoffs, much less make any noise in the playoffs.  But I think it is a little early to give up on the season.  If they start to turn things around right away, they can squeak into the playoffs, and as they showed in 2010, once you get in, anything can happen.

This week they travel to play the Titans.  It is always harder to win on the road, other things being equal, but this game is a chance to start to turn things around.  The Titans aren't exactly tearing up the league, either, at 4-5, although Marcus Mariota at QB is looking better all the time, and DeMarco Murray is one of the best running backs in the league.  But they give up a lot of points, and they have only beaten Cleveland and Jacksonville in their home stadium.  So let's just say that the Packers win the game, and have another week to get Clay Matthews (who will not play this week) and some of the other players healthier going forward to additional games.  5-4 looks a lot better than 4-5, and if the Vikings happen to lose again, what with the Lions being on bye, we could have a three-way tie for first in the North after Sunday.  

Best Performer Last Sunday, Photo by Mike De Sisti, USA Today