Friday, December 9, 2016

Let it Snow!

Cobb's TD, photo by Wm. Glasheen, USA Today
After many squandered early opportunities by the Packers, Sunday's game against the Texans sat at 7-7 at the end of the third quarter.  Just exactly what fans did not want to see.  There was no good reason to think that the Packers would go on to lose the game, after all they were at home, in a snowy Packer environment.

And yet - the Texans' offense had just come alive to tie the game, the Packers had not scored or even moved the ball much since the second quarter, and in a snowy environment, even more than in any other game, all it takes is a defender slipping, or a ball getting knocked out of the hands, and a game can take a crazy turn.

So, when the Texans punted the ball to the Packers' 2 yard line late in the 3rd quarter, as a fan I was just looking for a couple of first downs to improve the field position battle.  Instead, the Packers produced a magnificent, 98 yard drive (108 yards counting a 10 yard penalty) to score what turned out to be the winning touchdown.  Then, after forcing a punt, they followed it up with another drive, this time 89 yards, to put the game out of reach at 21-7 (the final score was Green Bay, 21-13).

So what do we make of the Packers now?  Are they as good as they looked in the fourth quarter?  Or as listless as they looked for most of the rest of the game?  I don't think it is unfair to say that the 98 yard drive served to keep their playoff hopes alive, but the question is, how alive are they at this point?

For starters, I didn't think they would win both of the last 2 games, so I start out from a place of skepticism about how good the team is.  And the Seahawks were overpowering, at home, against the Panthers last week.  But on closer inspection of their record, they are under .500 on the road (2-3-1).  They have lost to the Rams, Saints and Buccaneers, and tied the Cardinals, and of those teams only the Buccaneers even have a winning record at this point.  So they can be beaten outside of their noisy home stadium.

Weather and injuries will be factors.  As of now, the forecast calls for 1 to 3 or 2 to 4 inches of snow, depending on the source, and with a late start time, it is almost a certainty that snow will be sticking all over the field.  The Seahawks have plenty of bad weather in their stadium, but rarely do they have snow.  In fact, I saw that Richard Sherman has never played in the snow, so that tells you something about Seattle weather.  Russell Wilson played at the University of Wisconsin, so he says "I'm hoping it's a downpour of snow."  I don't think downpour is quite the right word (he has been in Seattle too long), but this is a smart thing to say even if he doesn't mean it.  So weather will be a factor, a wild card, and that wild card ought to favor the home team used to playing in those conditions.

The Seahawks lost their excellent free safety Earl Thomas for the year last week, and the Packers have already announced that linebackers Kyler Fackrell and Nick Perry for the game.  Half a dozen others are listed as questionable, although all of them participated in practice today on a limited basis.  Mike Pennel has been suspended for the last four games of the season, so he will be missing, too.

I think the Packers can win this game, and maybe even should win the game, despite being listed as underdogs.  I would feel much better about this game if it wasn't Seattle.  There is too much of a history of crazy things in Seattle games, although most if not all of those crazy things have happened at Seattle.  It should be a fun game to watch.

No comments:

Post a Comment