Thanksgiving approaches, and what do the Green Bay Packers have to be thankful for? In an increasingly lost season, we think “just five more weeks until vacation” is the common sentiment.
As predicted in this space last week, Green Bay did not win at Daunte’s House on Sunday. Giving credit where it’s due, the desperate Pack finally quit stifling Matt Flynn (at their starter-in-name-only’s likely request), and Flynn repaid that courtesy by leading Green Bay to a 26-26 tie with a team that has won twice all season. This qualifies as a major victory in a season of diminished expectations and shattered hope. Unfortunately, it also qualifies as a “four game winless streak” in the NFL standings.
Is there reason for guarded optimism in the Fox River Valley? Perhaps! The Packers play Thursday’s Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions. The quick turnaround means Aaron Rodgers will be unable to play, giving Flynn the chance to shine once more until Lil’ A sees fit to return. And the Detroit Lions, despite being superior to Green Bay in all phases of the game, have already lost enough winnable games this season to not run away with the NFC North.
However (and there’s always a “however” with this star-crossed franchise), many obstacles stand in the way of an improbable upset. Coach Mike McCarthy still won’t name a starting QB, despite Scott Tolzien’s struggles and Flynn’s heroic play. One wonders exactly what Rodgers is whispering in McCarthy’s ear to keep him from making the obvious call. “Hey, Flynn is saying you could stand to lose a few pounds, Mike. You gonna take that? Man, Scott has really been lookin’ good in walk-throughs, and don’t tell him I told you this, but he said that windbreaker takes off five years and 25 pounds. Anyway, gotta go, brunching with Dick Wolf about an
In addition to that, Green Bay still employs Dom Capers as its defensive coordinator. You might remember Capers from his work in allowing Christian Ponder and Toby Gerhart to carve up the Packers’ defense on Sunday. Christian Ponder! It appears the one thing Capers’ defense appears to be capable of is ensuring that Clay Matthews gets just as much commercial work as Rodgers. How much will Matthews’ media omnipresence help them against Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson on Thursday? Probably not a lot, but at least the rest of the D is healthy! (Note: the link sends you to a story noting that they’re not healthy at all. We like to use a little humor to lighten the mood when talking about a Dom Capers defense.)
With the season in the balance, will Green Bay be able to emerge victorious in the Motor City? In an increasingly lost season, the answer once again is “no, probably not.” Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!