GREEN BAY -- I know those of us who follow the Vikings are supposed to mope around saying, "The Vikings can't win without Sidney Rice or Steve Hutchinson or John Sullivan or Cedric Griffin or ...", well, you get the idea.
Frankly, I'd rather listen to Packers coach Mike McCarthy say:
"We've had a difficult road we've traveled this year, and we've met every challenge. This is an exciting day for the organization and our fans. Nothing has come easy for us, and we wouldn't want it any other way."
McCarthy said that Sunday night after the Packers beat the Bears 10-3 to earn a 10th win and a playoff spot. And they did it against a Bears team that had nothing to gain, but still played its starters throughout a hard-fought game.
Most of us expected the Packers to make the playoffs, but they're still an amazing story because of all they've overcome.
They have 15 players on injured reserve, including eight that started at least one game this season. They've lost a combined 85 games by opening-day starters who have been injured. They've also lost a combined 74 games to backups who have helped them at some point this season.
And, get this, they've started seven different players at outside linebacker. SEVEN!
One of those seven is a guy named Erik Walden, a third-year player from Middle Tennessee State. Walden was out of work, having been cut by the Dolphins, when the Packers signed him in late October.
When Frank Zombo was made inactive Sunday because of a knee injury, Walden got his second start with the Packers. He responded with a game-high 11 tackles (10 solo) and the first two sacks of his career.
Walden also was used to shadow Bears QB Jay Cutler, just to make sure Cutler didn't break contain and hurt the Packers running the ball. Walden not only executed it perfectly, he also walloped Cutler a few times in that role.
"It says a lot about what kind of men we've got from the top floor down," said quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who obviously has a different opinion of Packers GM Ted Thompson than Brett Favre does.
Here's four other observations from Green Bay:
The Packers had only four penalties against the Bears. That gave them 78 on the season, the fewest -- by two -- since the NFL went to a 16-game regular season in 1978.
However, on a negative note, all four penalties were committed by the same guy: right tackle Bryan Bulaga. He had two holding penalties and two false starts. The Packers failed to get a first down in any of the drives in which Bulaga was penalized.
The Packers-Eagles wild-card game in Philly on Sunday should be interesting. When these two teams met in Week 1 at Philly, Kevin Kolb was the starter.
After a Clay Matthews sack knocked Kolb out of the game with a concussion, Michael Vick came in and began a season that saw him rise to MVP candidate before the Vikings ended that by beating the snot out of him a week ago.
The Eagles lost to the Packers 27-20, but Vick almost led them to a comeback win. He passed for 175 yards and ran for 103 yards in about a half of work.
"Philly is a different team than they were the first game," Packers cornerback Charles Woodson said. "Vick almost brought his team back to a victory. We know what he brings to the table. But we feel good about our chances in the playoffs."
Vick took a terrible beating by the Vikings in a surprising loss last week at Philly. He didn't play in Sunday's loss to the Cowboys because of a quadriceps injury and the fact the Eagles didn't need to win the game.
Will Vick by rested or rusty and still hurting? Who knows, but the Packers threw about as many pressure packages at Cutler last night as the Vikings threw at Vick a week ago.
I asked Woodson if the Packers could learn anything from the way the Vikings played Vick.
He sort of curled up his nose and said, "I think we can learn from the way we played the Bears tonight. If we play like that again next week, we'll be OK."
One doesn't have to look far into history for evidence that a No. 6 seed can win the Super Bowl. In 2005, the Steelers were the last team to get in. Then they ran the table on the road and won the Super Bowl.
Offensively, the 2005 Steelers and 2010 Packers have very little in common. The 2005 Steelers were a powerful running team in the final season of Jerome Bettis' career.
However, defensively, the teams are quite similar. The Packers are rolling defensively under defensive coordinator Dom Capers, a former Steelers defensive coordinator.
In 2005, the Steelers gave up 258 points to rank third in scoring defense. This year, the Packers gave up 240 points to rank second in scoring defense. Only the Steelers (232 points) gave up fewer points than the Packers this season.
It will be tough for the Packers to go far in the playoffs without a running game. But if the defense plays the way it has throughout much of this season, the Packers can overcome a lack of a running game.
From what I saw of Joe Webb's second start, he looked a lot more like a rookie than he did the week before in Philadelphia. But that's OK. He still showed more poise and instincts in two games than Tarvaris Jackson showed in five years. Webb has a future in this league, and it's at quarterback, not receiver or kick returner.
However, I can't see the Vikings heading into training camp without a veteran QB to at least compete with Webb.
And, no, under no circumstances should the Vikings get involved with Brett Favre for a third season. They need a someone who will participate in the offseason activities, assuming there isn't a lockout, of course.
Heading into the draft, the Vikings still have to be thinking QB if they feel there's one there worth picking. But Webb's promise allows them, I think, to not lose sight of the fact that there's a lot of holes throughout the roster, particularly at defensive back.