Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A W's a W

Packers 17 - Lions 9

The streak continues. I was doing some math on the way back from Lambeau. I'm pretty sure this was my 13th Packers game (lucky #13!), and I have only ever witnessed one loss in person up at the Tundra. And that loss was eased by the fact that we actually backed into the playoffs on the same day. This win was tempered by the fact that it was only our third home victory in over a year. How times have changed.

And I mean changed. Brett Favre's QB rating was below the game-time temperature, which was 40°. He also turned the ball over twice inside the 20; we've now done that ten times this season. And while he didn't have any TD passes (Vernand Morency had two rushing TDs -- one right in front of us with a Lambeau Leap in the 4th quarter -- but dammit), he did complete his 4,968th pass, surpassing Dan Marino's record with a 21-yard pass to Carlyle Holiday* near the end of the first half. Later in the game (during one of the sixty-seven TV time outs), I saw him talking with Ed Hochuli for a bit and we wondered what they were saying. Later, in his post-game press conference, Brett said this:
Ed Hochuli congratulated me out there, and I told him, 'I have no idea what you're congratulating me for, but thank you.'
I was hoping he was giving Hochuli shit for his poor instant replay call which negated a long completion to Donald Driver on a crucial third down play. Guess not. And so much for keeping the penalties to a minimum like last week, when we had just two for 10 yards. This time, we had nine for 69. Yeesh.

Favre didn't play all that well, of course, but his receivers weren't exactly looking the ball into their hands much, either. I counted about ten incomplete passes that were all on the receivers. One was a sure TD to David Martin on the goal line when we were down 3-0. That one lost us four points. Luckily, despite turning the ball over four times, we only allowed the Lions to score a total of 3 points off of them. That's a pretty good average.

There was other stuff that falls under the Pretty Good category. Our defense was really quite stellar (albeit against a pretty stagnant team). I isoed on Cullen Jenkins at several points during the game, and he was amazing. Easily the MVP of the game. (Morency was worthy, but, for this game, I couldn't give it to an offensive player and feel good about myself.) He tallied up three sacks (we had six total, which is two more than what we've had in the last four games combined) and got a fumble recovery. KGB missed a start for him, and I'd say Jenkins earned it. Al Harris did a good job keeping Roy Williams quiet, too. And whenever we can keep a team entirely out of the end zone, that's certainly a good thing. The last defensive series had the Lions backed up in our end zone, and we got loud. The 'D' really stepped up. That was pretty amazing.

Finally, expanding on what I wrote at the end of my post on the 49ers game, we are indeed still officially in the playoff picture. On the way home, Jay Sorgi ran through the scenarios on the Packers Radio Network. It's a shitload of 'if's, but here's the result of his detailed research:
Part one: The Packers win out.

They have games against Minnesota Thursday and at Chicago on New Years' Eve. Since the Bears have no playoff positioning to play for, two wins are possible.

Part two: The Falcons and either the Giants or Eagles each suffer some losses, and go 8-8.

If those things happen, there's a possibility that as many as seven teams could finish 8-8. Those are [the Falcons, Panthers, Giants, Eagles, Rams, and 49ers].

If all that happens, it then goes to the NFL tiebreaking computer for the final wildcard spots.

What the NFL does is first eliminate teams from the same division... so you only have one team from each of the four divisions. If that happens, and the four teams turn out to be the Packers, [Panthers, Eagles, and 49ers], the Eagles get the final spot.

If that doesn't occur, then the NFL uses conference record to break the tie.

[The Falcons, Panthers, Rams, and 49ers] would each finish 6-6 in the conference.

The Packers would end up 7-5, and so would the Eagles and Giants.

So then it could again be up to seven teams with it coming down to common opponents or even strength of victory... and with the Packers defeating the Bears, there's a really good chance they'd win the final wildcard slot.

Now let me add this to it.... Say it's just a couple teams tied at 8-8... the Packers and any one of those other six teams. It comes down to head to head. If it's the Rams or Eagles, it's not so good, because the Packers lost to them.

If it's [the 49ers], we like the news... as the Packers beat them earlier this year.
So, yeah. We'll see. Vikings game tomorrow night. At Lambeau. I won't be there. Let's hope it's soon enough after my last visit that some of my magic is left in the bleachers.

*Yes, the same Carlyle Holiday who was playing as a Cardinals receiver the last time I was there. He caught a 12-yard pass on 3rd-and-six that was negated because of a holding call.

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