How much do these upcoming games really matter? I know every Sunday the Packers win it feels like we’re going to the super bowl and when they lose the walls are closing in. Every time we bludgeon a team like Carolina or Chicago that was supposed to be good this season it looks like the team is a machine. When it gives up tons of yards to Mark Ingram it makes everyone sad.
Is it really all that big of deal, though? After all, we are Packer fans. NFC North division titles do not mean a whole heck of a lot. I told everyone last season that after the “4th and Great” I was so proud of that season that I was going to buy the division championship gear. I didn’t. You know who gets excited about division championships? Vikings fans. Do you know who would be really, really excited about a division championship? Lions fans. In Green Bay there’s one thing that moves the needle. Lombardi trophies.
Here’s the deal: the Packers are 5-3. Unless 12’s hamstring falls completely off they are winning at Minnesota, at home against Atlanta and at Tampa. Those teams are junk. Those are the types of teams that the Packers not only beat but beat down, a la what happened to Carolina and what happened to Minnesota already. That gives the Packers the 8 wins that qualified them for last year’s postseason. Now I don’t believe that’s going to be enough this year. What I will guarantee you is that 11 wins is going to be enough. I can’t remember the last 11-5 team that didn’t qualify for the postseason. If you qualify those 3 games as “gimmes” (and you should) the Packers have to go just 3-2 in these games:
Home for Chicago
Home for Philadelphia
Home for New England
Home for Detroit
The Packers are going to the playoffs, kids. Now my prediction is that Green Bay gets healthy during this bye week and goes either 8-0 or 7-1 in these games. They’re going to be favored by the folks in Las Vegas every single week. The Packers are undefeated as favorites this season. The Packers are undefeated at home this season. If you give Green Bay the 5 home games and the games at Minnesota and Tampa you’re looking at 13-3 if they beat the Bills (THE BILLS!) and 12-4 if they don’t.
What if I’m wrong? What if they go 5-3? Let’s say they lose 2 home games (not effing going to happen). Let’s say they don’t beat Buffalo they don’t beat New England and they don’t beat Philadelphia. They are then 10-6 and probably the #6 seed. Why should I care?
Isn’t this about the playoffs? Haven’t the Green Bay Packers lost 3 of their last 4 playoff game at Lambeau Field? Haven’t the Packers won 4 of their last 5 playoff games away from the Frozen Tundra? I’m not making the argument that I’d rather have the Packers lose games and spend the playoffs away from Lambeau Field but does it really matter?
The home playoff game mystique that was taken from us by Michael Vick has not returned. There are too many heartbreaking losses for me to have supreme confidence that a home game is a guaranteed win in the postseason. The aforementioned Vick, Favre to Webster, the End of 15-1, Hyde’s dropped INT, the list goes on. This team is better suited for warmer climates and domes in January.
As far as I’m concerned even if 2010 didn’t happen, it’s all about getting in to the tournament. Whether that’s at Lambeau Field or in Phoenix or Dallas or wherever. This team is playoff bound. The only thing that matters is whether or not it has the formula to win in the Playoffs. We aren’t going to find that out until January so how about until then everybody just R E L A X.