Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Packers lose to Steelers, still alive for NFC North Champs

As John Lennon sang, "So this is Christmas...". Yes, it is. Merry Christmas to all our loyal readers around the world. We appreciate you stopping by to read what we have to say about all things Packers.

Because of holiday commitments, getting out a timely post-game Packers vs. Steelers review was all but impossible. I even had to watch the game on DVR hours after the game was over, all the while trying to avoid learning about the outcome. Great game...well, not great...but it certainly kept one's attention down to the last second. Literally. Anyway, I'm sure you are also familiar with having to time-shift things around holidays and other special occasions. Not always easy. But, finally, I'm getting a few moments here this morning to catch up a little bit. Apologies for the lateness of this for those who have come to expect a more timely review of things from yours truly.

Back to the Packers vs. Steelers...

The final score was not what we had projected (24-20 with the Packers winning}. For the past two weeks I had picked against the Pack and they had won. They restored my faith, only to once again have that dashed on the rocks of defeat. Which leaves me with a big dilemma about Sunday versus Da Bearz. But more on that game later...probably Sunday morning in fact.

This game typified, in my view, what the season has been for the Packers, especially without Aaron Rodgers. The team is so injury-riddled that there is no room for mistakes. Critical penalties and turnovers doomed the Pack to defeat. There is no margin for error. To win, the team needs to play an almost flawless game. Toss in December weather in the Midwest and that adds yet another complicating factor.

As we all know by now, Da Bearz (and the still bumbling Lions) gift-wrapped a second chance at post-season life for the Packers when they also both lost their games on Sunday...Chicago in incredibly humiliating form (as Seinfeld would say, "That's a shame."). But playing for the NFC North title this coming Sunday along the lake at Soldier Field is not going to be an easy task. Can the Packers beat Da Bearz? Of course. Will they? Depends upon which Packers team decides to show up. And that's been a guessing game for about half the season now, not just from game to game but half to half.

While it's expected that the announcement about Aaron Rodgers' availability status will be made tomorrow (Thursday), more than a few are expecting that the announcement will be that he is not yet medically cleared to play. Personally, I don't expect him to see the playing field again this season unless, perhaps, the Packers somehow go deep into a playoff run. Given the injuries, is that likely? No.

There is a lot of heart and never-give-up attitude on this Packers squad, granted. That's to the credit of the coaches and the players themselves. But that's not always enough, especially where other teams are healthier at the key positions. With the likely loss of Clay Matthews again with his re-injured thumb, the already-anemic pass rushing ability of the Pack also took a big hit.

Anyway, I'm starting to do a bit of a Christmas Day ramble here, so will cut this short.

The Packers have a chance. Right now, that's more than most fans thought they'd have at the conclusion of the game against Pittsburgh. The door has been left open a crack. All the Packers have to do is play one of their most consistent games of the season and they will keep on playing. If they let Da Bearz slam the door in their collective face, then it's time to start playing the mock draft and free agency games as the off-season will then be upon us.

In the meantime, let's see what the next few days brings for the Pack. Please check back Sunday morning for our Packers vs. Bears preview and prediction.

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Go Pack Go!!!