Packers XLV

Business Trip Awaits Pack This Weekend

Posted December 7th, 2010 @ 07:12pm

This is one of those weeks where the Packers need to approach their game with the Lions as a business trip. Pack up a change of clothes, the iPad and shaving kit, kiss the spouse good-bye, pat the kids on the head. Go to Detroit, take care of business and come home and think about the final three opponents: New England, the Giants and the Bears.

Despite all the injuries and the late game losses, the Packers can claim the #2 seed in the NFC by winning their final four games. You can argue that a loss in New England would still get them there, assuming the Eagles lose once and the Bears lose a game before the season finale in Green Bay.

It starts this week against the Lions. If the Lions were salesmen they would have been fired long ago.  If they were in "Glengarry Glen Ross" they would not get coffee. Coffee is for closers. The Lions have been ahead in the second half at home against everyone they played this season, but couldn't close the deal against the Eagles, Giants, Jets, Patriots and Bears.

You need look no further back then the first matchup between the teams to ensure they keep their guard up. The Pack let a big lead slip away at Lambeau and needed a ground-churning final drive to escape with a victory over a team that hadn't won a road game in years.

The Lions are a different team now. They're down to their third-string QB, as injuries have shelved Matthew Stafford and Shaun Hill. Drew Stanton leads the team now. Defensively, they're weak on the back end, but their front four is very solid and rookie Ndamukong Suh has locked up Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and figures to be a fixture at the Pro Bowl for years.

All that said, the Lions are apt to compete hard for 60 minutes. Despite their record, they're well-coached and are headed in the right direction. But they haven't yet learned how to win. And now isn't the time to show them. The close losses have eliminated any margin for error the rest of the way and this is a game where the Pack needs to demonstrate why they are one of the handful of teams that have a shot to win the Super Bowl.

This is a game where good teams take care of business. They go in and dispatch of lesser opponents in a surgical fashion. The Packers will leave behind one of their best players, Cullen Jenkins, who re-aggravated a calf injury and is expected to miss at least the next two games.

Under Mike McCarthy, the Pack has been very good on the road, particularly late in the season. There is no reason to doubt that we will see another strong showing this weekend. But the slow starts of late are a bit concerning: allowing an inferior opponent to stay in the game early is not good for my blood pressure.

With a prime time game in Foxboro looming, you worry how a young team handles an opponent like Detroit. Despite the Lions' record, they have to be taken seriously. Playoff tiebreakers begin with the division record. The only way the Packers could hand the division to the Bears, even with a win over Chicago, is if the Pack loses in Detroit and Chicago knocks off the Vikings.

So the mission is clear. This is a business trip. Take care of your affairs and move on. The Pack needs to dispatch of the lowly Lions and set their sights on the Patriots to see how they match up with the best the league has to offer. With three potential playoff teams looming, a slip-up in Motown could keep the team home for the postseason.

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Comments (12):

on December 10th, 2010 at 10:02am

I'm lovin' webleppard. Too bad his bit will be irrelevant in a few weeks.

on December 10th, 2010 at 10:03am

What do you think of TT's 2 - CB Tramon WIlliams...key player..always good to add a DB..Pro Bowler - WR Greg Jennings....AR's go to guy...a pro's pro... - DT Johnny Jolly...TT took a gamble on him in round 3...given his history of getting into trouble but he had very good seasons in 2007 and 2009....GB needs him to return in 2011 - AJ Hawk...a productive but unspectacular OLB that was moved into the middle by Capers... - OG Colledge...a 4 yr starter since '06...solid...not great...but what do you expect from round 5... - OG/C Jason Spitz...back injuries slowed down...solid backup and sometimes starter at 2 positions... - DE Dave Tollefson...stolen off practice squad by NYG...still plays for them in pass rushing situations. Pretty impressive group !!

on December 10th, 2010 at 11:28am

Sorry meant to print TT's 2006 draft in earlier post and it was missed. Darn good draft by TT !!

on December 10th, 2010 at 11:31am

Davy....If this is a business trip for the Pack to Detroit let's remember the famous line from Arthur Miller's great play "The Death of a Salesman"....."The man knew what he wanted and went out and got it! Walked into a jungle and comes out, the age of twenty-one, and he's rich! Death of a Salesman Willie Loman, about his brother Ben making a fortune from diamonds in Africa, Act 1 ARod et al must go on this trip and come out with a richly deserved victory and then go for our fortune in the remaining games !!....GO PACK Go !!

on December 7th, 2010 at 06:40pm

no playoffs for you!!!

on December 8th, 2010 at 04:40pm

You pretty much nailed it. My main concern is Ndamukong Suh. If he lines up against Sitton we'll be OK but if they slide him to the other side and he lines up against College it'll be a long day and AR will need his track shoes.

on December 8th, 2010 at 09:50am

Simply put its never easier for the Packers to win in Detroit... but we always do.. Stay focus and we will come out with a win... packers 27 kiddies 13

on December 9th, 2010 at 07:32pm

on December 9th, 2010 at 07:39pm

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on March 1st, 2012 at 03:13am

Thanks again, y'alls. Curly, your letter was so much more pithy than mine. Darko, wtenir looks nicer on the way out, don't you think? Last night it was drizzling down icy snow as I was coming home; I tried to take a couple of pictures, and nothing came out but dark, blurry glomp. Which is not surprising, since that's what was there.I don't know what that is in the middle of the picture; I blew up the original scan and it diffuses, but it seems spread over a few gaps in the branches. Must be a glimpse of some building behind.

on May 18th, 2012 at 05:19am

You know it. Worst of all, we head down to Austin tomorrow for what is trdtlaionaily a little anteroom of sunny (and sometimes warm rainy) weather before the cold lets go entirely up here: days in the 80 s, nights in the 60 s, that sort of thing. Normally I spend the first day calling people and taunting them about wearing shorts and sandals and sitting outside in the sun.Not this year. Day's in the 60 s or worse, rain threatened all the whole week, chilly nights. Grrrr

on May 20th, 2012 at 05:14am

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