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Game of Thrones fans know that House Stark is of the north, and on his first carry in weeks, running back James Starks looked fairly comfortable scampering past his NFC North rivals for a 32 yd TD. Less than 48 hours before kickoff Monday night we once again reached the seasonal tipping point of daylights savings. While some may actually welcome the first signs of winter, most of us in the Midwest are less than enthusiastic about the arrival of a season defined by depressingly short days and freezing cold nights. Though the north-woods tundra was technically not yet frozen, Packers fans in attendance surely left Lambeau far more cold and bitter than they arrived. Divisional loss aside, Aaron Rodgers’ injury seemed to instantaneously transform the beauty and coziness of late-autumn into a much harsher and unforgiving reality. There was never a doubt that Winter is Coming, but who knew that it would arrive so soon?
The Good: Eddie Lacy
Half-way through the season the Packers workhorse has separated himself as the clear choice for the NFL’s rookie of year. Monday night Lacy accounted for 199 total yards, 150 of which were on the ground, averaging a healthy 6.8 yds on 22 carries. Lacy brought his usual arsenal of hard-nosed running, but also showcased big play potential with a season long 56 yd burst down to the Bears 1 yd line. More games than not this season Lacy has earned my consideration for this section. After 8 weeks of passing over the rookie it is time I give him some recognition.
The Bad: Battle of the Back-ups
While a jittery Seneca Wallace struggled to come in cold off the bench, Chicago back-up Josh McCown looked like a seasoned vet in total control of his surroundings. No play was a better example of this than the Bears first touchdown. McCown dropped back to go through his progression of reads, but when the pocket quickly collapsed on him he didn’t panic. Instead, aided by some fancy footwork, he was able to avoid pressure all while keeping his eyes down-field, and after resetting his feet he quickly delivered a gorgeous touch pass to Brandon Marshall at the last moment. With back-up Nike Foles of the Eagles up next, lets hope not to repeat this segment next week.
The Ugly: Rodgers Injury
One of the bright spots for the team so far this season has been their ability to overcome injuries to key contributors. Rather than this being a testament to the depth of the roster or the talent of backups, I give the majority of the credit to the coaching staff and their ability to realistically assess the situation week-in and week-out, adapt and adjust their game-plan accordingly. Instead of being rigid, Mike McCarthy has been keen to alter his strategy around the injury report to address weaknesses on defense and limitations on offense.
All that being said, one would have to be psychotically optimistic to believe that the absence of Rodgers for the next month will go as smoothly as other injuries have gone. The most gung-ho glass is half full Packer backers will try to put some b.s. positive spin on the situation. Monday night their facebook accounts read something like: Rather than a threat, this situation should be looked at as an opportunity to overcome adversity as a team! or Whatever doesn’t kill us can only make us stronger! These people are almost as delusional as the ones calling for Brett Favre‘s return.
I have confidence that this coaching staff will make every adjustment possible to give the Packers the best chance to win over the next month, but fans still need to temper their expectations. When life hands you Seneca Wallace, chances are that you’re in for some pretty sour lemonade.
Next Week: Eagles
Chip Kelly’s high octane spread offense has yet to revolutionize the league as some were speculating after throttling the Redskins in week 1, however it is a still formidable and effective attack . Led by back-up quarterback extraordinaire Nick Foles, the Eagles will look to replicate the outcome of Monday nights home loss to the Bears. With a weeks worth of first team reps under his belt, Seneca Wallace will hopefully show some signs of improvement, but I don’t see him progressing enough in a week to take charge and lead the Packers to a win. I honestly think that the Packers would have a better shot in this game if it was being played in Philadelphia, seeing as they have a pathetic 9-game home losing streak. What is even more pathetic is that with the likely loss by Dallas at New Orleans Sunday night, a team with a 9-game home losing steak is playing for the lead of the NFC East.
Prediction: Eagles 24-Packers 21
Derek Kissinger digs Wisconsin even though he went to the University of Minnesota. You can’t follow him on Twitter because he is a hipster and doesn’t buy into that ish.
Category - Sports Culture