4 things to talk about other than the Giants ruining a perfect season (again)
More 4th And 26
- The A.V. Club’s All-Thanksgiving All-Star Packers team
- Learning to love Jay Cutler
- A brief history of the Minnesota Vikings poaching from the Green Bay Packers
- Home away from home: Browns, Bills, and Lions fans find refuge in Packers Country
- Here we go, Pack, go again: The A.V. Club’s 2013 Packers season preview
Sports writers looking for a compelling, all-important “storyline” for this Sunday’s Packers/Giants game have been shit out of luck. Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay, of course, are 11-0 and damn-near perfect, while Eli Manning and New York are 6-5 and the definition of “respectable.” The only thing anyone has been talking about is the possibility of the Giants spoiling another perfect season. The team snuffed out the Broncos’ 13-0 start back in 1998 (though Denver would go on to win its second straight Super Bowl), and delighted the nation in Super Bowl XLII by putting a stop to the Patriots’ 19-0 season. So if the thought of the Packers’ perfect year coming to an end is too much to bear (including last year and Super Bowl XLV, the team is a ridiculous 17-0), we’ve come up with some other topics to mull over.
Even if the Packers lose (pffft!), if the Bears and the Lions lose, they’d still clinch the division. But who cares what the Bears and their rippin’ new quarterback do against the Chiefs? The real division-clinching MVP of the weekend will be the New Orleans Saints. Who dat going to annihilate the visiting Lions this week? The Saints. Who dat essentially kicked the balls off the Giants in a freakish beating last week? The Saints. So, between softening up the Packers’ Week 13 opponent and almost guaranteeing to light up the Lions this week, the Saints look to lock up the NFC North by proxy.
That Aaron Rodgers dude
How good is Aaron Rodgers? Really, really good. But in addition to throwing 33 touchdowns and only four interceptions this season (!), the man seriously knows his football. Take a recent, incredibly tech interview with ESPN, in which Rodgers discusses the finer points of protection adjustments, trajectory changes, and “man-beater routes”:
On that play, we had James on the left and Greg Jennings on the right. The pass check was for James to run a man-beater route—a route with a double move that works well against single coverage. We were hoping the Chargers would go to a one-high safety look. Instead, they played more quarters, where each DB plays a quarter of the field, and they used high-low coverage on Greg. My quick reaction was that we still have man coverage on the other side with James, who is running a man-beater route.
Wha? A “one-high safety look”? Whatever you say, dude. It’s certainly a refreshing change of pace from pre-Crocs Brett Favre, whose only strategy seemed to be “throw the ball so I can get back to ordering chainsaw blades online.”
Home-field advantage is one of the last things for the Packers to play for in the regular season—besides going 16-0 and shutting that Mercury Morris dude up. But considering the rest of the NFC contenders at the moment, the life-threatening conditions of Green Bay in January would only be magnified on their sheltered asses. The Cowboys and the Saints both play in domes and can skateboard home from practice without getting chilly, and the 49ers live in California, where everything is great all the time. If one or two of those mamby-pamby outfits have to tiptoe out onto the frozen tundra in the postseason, their tears will probably freeze their eyelashes together before the opening kickoff.
Sweet, sweet (Suh) revenge
Forget this week’s game for a second and focus on what’s really important: the Week 17 rematch against the Detroit Lions. Oh, and defensive end Ndamukong Suh. Suh, of course, was ejected from the Packers/Lions Thanksgiving game after using Evan Dietrich-Smith’s head like an aluminum can crusher, and kicking him in the arm. That ejection led to a sorry-ass cop-out and a two-game suspension; luckily Suh will be back for Green Bay’s final regular season game, giving Dietrich-Smith and company an opportunity for sweet, sweet revenge (not that we or the NFL condone that sort of thing). Sure, the Packers are probably over the “Suh stomp,” but that doesn’t mean a slovenly Packers nation can’t continue to dwell on it. Just try and keep your blood from boiling when you watch this clip again, and again, and again.