Four Downs: Packers-Falcons preview
Four Downs is all recovered from Thanksgiving, thanks mostly to forgetting (read: suppressing) everything but the food and fun times. The Packers played? Well, we’re not sure we remember that. This week, the also-disappointing Atlanta Falcons are in town for a game that’s basically the definition of why Flex Games were invented by the NFL. Let’s help each other through these times – leave comments here or on our Facebook page.
1. We’re going to quote ourselves, from last week, here because we’re not sure how else we can say it: “We’re thankful he plays here, whenever he does again, especially given the imbalance shown by the Packers, the overreliance on one side that is seemingly too fixed with scar tissue in this broken manner to be corrected in a short amount of time.”
That’s referring to Aaron Rodgers, though you probably knew that. This thing, the defense and its general tackling deficiencies, the poor and oft-confused-looking coverage in the secondary, it has been broken for awhile now. If we wanted to continue with the scar tissue analogy, we had, for awhile earlier this season, learned to live with and even thrive a little within this damaged framework, using these broken parts. Problem was, we forgot its current state: it’s broken and been re-broken as a means to a fix, but seemingly never healed.
For whatever reason, the exact time Rodgers left the field that Monday night was when the pain of damages beyond repair for this defense’s body became too much to bear, when proper functioning morphed into a thing of the past and the unit slipped into its current tackling dummy-like state. Now their strong start this fall is the deflated pumpkin on the curb discarded for winter, the one waiting to be smashed or for someone’s garbage truck to come by and make them disappear.
We don’t know where we’re going with this, other than to say if the Packers defense isn’t markedly better, starting, we don’t know, yesterday, then what’s the point of the playoffs anyway? That’s a place for teams to go as a reward for a successful-enough regular season, and we’re definitely not in the midst of one of those anymore.
2. It’s of course not just about the defense. Though that’s, to us, the most glaring example of visual abuse we’ve endured this season. In Detroit, the offensive line gave Matt Flynn the Thanksgiving dinner equivalent of a cold and plastic-y plate of eggs and burnt hash browns that was just pulled from underneath the face of a sleeping man in the booth of a local Denny’s. It was unpleasant, is what we’re saying, and Flynn isn’t going to feel any more comfortable regardless of the opponent if the line shows up like that again.
When he did have time, Flynn wasn’t great. That’s just where we’re at right now – the quarterback isn’t Aaron Rodgers, and while we can be as hopeful and optimistic as we want about the yet-unknown future, Flynn isn’t going to be Rodgers, and the offense is going to be not as good because of it.
3. Still, we remain unsure of why this team appears to be unraveling at every possible seam. Injuries are the obvious answer, and though it’s something all teams deal with, injuries have certainly, and once again, devastated the Packers individually and as a team.
But still, and yes we’re saying still once again, how is this near-complete nervous system shutdown happening? It’s either a terribly perfect storm of every bad condition festering at once, or it’s the curtain falling down in front of a team that’s not as prepared, not as talented and simply not as good as we wanted to think they were. If they were always this close to complete destruction, were they ever that solid to begin with?
We’ll note that we’re not sure if we believe this either, but man, this season is making us question all sorts of stuff. Let’s briefly recall the 30-point loss to the Detroit Lions – a talented team no doubt, but there’s a principle here – on Thanksgiving, and remember again why really anything as far as an explanation goes should be on the table. Want to blame Nick Saban? Sure, let’s blame Nick Saban.
4. We hate being dark clouds and rainy days all the time, and we could talk about Eddie Lacy to make ourselves feel better, but that’s not even helping at this particular hour.
It’s happened before. We get to a point sometimes with sports teams where fan anxiety sort of fades back from its usual spot in the forefront of our brain. We’re there now, and while it’s never ideal or what you wanted out of a season, it’s sort of free and liberating in the weirdest possible way. There’s almost nothing left to worry about in the big picture, nothing we can really hope to expect
– especially if there’s a loss to the dang Falcons on Sunday
– so we’re just going to go crashing blind and headfirst into whatever’s left of this deranged season and accept the consequences of our allegiances. We’ll believe again in this push for the playoffs when we see something worth attaching hope to.
In the meantime, we’ll advise stocking up on your favorite choice of self-medication. Then, with a maybe-lucid mind venture out into this biting new winter that promises nothing but four more games. Laugh wildly at what you’re witnessing through the probably-incoming tears of frustration, blame them on the cold, and hope they don’t freeze to your face. We don’t need them to remember this cold season by, but we can’t, right about now, say it wouldn’t feel right.
Pick: Packers, or, Not The Falcons.
(On the following scale: Ted Thompson is a tough guy to read. In an attempt to pay homage to his flat style of delivery, we will couple our pick with a 1-5 rating scale of our confidence translated into Thompson Confidence, which, we feel, is just as ultimately silly and tough to derive meaning from as choosing a score.)
Honorary Ted Thompson ‘I feel confident’ scale of confidence: 1.012012 ‘I feel confident’-s out of 5.