Monday, November 12, 2012

Finally Some Luck in the Bye Week

It's difficult not to draw comparisons between the 2012 season and 2010 season.  Maybe that's just me consoling myself -- trying to muster up some degree of re-assurance that we can overcome the loss of so many starters.  By my count, we are currently down 10-12 starters due to injury: some are on IR (Desmond Bishop, Bryan Bulaga, Nick Perry, D.J. Smith); some we hope to get back later this season (Greg Jennings, Charles Woodson, Cedric Benson); and some we hope to get back in the next couple weeks (Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson, John Kuhn, Jerel Worthy, Sam Shields).  Whether this is 10 or 12 depends if you count D.J. Smith and Jerel Worthy (both, technically, not starters at the outset of the season but beginning to fill/take that role).  Regardless, that's a lot of impact players -- nearly half the starting team.

Any way you slice it, that's a lot of adversity to overcome.  But the attitude in the locker room, as in 2010, seems to be good.  Next man up.  And it has been encouraging to see young guys like Casey Hayward, Dezman Moses, and M.D. Jennings step into the void and make an impact.  It was also encouraging to see James Starks and Alex Green pick up their game last week.  And James Jones and Randall Cobb have risen to the occasion as well.

Fortunately, we finally got some good news during our bye week.  While our players recuperated, the rest of the NFL played out as well as we could have hoped:

  • The Bears finally met an opponent with a winning records and fell like a cheap tent.
  • The Giants lost and just looked miserable doing it.  Can't get punk-slapped by the Bengals.
  • The 49ers kissed their sister with a tie against the Rams.  Not as sweet as a loss, but we'll take it.
  • The Falcons finally lost one of about 8 games they easily could have lost this season.
  • The Cowboys beat the Eagles in the Mediocrity Bowl.
  • The Vikings sent the Lions back to Detroit, the team that may still worry me the most in the NFC North.

The only team we might care about (in terms of tie-breaker scenarios) that didn't lose is the Seahawks.  But overall, this bye week couldn't have gone better -- with all our key rivals for divisional and conference supremacy taking a step back.

We're going to need a little luck, because the Packers are going into the season-defining stretch of their schedule, with 4 division games in the next 5 weeks (and the 5th is against the Giants).  The Packers have the chance to get the upper hand on the NFC North and the inside track on the post-season, if they can continue their winning streak through this stretch -- or at least win 4 of 5.  With 3 losses already, the Packers could possibly afford a loss or two and still be in good shape for the post-season.  It will be hard, with the injury bug in full-force, but all these are win-able games.

Keep your fingers crossed that rather than folding to this adversity, that this year's team channels the 2010 team's determination and gets this season fully back on track.