Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Day Special Edition

I contemplated skipping a pre-game post for this week and sticking to my Thursday/Sunday posting routine, but I'm just too excited to not write something about tomorrow's Thanksgiving showdown with our neighbors across Lake Michigan.

It's safe to say that I've maintained a healthy dislike of the Green Bay Packers ever since elementary school, when classmate LB McV boastfully wore his love of the Pack on his snot-covered sleeves. It annoyed me to no end when LB McV would "walk like the Packers" in the school lunch line, imitating the exaggerated steps of Reggie White's post-sack celebration. It's one thing to be a cocky bandwagon fan of the sports team that happens to be the best at that particular time (this is 1997, Green Bay ended up winning the Super Bowl). It's a whole 'nother beast when that person also knows nothing about football besides the fact that the Packers are good. LB McV wearing his green #4 jersey, once tried to negate a kickoff return by my team in recess football, waving his arms in the incompletion signal and citing the rule of "injury before touchdown." I think that moment alone cemented my hatred of Vince Lombardi, Brent Favre, and all things Lambeau Field. I'd love nothing more than for our boys to give the 72' Dolphins a reason to be getting all Miami Dolphins as they sit down to their plates of yams tomorrow afternoon.

So do the DTLs have any chance in H-E-double loss columns to pull off the upset and knock the 10-0 Packers from the ranks of the unbeatens? Despite the fact that they're facing a future Hall of Fame QB in the midst an astoundingly magnificent season, as they did with Tom Brady last year, Aaron Rog in '07, and Peyton Manning in '04 (is it any wonder that we've lost 7 straight on Thanksgiving?), I have to say yes.

Was anybody around last year? Have you forgotten the DTLs' win over the Pack in early December, which nearly derailed Green Bay's playoff run before it even started? I know, I know, "Aaron Rodgers didn't play in the second half! That's the only reason Detroit won!"  Well, Matthew Stafford didn't play in the second half either. Didn't even play in the first half, come to think of it. Does this mean that the game is to be washed from the record books? If memory serves, Rog wasn't exactly tearing it up in there before getting hurt. In fact he didn't lead his team to a single point in his one half of play. And Green Bay has a perfectly suitable backup QB in Matt Damon, who can certainly be counted on to find lanky tight end Ben Affleck on a crossing pattern when the situation calls for it. Lions 7 Pack 3, end of story.

Last year's result is irrelevant though. If Aaron Rog was great in 2010, he's been Mohandas Gandhi so far in 2011. With 31 TD tosses and a QB rating of nearly 129 for the season, it has actually been theorized that the Packer defense has been sub-par this year simply because they're bored by how unstoppable Aaron Rog and the offense has been. Even so, I still think that the Lions will keep the Pack more than interested tomorrow afternoon, with the reasons being three-fold.

1) Aaron Rog's one weak link this year has been his offensive line's inability to protect him (he's been sacked 25 times), while the strength of the Bromo defense is the Four Lokos wreaking havoc in the trenches. With this in mind, I'll go ahead and assume at least four sacks from Dom & Co. tomorrow. If the D can be opportunistic and somehow force a fumble on one of these sacks at the proper time, as well as force an interception off a heavy rush at some point, those breaks could be all the offense needs to take care of business and make an upset feasible. Rog can still throw for 4 TDs, but 3 from Stafford plus 10 points off turnovers would tip the scales in Detroit's favor. But perhaps I'm straying too far into the realm of guesswork and conjecture; my next point is irrefutable.

2) Aaron Rog isn't a cool quarterback. Good, yes. Cool, no. There's a big difference, and in a game like this, that sort of stuff matters. For instance, would a cool quarterback wear the same generic single-snap chinstrap that predecessor Brent Favre used to wear, and unsnap it after every single play, also as predecessor Brent Favre used to do? I think not. Now, Wisconsers might argue that the stupid little Power Ranger morphin' time belt thing that Rog does after touchdowns is cool; however, these are the same people whose main contribution to the world of fashion is wearing thick wedges of cheese as hats.

3) Green Bay has the second worst passing defense in the NFL. It seems like every time the Packers have taken the field this year, after the game one would think that they'd just watched the league's two best quarterbacks duke it out. Staff is not a better quarterback than Aaron Rog (he is a cooler one), but he very well could outperform Rodgers tomorrow, with the luxury of facing a defense that gives up 289 passing yards per game. Harry Lyme of Home Alone 2 said it best when he yelled at the top of his lungs, "If you can't do any better than that, yer gonna' LOSE!!"

"Don't wear Wranglers because of me; wear Wranglers because of YOU." --Brent Favre, former Packer quarterback, and current backyard jean commercial football quarterback.
Or, how about I just don't wear Wranglers at all, Brent? That way, the underlying motivations behind my pant-wearing choices won't be called into question by the likes of you. And furthermore, is Brent Favre really the person who should be dispensing pant-wearing advice to begin with, considering the uproar he caused last year concerning his problems with keeping his own Wranglers on? As we're constantly reminded, Aaron Rog is the proud owner of a very nice belt that I'm sure he would have been more than happy to lend to Favre if he just would have asked, rather than calling in radio shows to deliver backhanded compliments about his replacement in Green Bay.

I don't know about any of you, but I'm ready to put an end to this Thanksgiving Day losing streak. Let's get back to the days of Dre Bly intercepting his way to the Galloping Gobbler trophy, of the Bus taking a wrong turn at the overtime coin flip, of Barry torching the Barrs for a buck 67 and 3 TDs. Get your throwback jerseys ready, hang up the Christmas tree from the Silverdome roof, cover your ears when Nickelback takes the stage, tell the Miami Dolphins to get the champagne ready, I'm calling for the upset tomorrow!! After you've finished your turkey, keep those forks ready, because the Packers' undefeated season is about to be DONE!

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