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Saturday, January 26, 2008

December 27th: Packers Lose To Bears

Welcome back! I hope all of you had a great weekend.

So, about that Packers loss. It’s not really that much to get worked up over.

“But, Lee, you handsome devil, how can you say that?” you might say. “They got played off the field! It wasn’t even close!”

This is true. The Bears’ offensive and defensive lines just played harder than the Packers’ lines. The punting was atrocious. Everything that could have went wrong did.

However, there’s a couple things to remember. How important was this game for the Packers on a scale of 1 to 10? Remember, they have the division locked up and a first-round bye. Sure, maybe they could have gotten home field advantage, but that depended on the Cowboys losing another game, so that’s not a gimme either. I’d say it was about a 4, and that’s only because the Bears were involved.

What about the Bears? They have nothing to play for. They’re done for the season. The only thing they can hang their hat on is beating the Packers. Lovie Smith said that his number one priority was beating the Packers when he was hired. The Bears wanted this game because they had nothing else. This game was a 10 for them.

Another important factor is the fact that whenever these two teams play, throw out the records. They always play each other really hard, no matter what record they have. Even with the Bears abysmal record, they’re not a bad team. They just don’t have a quarterback.

Some people have bandied about the stat that the Packers have been swept by the Bears in 2 of the last 3 years. That’s the kind of stat that you hear and are a little shocked by, isn’t it? However, Mike Sherman was coach for the first year. You can throw that year out. Then, last year, the roles were reversed. The Packers had nothing to else to play for except an 8-8 record, and the Bears were basically set for the playoffs. The Packers blew out the Bears 26-7.

The timing of this game is also perfect. This is after the Pack bodyslammed the Raiders and Rams. They could start getting a little cocky, and they probably did. They’re a young team with a young coach. They figured this would be an easy mark. In the NFL, there are no easy marks.

Next up are the Detroit Lions, and I truly pity them. After such an embarrassing loss, the Packers are going to be angry, and they’re going to take it out on the Lions. It won’t even be close.

Now, some people are pointing to this team as having a “second half collapse,” as 2 of their 3 losses have been in the second half of the season. But really, the only “bad” loss was this one against the Bears, and as we’ve discussed, there’s nothing to be worried about with this game. Most of the games the Packers have won in the second half of this season, they’ve won convincingly.

There’s really no comparison between this Lions team and the Bears team that the Packers just lost to. So, I predict that the Packers will beat the Lions by the score of 38-7.

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About the Bucks: It’s been a grim season so far, hasn’t it? As I write this, they’re losing 68-38 to the Nuggets. They’re only 11-15, even though they’re a team with some good young talent.

I had fairly high hopes for this team. You look at the players they have: Redd, Bogut, and some really good role players and solid pieces. I wasn’t high on Yi Jianlian at the beginning of the year, and he’s winning me over quickly. I was very high on Larry Krystkowiak (hereafter referred to as Larry Krysaspdoaiak, or Larry Krysaslkmxcwiak, whichever buttons I hit on my keyboard).

For them to be at this point so far is a little appalling. They shouldn’t be doing this bad. They’ve lost 9 games by 10 points or more. For having a couple of teams that are on the upswing, like the Packers and Brewers, to see the Bucks flopping as bad as they are is really upsetting. So, what’s wrong with the Bucks?

One of the problems has been their obviously dismal away record. This is a function of youth, I believe. Give them a little more time and they’ll iron that out, once they get used to playing on the road. There might be some problems with that idea, though.

Their next 23 games include 14 road games (not counting their current game at the Nuggets). Even if they win all of their home games and a handful of their road games, that puts them at 24-27, or, in other words, in a really tough spot. And can you really see them beating New Jersey, Phoenix, and Houston, at home?

However, I don’t watch the games enough to know what other problems there are, and what they can do to fix them. What do you guys say? What can be done to fix the Bucks? Leave your comments below, and we’ll put our heads together. Maybe we’ll send something to Larry Krystsadxcvkiak.