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by Mark Metzler

 

I recently did something I never did before – turn down tickets to a Packers game at Lambeau Field. 

It seems crazy, but I had reasons.

Green Bay in December is almost always a cold place, and I can’t take the cold as well as I once could. The biggest reason is COVID. It’s still a concern for me and the people I work with every day. Plus, the drama with the team is exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong. Lambeau is one of the great venues in all of sports, maybe the greatest. I’ve been there many times, and it is always a thrill. And, yes, there’s been drama in the past, but not like this year. Even the Favre stuff was less, though it seemed to go on year after year. All the crap with management and Rodgers to start the year, and now Rodgers’ COVID debacle, it’s just draining. 

It’s easier to sit home and kick back with a beer and pace. I still love the team. I have ever since I can remember, and this year’s team is particularly good.

In my view, this is the last year the Packers are going to have a chance at winning the Super Bowl for quite a while. If you think Rodgers is coming back for another year, it’s not going to happen. And if Rodgers goes, keeping Davante Adams will be next to impossible. Who will throw him the ball? He needs someone. And, let’s face it, Rodgers is the best. If he has a good run over these last five games, he should deserve to win another MVP. From what I’m reading, he probably won’t though because voters are less likely to vote for him because of the controversy he has generated.

Right now, most NFL power ratings have the Packers as number one. I think that’s right. The Packers are a little better than they were last year – when I thought they were the best team in the NFL before they folded to the Buccaneers. I think the rest of the league is a little weaker this year.

So, how can the Packers win the Super Bowl? Well, they need to get healthy enough, and they need to catch some breaks. Getting back David Bakhtiari on offense, and Za’Darius Smith and Jaire Alexander on defense would be a great help. They are three of the top five players on the team. It would be nice to get center Josh Myers back, as well. But kudos to the team for filling the gaps, especially the offensive line.

We won’t get back Elgton Jenkins, a great talent, or Robert Tonyan, one of the NFL’s best tight ends. But, getting back the others would be enough.

Even with the injuries, I think the offense is a bit better than last year, and the defense is noticeably better. It’s not a super defense, but it is good enough to win, and you have to credit Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry and two great signings – De’Vondre Campbell and Rasul Douglas. So, that overall credit has to go to the front office.

I do think the Packers will get the top seed, and the playoffs will need to run through Lambeau. As far as the other teams, I see the Cowboys, Cardinals and Buccaneers winning their divisions, and the Rams, 49ers and Vikings making it as wild cards, with the Vikings being the lowest seed. Interestingly enough, I see the Cardinals as the two seed, and I think the Vikings can beat them, which would bring the Vikings to Lambeau for a playoff game. That would be fun.

But, you never know how the games will play out, who will come back and who will get hurt as the season comes to an end. My only wish is that they would just cut the drama and play football. I don’t need to hear about Rodgers’ foot, unless he’s finally taking it out of his mouth.