GREEN BAY—The real drama begins tonight.
There was very little drama in the Packers’ 55-7 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon. As the Packers let the final seconds of the first quarter tick off before they switched ends of the field to complete their third scoring drive, this game already had a name-that-score look to it.
“Very convincing victory for our football team,” Head Coach Mike McCarthy said.
Very convincing? Yeah, like tire tracks on road kill.
It was just another Packers win on the way from 2-3 to 11-4, but nothing about the game that is to be played in Seattle on Sunday night is ho hum. All of Packer Nation, from McCarthy to Aaron Rodgers to the 70,000 fans that spent the eve of Christmas Eve sitting on a frozen metal bench, will be parked in front of their TV tonight rooting for the Seattle Seahawks.
That’s the team.
You mean the team that robbed the Packers of a win that was rightfully theirs?
That’s the team.
You mean the team that delighted in the Packers’ pain?
That’s the team.
Think about it. Now ask yourself, on the night of Sept. 24, after a misguided replacement official named Lance Easley and his Napoleon complex broke your heart and caused you to vow revenge against everyone and everything from Roger Goodell to the Space Needle, could you have ever imagined you would cheer for the Seahawks to do anything but lose and feel abject pain and suffering?
Well, this is proof that anything is possible, because tonight you’re going to cheer for the Seahawks to beat the 49ers and put the Packers in the driver’s seat for the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs. Go Seahawks!
But does it really matter whether the Packers are No. 2 or No. 3?
“I think matchups matter,” Rodgers said. “Different teams match up better with other teams. We’ll be ready to play whoever comes to Lambeau.”
Some team is coming to Lambeau in January. It might be on the weekend of Jan. 5-6, or it might be on the weekend of Jan. 12-13, but the Packers are guaranteed at least one home playoff game.
If the Packers are the No. 3 seed, they could find themselves playing the Vikings on consecutive weekends. If the Packers beat the Vikings next Sunday, the Packers could find themselves hosting the Bears in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
Which one of those matchups do you like?
If the Packers are No. 2 in the NFC, however, they will rest on wild-card weekend, and then host the second-lowest seeded survivor, which most experts would expect to be the 49ers. Hey, the 49ers are a good team. We saw that in the season opener, but that was also on a warm and sunny day, whereas inches and wind chill are the words more likely to be used in a forecast for the middle of January in Green Bay. Let’s not forget the 49ers are now being quarterbacked by a young man who has never taken a snap in a postseason game.
How about the Seahawks coming to Lambeau? Would you like that matchup? The Seahawks are likely to be the No. 5 seed, but they would play in Lambeau in the wild-card round if the Packers were No. 3 and the Seahawks fell to No. 6, or they’d play in Lambeau in the divisional round, say, if the Packers were No. 2 and the Seahawks were No. 5 and the bottom two seeds each won their wild-card round games.
I would like that matchup very much. Yeah, I’ll be cheering for the Seahawks. I’ll be cheering for them to do whatever it takes to play in Lambeau Field in January, regardless of theirs or the Packers’ seeding position.
It’s the matchup everybody wants, from all of the Packers fans whose hearts were broken on Sept. 24 and went to work the next day on no sleep, to the most casual football fan in America who doesn’t know whether the ball is pumped or stuffed up but knows injustice when they see it and wants to see justice served.
Yeah, that’s the matchup.
Go Seahawks! Additional coverage - Packers vs. Titans