On Thanksgiving, the Green Bay Packers did something rather sad. They didn't just lose to the Lions—no great shame these days, the way they're playing—but were eviscerated by them. The final score was 40-10, and it never even felt that close.
Much of this is due to awful quarterback play with Aaron Rodgers out. It's not like Matt Flynn is working with his full cast, considering Jermichael Finley and Randall Cobb are out. Yet it was the defense and the line that were so lousy that it was barely recognizable as the Packers team that has put the fear of Football Gods into the NFC for years now.
This loss, coupled with the Falcons' win on Sunday, seems to have convinced many that the Falcons are going to beat the Packers. It's a narrative that fits many themes within it: The Falcons' penchant for doing exactly what the fans don't want them to do, two decent games in a row and the Packers collapsing without their quarterback.
There's just one thing: I don't think the Falcons are going to win this game.
For one thing, consider the last two games for the Falcons. They played a tired Saints team to the hilt at home, but that's the way those division games always go. Against the Bills, their feature back managed less than four yards per carry, Matt Ryan was sacked six times and hit all game, the defense couldn't come up with a single sack and C.J. Spiller went off for well over 100 yards...and they won by three in overtime. That's the kind of win that will warm your heart, but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence.
The Packers, meanwhile, have a capable power back in Eddie Lacy and an opportunistic defense that picked Matthew Stafford multiple times. Everything that could have possibly gone wrong for them did, and there's no denying that this is a very different football team with even a limited Aaron Rodgers under center. I don't buy into the idea of momentum in football, so I don't necessarily believe the Falcons are building a head of steam. They're just getting a little healthier and playing more competent football. I'm not sure that's going to be enough against a Packers team suddenly clinging for their playoff lives.
The idea that this team is suddenly going to find something that makes them a legitimate threat to win three or even two of their last four games seems insane to me, and it runs contrary to everything we've been saying about them all year. I'm not ruling out a win Sunday, but I'd find it hard to expect one.
If you're wondering, I have the Falcons at 4-12 for the year, getting one final win against the messed-up Redskins. How about you?