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Week 13: Any result but a loss — even a tie — is gravy for the Green Bay Packers until Aaron Rodgers returns healthy
November 27, 2013 - Matt Wellens
I think Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy summed up what many in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula felt on Sunday following his team’s 26-26 tie with the Minnesota Vikings.
‘‘It’s an empty feeling. You go out there and didn’t lose the game,’’ Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. ‘‘But you feel like you didn’t accomplish what you set out to do.’’
Then there’s the take of Vikings defensive end Jared Allen.
‘‘I don’t have a sister, but I’m going to say it’s like going to prom with your sister,” Allen said.
Then there was me, the college hockey writer and former soccer player, who has been part of countless tie matches on the pitch and I’ve probably covered even more from a press box in the past decade.
I was perfectly content with the Packers tying the Vikings, and it had nothing to my acquired taste for competitions that resulted in no official winners or losers.
Since Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone, I’ve admittedly given up any hope of the Packers earning a victory, whether its Seneca Wallace, Scott Tolzien or Matt Flynn under center.
And based on the play of the defense lately, I’m not sure this team can win with No. 12 healthy, so anything the Packers get while Rodgers is on the sidelines is gravy, including ties against a two-win Vikings team.
In fact, I’d even consider Sunday a moral victory for the Packers since they were able to erase a 16-point deficit in the fourth quarter with a QB — Flynn — who struggles to throw the ball past 10 yards.
But that’s just me and I expect the rest of you to be more on the side of Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk, who was a bobbled catch away from letting Christian Ponder lead a game-winning overtime drive.
‘‘I think to everybody around here, it feels like a loss, for sure,’’ Hawk said.
Now on to this week’s picks, where I’ll feature the three Thanksgiving Day games, plus this weekend’s Sunday and Monday night contests.
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
12:30 p.m. Thursday, FOX
Whether it’s Tolzien or Flynn at QB, the Packers have no business winning in Detroit on Thanksgiving, except the Lions have lost nine straight on Turkey Day and have made a habit of losing to teams they should blow out like the Buccaneers and Steelers. Packers 21, Lions 20
4:30 p.m. Thursday, CBS
The only thing worse than horrible cranberry sauce/gelatin on Thanksgiving is Phil Simms and his lame Iron Man Awards. It’s always been a terrible attempt to rip off John Madden’s turducken legs. I’d rather win FOX’s new Galloping Gobbler trophy than a Phil Simms’ Iron Man Award, and the Galloping Gobbler is just a horrible running joke between Troy Aikman and Joe Buck. Save yourself the awkwardness, turn off the TV from 4:30-8:30 p.m. and stuff your face with food during this game. Cowboys 31, Raiders 13
8:30 p.m. Thursday, NFL Network
Those who stay home to watch this game are better people in life than those who go feed the Black Friday beast and go shopping. You can get the same deals Walmart, Target and Best Buy are offering online at Amazon.com without being trampled by a shopping cart. You’re also not keeping a minimum-wage worker away from their family on the ultimate family holiday. Stay home. Watch football. Ravens 24, Steelers 18
8:30 p.m. Sunday, NBC
This battle between the two worst teams in the NFC East makes Steelers-Ravens look like a dream matchup. This would be an appropriate time to go shopping. Giants 14, Redskins 13
8:40 p.m. Monday, ESPN
For once, ESPN gets the marque matchup of the week and this is a potential NFC Championship preview. Saints are good, but the Seahawks are unreal at home. Seahawks 37, Saints 34
Here are the rest of this week’s picks with winners in bold:
Buccaneers at Panthers
Jaguars at Browns
Titans at Colts
Broncos at Chiefs
Bears at Vikings
Dolphins at Jets
Cardinals at Eagles
Falcons at Bills
Rams at 49ers
Patriots at Texans
Bengals at Chargers
Last week: 5-8-1.
Matt Wellens is Sports Editor of the Mining Journal. Check out his Armchair QB column every week at www.miningjournal.net and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/mattwellens. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Green Bay Packers NFL football quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) practices in Ashwaubenon, Wisc., on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. At right is Packers quarterback Matt Flynn. (AP Photo/The Green Bay Press-Gazette, Lukas Keapproth)