Green Bay Packers staring at lean times
The less said the better about a 4-10 picking record last week. So onto today’s real topic — the Green Bay Packers.
I was looking at several things to comment on, including a time when it might’ve been good to go for a two-point conversion in the third quarter, or the New England-New York Jets fumbling-into-the-end-zone play.
But a huge number of you are much more concerned about your favorite team 180 miles south of here.
I always admit when I’m talking about Detroit or Green Bay that I’m a Lions fan, just not a real enthusiastic one.
So I won’t sugar coat it, it sounds like the Packers are going to have a difficult time without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
You have to think all the warts that Rodgers helped cover up are now going to be exposed, like a leaky defense and offensive line, even with both hurt more by injuries than anything else.
One telling comment I heard from an ESPN analyst was that even if new QB Brett Hundley turns into what would be considered an average NFL starting signal caller — say the 15th- or 16th-best rated at his position — that still is a big dropoff from where Rodgers was.
However, there’s nothing that has to stop Green Bay from finding lightning in a bottle with Hundley. He could be the next Jimmy Garoppolo, who also hardly ever gets to play with Tom Brady in front of him.
Give Hundley a week to settle in, then see if he can be compared at all to Rodgers. Good luck, though remember, every Hall of Famer gets a start somewhere.
Onto this week’s picks, employing my “switch half of the teams” strategy:
Today, 8:30 p.m.
Kansas City at Oakland — KC better be a little PO’d after they laid an egg on national TV against the Steelers. Not switching this pick. Chiefs, 40-27.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Tampa Bay at Buffalo — I keep thinking the Bucs’ defense is going to show up. Until it does, I’m off the TB bandwagon. No switch here. Bills, 28-20.
Carolina at Chicago — Two enigmas. So I made the switch. Bears, 20-17.
Tennessee at Cleveland — It’s a victory when the Browns make it close. No switch. Titans, 22-16.
New Orleans at Green Bay — Too much pressure on the Packers’ defense against Drew Brees & Co. No switch. Saints, 34-23.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis — As long as the Jags aren’t playing in Jacksonville, they look good. No switch. Jaguars, 37-27.
Arizona vs. Los Angeles Rams, at London — This will be a night game in England. Not that it matters, but I’ll make the switch. Cardinals, 24-19.
New York Jets at Miami — Both teams have surprised, so it’s close enough to switch. Jets, 20-15.
Baltimore at Minnesota — I committed to seven switches in 15 games, and this is the one I feel most queasy about. But I’ll still do it. Ravens, 23-21.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh — I’ll count on the Steelers to not crash after knocking off the last undefeated team, especially with this being a rivalry game. No switch. Steelers, 24-17.
Sunday, 4 p.m.
Dallas at San Francisco — If this was horseshoes, the 49ers lead the league with six leaners, including their last five pitches. They’ve lost every one of their last five games by two or three points, two in overtime, and lost another earlier in the season by a single point. But all that proves is they know how to lose. No switch. Cowboys, 28-24.
Denver at Los Angeles Chargers — This seems just crazy enough of a game for the not-so-obvious team to win. Switching this one. Broncos, 17-13.
Seattle at New York Giants — Speaking about crazy, yeah, switch this one too. Giants, 23-22.
Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
Atlanta at New England — This is about as much of a dud for a matchup of last year’s Super Bowl teams, considering how neither has looked much like itself lately. So it’s the ol’ switcheroo for the seventh and final time. Patriots, 37-33.
Monday, 8:30 p.m.
Washington at Philadelphia — The Eagles are ripe for a letdown. But this is a prime-time game and a rivalry game. No switch. Eagles, 31-26.
Last week — 4-10, 29 percent. Season — 50-41, 55 percent.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.