Green Bay best off to pack it in
I’m sure it would’ve been of little comfort on Sunday night, but this swoon by the Green Bay Packers since quarterback Aaron Rodgers was injured could prove to be a blessing in disguise.
The good thing that a bunch of wins by Brett Hundley would’ve provided was that the Packers have a more-than-capable backup for Rodgers.
And Hundley may not actually be too bad, especially considering his performance against Pittsburgh on Sunday.
But the bad that’s come of it may be enough to shut down Rodgers for the remainder of the season — and for a team that looked shorthanded even with their star QB leading them, the future looks brighter than the here and now.
A side benefit to missing Rodgers is that it should put the proper spotlight on the team’s shortcomings so they can finally be addressed — things like defensive depth.
As a Detroit Lions fan, I should be thrilled to get Green Bay out of the way. And I would, except Detroit is exposing its own shortcomings now, too.
Don’t look for me to jump on the Vikings bandwagon — that ain’t gonna happen, even if I have to pick them to win a lot of the time.
Onto this week’s picks:
Today, 8:30 p.m.
Washington at Dallas —
This is a pick against the Cowboys. It just happens that Washington is standing there ready to take advantage. Redskins, 27-16.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Minnesota at Atlanta —
When the Falcons have the ball, this may well be Super Bowl football when you factor in the Vikings’ defense. I’d call that part of the game a standoff, but I like Minnesota a lot better when the ball’s in their hands against the leaky Atlanta “D.” Vikings, 31-24.
Detroit at Baltimore —
Another tough defense for the Lions after seeing Minnesota on Turkey Day. Ravens, 23-19.
New England at Buffalo —
The Bills got their mojo back by returning Tyrod Taylor as QB. Then New England comes to town. Patriots, 33-20.
San Francisco at Chicago —
Two teams probably better than their records. But as Bill Parcells famously said, “You are what your record says you are.” Bears, 20-17.
Tampa Bay at Green Bay —
In this Battle of the Bays, I’ll take the northerly outpost in December every time. Packers, 24-16.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville —
Jacksonville’s road advantage didn’t work last week, so let’s see if its new-found comforts of home work any better. Jaguars, 29-23.
Denver at Miami —
Miami might be no great shakes, but shaking the Broncos awake seems an exercise in futility. Dolphins, 24-17.
Carolina at New Orleans —
I would hope New Orleans is angry after getting their eight-game win streak snapped in La-La-Land. Saints, 24-19.
Kansas City at New York Jets —
Another mediocre squad, the Jets, facing a team gunning it in reverse. Jets, 20-13.
Houston at Tennessee —
If Tennessee wants to sit at the big-boys table, they’ve got to dispatch of teams like the Texans. Titans, 31-28.
Sunday, 4 p.m.
Cleveland at Los Angeles Chargers —
I can just see the Browns getting their only win this season on a cross-country trip against a team just hitting its stride. Oops, sorry, I must’ve been dreaming. Chargers, 27-17.
Los Angeles Rams at Arizona —
A letdown in the Mojave would show these Rams aren’t for real yet. Let’s hope their coaches are instilling just that message. Rams, 33-23.
New York Giants at Oakland —
It’s only been two weeks since the Giants won. Go back to sleep till Week 15. Raiders, 38-29.
Sunday, 8:30 p.m.
Philadelphia at Seattle —
Seattle’s ready to show it’s for real. But how do you do that against an impenetrable wall like Philly? Eagles, 31-24.
Monday, 8:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh at Cincinnati —
If this wasn’t a divisional rivalry, I’d worry a lot about getting Pittsburgh’s full attention. Steelers, 27-23.
Last week —
13-3, 81 percent. Season —
110-66, 63 percent.
Steve Brownlee can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 252. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.