A sense of urgency sorely needed for the Green Bay Packers

Steve Brownlee

Sunday’s debacle by the Green Bay Packers against New Orleans got me thinking of a famous quote by the team’s beyond-legendary coach, Vince Lombardi.

No, not “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing” nor “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.”

Though those are perfectly good quotes to cite with what happened Sunday.

I was thinking more along the lines of “What the hell is going on out here?” that comes up on some of these NFL archive specials when they want to inject some emotion into their shows.

So just what the … um … I’ll say “heck” … was going on in Jacksonville, Florida?

The best analogy that came to my mind was when the No. 1 playoff seed rolls so far ahead of the field where it doesn’t have anything to play for in the final two or three weeks of the regular season, then gets a week off with a bye to start the playoffs.

Meanwhile, their first opponent comes in as the lowest seed, a team that had to fight tooth-and-nail to get in and had been in sudden-death mode continually for the past six or seven weeks.

You know where I’m going with this, eh? The big underdog pulls off the upset, or if it doesn’t, it puts a huge scare into the supposed Super Bowl shoo-in.

It seems like the Packers were that No. 1 seed, with Aaron Rodgers not playing at all in the preseason and really the whole team being preoccupied with all that swirled around him throughout the summer.

And the Saints, well, quarterback Jameis Winston was in for the fight of his life all preseason trying to get his team’s starting signal caller’s job.

Add in the desperate situation with the Saints going “up against the world” as they were displaced into Texas to practice for several weeks before becoming vagabonds, looking for an empty stadium to play their home games in.

It’s probably too simplistic to say that’s the whole reason things went down the way they did, but I could see where Green Bay was unable to right the ship once it took a direct shot to the bow early on.

Somehow, even if this wasn’t a wake-up call or if the fans get ugly by a slow start on Monday night, I think the porous Detroit Lions defense will come to the rescue. More on that later.

Here’s the Week 2 picks:


Today, 8:20 p.m.

New York Giants at Washington — I can just see the “Football Team” putting themselves in the Saints’ Week 1 shoes, with Ryan Fitzpatrick going down with what sounds like a scary hip injury as this team is forced to rely on backup Taylor Heinicke. So I’ll take the Football Team, 27-23.


Sunday, 1 p.m.

New Orleans at Carolina — This feels like a trap game for the Saints, expending all their emotional energy vs. the Pack. However, I think Winston should be good for a couple more weeks before opposing defensive coordinators figure out a way to put more pressure on him trying to get him started on another 30-interception season. Saints, 33-26.


Cincinnati at Chicago — When a team like the Packers plays so uncharacteristically, you figure it’s a blip on the radar that shouldn’t happen again. Same goes for the Bears’ defense with the way they played against the Rams on Sunday night. Bears, 20-16.


Houston at Cleveland — The Texans should be excited they’re 1-0, unless they were hoping to challenge the Lions for the No. 1 draft pick to replace Deshaun Watson. Browns, 31-21.


Los Angeles Rams at Indianapolis — Carson Wentz won’t be a miracle worker in Indy, at least not immediately. In this immediate week, figure the Rams, 40-24.


Denver at Jacksonville — If Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence only need half a season to figure out the NFL, they’ll be way ahead. But we’re seven weeks short of that right now. Broncos, 29-25.


Buffalo at Miami — I gotta believe the Bills are steamed at their offense getting pushed around by the Steelers. Bills, 37-19.


New England at New York Jets — Bill Belichick is back in his element — taunting an opposing rookie QB. Patriots, 26-17.


San Francisco at Philadelphia — The Lions should’ve taught San Fran to play until the final whistle, or at least until the two-minute warning when you have a three-touchdown lead. 49ers, 30-24.


Las Vegas at Pittsburgh — When the gritty, rock-solid team plays their glitzy cousins, I always like the rock. Steelers, 24-19.


Sunday, 4 p.m.

Minnesota at Arizona — Couldn’t figure out what happened to the Vikings on Sunday, but I do know how impressive Arizona’s Chandler Jones’ five QB sacks were. Cardinals, 27-19.


Atlanta at Tampa Bay — The Bucs got their wake-up when they almost blew it against the non-defense of the Cowboys on opening night. Buccaneers, 33-23.


Dallas at Los Angeles Chargers — I like two-dimensional teams over one-dimensional ones. And Dallas looks flat. Chargers, 34-26.


Tennessee at Seattle — The Titans took a punch to the mouth against the Cardinals, but playing IN Seattle isn’t a good place to walk off your hangover. Seahawks, 27-21.


Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Kansas City at Baltimore — The Ravens get back-to-back prime-time games to open the season. It goes to show why you shouldn’t let wins slip through your hands — you can get to 0-2 real fast playing KC. Chiefs, 28-24.


Monday, 8:15 p.m.

Detroit at Green Bay — Speaking of hangovers, the Detroit defense should be a good stomach-coating antidote for the rough week Rodgers & Co. are having this week. However, if the Pack starts celebrating too early, this new-found passion in the Lions is already showing the kind of comeback they can make. Packers, 31-24.


Last week and the season — 9-7, 56 percent.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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