So my beloved Packers are returning to Golgotha on Thursday, to once again face the dread Cowboys in a game that most of America won't get to see. What else can you do but make the picks:
Packers 34, Cowboys 31. This is a different era and this is a different Cowboys team than the ones that made ol' number 4's life so miserable a decade or so ago. Terrell Owens is an annoying prima donna but he's about the only guy on America's Team who is worthy of scorn. It's hard not to admire Tony Romo, Marion Barber and most of the others on this team. They are a worthy opponent and realistically should be favored to win. But there's something ineffable, maybe even magical, about what's been happening this year in Green Bay. Our man Brett has been exorcising his demons in unfriendly stadia all season long. The Packers had never won in Denver or Kansas City before this year. They have now. The Packers haven't won a game in Dallas since 1989. I think there's a little more magic in this season. And if the Packers win, all roads lead to Lambeau.
ACTUAL RESULT: HOW 'BOUT THEM COWBOAHS 37, PACKERS 27. Didn't see the game, but saw enough of the highlights and heard enough commentary from people who know what they are talking about to know a few things: it could have been a lot worse and it wasn't all bad. Nothing has changed, really - if my beloved Packers want to get to the Super Bowl, they have to win a game in Dallas. That is still true. And even though ol' number 4 went down with an injury, the Pack did not fold. Aaron Rodgers apparently played pretty well - this was no T. J. Rubley situation. The Packers really needed to see what would happen to Rodgers when the lights were on, and he did just fine. In fact, I heard from a number of jealous/quizzical Vikings fans today who were wondering why Rodgers knew what he was doing, when the current incumbent at Winter Park clearly does not. So we'll see what happens the rest of the way and perhaps it will be back to Dallas in January.
Motor City Kitties 31, Purple Helmeted Love Warriors 21. There's no disputing that the Vikings won in impressive fashion over the weekend. And the Lions are not playing very well right now, following a good start, and historically there's no reason to expect the Lions to win here, since they never do. But these Vikings are almost as fickle as their long-suffering fan base and this is precisely the kind of game that the Vikings have shown a propensity to lose over the years. I can see Adrian Peterson returning to the lineup, having a huge day, and still seeing the Vikings lose in some bizarre way. The guess here is that Roy Williams goes off after being a non-factor on Turkey Day.
ACTUAL RESULT: VIKINGS 42, TABBY CATS 10. Guess my prediction wasn't very good. Congrats to the purplish fellows, who have to their credit made a nice rebound following the debacle at Lambeau.