By Alex Weisse
There is a lot of talk about this week’s Packers-Vikings game. Most of the talk revolves around Brett Favre’s return to Lambeau Field, which is a legitimately interesting story. It seems that most Packers fans will consider a win again Brett Favre as mandatory for the season to be a success. These fans might be right, but not because of the novelty of Favre being on the opposite sideline.
The Packers already have four wins in their first six games this year. That leaves only two more wins in the next ten games to match the win total of last year. With games against Tampa Bay (0-7) and Detroit (1-5) remaining, six wins should be easily achievable.
However, it is not exactly clear how easily the Packers will get more than these six wins. Reviewing the games played so far, the Packers have beaten Chicago (3-3). St. Louis (0-7), Detroit (1-5), and Cleveland (1-6) – a combined record of 5-21. The teams they have lost to are Cincinnati (5-2) and Minnesota (6-1). The Packers have shown that they can beat bad teams, and they even beat the average Bears, but they have not shown that they can beat the really good teams. That might be a problem given the remainder of the schedule.
The upcoming games against the Bucs and the Lions have already been mentioned as probable wins. The Packers also play a very questionable Seahawks team (2-4) later in the season, which could be a seventh win. Unfortunately, he Packers also list Dallas (4-2), Pittsburgh (5-2) and Arizona (4-2) remaining on their schedule, with only the game against the Cowboys being played at Lambeau Field. If the Packers fail to beat any of these teams, then the playoff chances lie on play of 3 games against San Francisco (3-3), Baltimore (3-3), and Chicago (3-3), with only the game in Soldier Field being played away from home. The Packers would need to win each of these three games, as well as the previously mentioned winnable games, in order to get to win number 10. Even 10 wins might not be enough to guarantee a playoff spot. In order to secure that playoff spot, the Packers need one victory over a quality team. Whereas beating Dallas would be the most important in securing a playoff spot (getting the head-to-head victory is crucial in the tie-breakers, and Dallas looks like a possible wild card team), and that game will be played at home, a win again Favre would give the Packers confidence going into the second-half of the season. A loss against Favre, only a few weeks prior to the Cowboys game, could devastate the team’s morale, especially given the media stress of the importance of this game.
Vegas gives the Packers the edge over the Vikings this week, but it is unclear what Vegas sees to give the Packers this edge. However, oddsmakers do believe that there is a solid chance that the Packers can win this game. If they do, then the Packers should be able to secure a playoff spot this year, which would be a marked improvement over last year’s 6-10 season. A loss might doom the rest of the season. Favre aside, this game could be critically important to the Packers success. With Favre, this game will be fascinating to watch.
Catch my weekly column on the Packers every week prior to kick-off.
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