Green Bay fans, it looks like there's hope after all. With this week's 30-24 win over the San Francisco 49ers, the Pack is back in the thick of the playoff race. Albeit, we're gunning for a Wild Card spot, since it appears as though Judas Favre and the Minnesota Vikings have the NFC North position locked with their nauseatingly impressive record of 8-1.
In the first half of Sunday's game, the Packers looked every bit the part of a team vying for a role in the Super Bowl. With 362 yards on offense and 17 first downs (compared to the 49ers one), the Packers controlled the game on both offense and defense. Aaron Rodgers and his offense possessed the ball for 22:32 in the first half alone, which resulted in the commanding 23-3 lead after the first 30 minutes.
The defense took a few substantial hits in the second half that resulted in the Packer's loss of two key players: outside linebacker Aaron Kampman and cornerback Al Harris. Both players are out for the rest of the season with knee injuries. This is not good news for Packer fans... not good news at all. Kampman was leading the Packer's charge in quarterback sacks, while Harris has regularly been matched up against the opposing team's No. 1 receiver.
Though both of these key players will be sorely missed, McCarthy and General Manager Ted Thompson are already making moves to fill the impending void. Thompson announced Tuesday that the Packer's signed cornerback Josh Bell, and Tramon Williams is used to Harris' role on the field, as he covered for the cornerback last year when he was out with a ruptured spleen. Rookie Brad Jones will likely take the place of Kampman.
As the Packers prepare to face NFC North rival the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving, most fans are looking ahead to playoff possibilities. After previously defeating the Lions 26-0, and with quarterback Matt Stafford's dislocated left shoulder, this match up should be a breeze for the now 6-4 Green Bay team. Though the Lions may be reeling after their 38-37 victory over the Cleveland Browns, the Packer's also appear to be flying high.
With the Philadelphia Eagle's win over the Chicago Bears, the Packers are now part of a three-way tie with the New York Giants and the Eagles for the Wild Card position. With only six games remaining, and only three real challenges--at home against the Ravens, and away versus both the Steelers and the Cardinals--the Packers have a real shot at the big dance.
And with the playoffs comes one thing every Packers fan is dreaming about: a third shot at the Minnesota Vikings and Brett Favre. It's too soon to predict what that field day may include, but in the case of the Green Bay v. Brett Favre, one can only hope that third time's a charm.
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