by Mark Metzler
I have this game I play with Vikings fans, asking them to switch to the Packers. It starts by me saying, “You’re too smart to be a Vikings fan.” The answer I usually get is some sort of grunt. Then I follow it up with, “And you’re too nice of a person to go through so much pain.”
I don’t get a response to that either other than a stare filled with contempt. Then I finish it up with, “We have room for you. It’s not too late. You can be a Packers fan. We’d welcome you.” The answer I usually get to that is, “I’m not going to be a X%$%% Packers fan.”
Of course, I don’t really expect them to change, and my invitation is half-hearted, at best. But there are many good and smart people who are Vikings fans. And I truly wish they would have a better outcome than they have for more than 60 years
So, I have to wonder why they put themselves through so much pain year after year. I’ve actually thought about it a lot – I have friends who are hurting. I do understand. When it comes to baseball, I’ve been a Chicago Cubs fan since I was a little boy. While the team had teams could have went to the World Series in 1969, 1984 and 2003, the team always failed. Since the 1950s they were known as “lovable losers.” As a fan, my expectation was that even when they had a good team, they would find a way to mess it up. While the Vikings are different in they have had actually had a lot of good teams, the bottom line is the same.
I do think their fans expect that the team will find a way to lose. That is, I think, the major difference from Packers fans. Packers fans expect their team to win. But there is hope for Vikings fans. The Cubs turned it around and won the 2016 World Series. As a fan, it was the greatest fan day of my life – baseball or football. So, I truly hope that someday soon Vikings fans will be able to experience that joy. And, if they give up, most Packers fans really would welcome them.
As far as the playoffs are concerned, this Packers team has some work to do this weekend. The Los Angeles Rams beat the Seattle Seahawks and will be coming to Lambeau Field. I think the Seahawks were a bit overrated, but I did think the Seahawks would have won that game. The Rams showed a great defense against the Seahawks with an exceptional defensive line and a very good secondary. They don’t have a lot offensively, but they do have enough to win most games, and the Rams are well-coached.
I expect the Packers will have a solid game plan in place and will win the game 24-16. I look for a good game from Aaron Jones, especially executing on short passes, and I do expect a good game from tight end Robert Tonyan.
On the other side of the division you have the Saints against the Buccaneers and a battle of two 40-plus quarterbacks. It should be epic, but I expect the Buccaneers to eke out a win.
The All-Pro teams were announced last week, and the Packers had four first-team All Pros, all on offense, with Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Corey Linsley and the injured David Bakhtiari. That was first time the Packers had that many All-Pro players since 1967. On defense, Jaire Alexander and Za’Darius Smith were named to the second team.
Well, it should be an epic game. My expectation is the Packers will beat the Rams with the game coming down to the Packers offensive line, minus Bakhtiari, holding up against the Rams rush. It will be a big test.