Greetings from the Frozen Tundra, friends!
If you are traveling in the great state of Wisconsin today, you could possibly find yourself making a pit stop. You know, taking the next exit for a potty break, or perhaps you only need to get out of the car for a few minutes just to prevent child abuse.
You know what I'm saying: three kids fighting in the backseat, the dog howling hysterically and your spouse looking at you with hate in his or her eyes because it was your idea to take a trip "out of town."
Yes, please stop the car prior to any type of abuse happening.
When you pull into the little town, you notice something peculiar. You drive by two identical Lutheran churches, and there are maybe two cars in the parking lots. You may wonder why there are two Lutheran churches side by side, but you also may wonder, "My goodness! It's Sunday! Why is no one in church?"
You decide to press on, as it is not your role in life to judge others for their lack of participation in church.
As you drive through main street, you notice that there are no people on the streets. The taverns are the only businesses that seem to have any activity at all. You may wonder if the citizens of this small, sleepy community have decided to take their communion wine in the form of Old Milwaukee beer, but you, again, will not pass judgement.
The local Wal-Mart has an empty parking lot. The local parks are devoid of humanity on this crisp, September day. When you pull into the truck stop, you hear the humming of the semis, but no human voices.
You start to believe that you have wandered into a "The Hills Have Eyes" situation and you begin to feel a slight twinge of fear as you gather your children to go into the restaurant. You may cast uneasy glances over your shoulder as you are sure that serial killers lurk behind every tree and bush but you make it into the restaurant relatively unscathed.
You take your seat, after wrangling your children into the booth (children on the inside of the booth, parents on the outside), and are approached by a surly waitress with a 30 year old smoker's cough and a "you are ruining my day" demeanor.
Your spouse, completely unaware of your unease, orders food and then the surly waitress turns to you. Before you order, you find yourself blurting out, "Where are all the people?" The waitress, pushing back her hairnet, snorts/coughs once and fixes her one good eye on you...You wait with bated breath.
"Why! The Packers are playing da Bears! You didn't know that? Where are you from? Minnesota?"
Yup. The Packers are indeed playing da Bears this fine day, my friends!
All (relatively) normal activity in Wisconsin has stopped for the day, but will resume after around 7 p.m. tonight, pending overtime and the postgame breakdown.
While Wisconsin may be very quiet today, please note that we are still watching you as your drive by our house. Especially if you are an 85 year old Norwegian Grandpa named Jiggs: He is watching you with his binoculars that he keeps by his chair at all times, and please believe that he will defend his home from all intruders. He bites, sometimes.
You have been warned. Don't mess with the elderly.
Anyway, as previously stated, we have a football game today! And, friends, this is a big one. In case you are just becoming a fan of football, the Bears and the Packers are two of the oldest football franchises in the NFL. With the two teams in the same division, playing against each other, since 1921, it means that fans of the two teams have generations of experience with each other. You know, taunting, ridiculing, and trash talking?
When the Packers and the Bears play each other, Packer fans are reminded of the 1985-86 Super Bowl. Who, alive in Wisconsin at that time, doesn't remember the Chicago Bears "Super Bowl Shuffle?"
While the song itself left some people saying, "Wow, football players shouldn't rap" it served as a constant reminder that the Packers were struggling, and would continue to struggle until the 1990's.
The Packers struggle no more!
After defeating the Bears once in the regular season, and once in the playoffs, the Packers went on to win Super Bowl XLV, much to glee of Packers fans. Bears fans? They, too, remember history and knocking the Bears out of a nearly assured Super Bowl opportunity is not going to be taken lightly.
So, let's break down the upcoming game, shall we?
The Packers are coming into Soldier Field 2-0. After beating the New Orleans Saints in week one, at Lambeau Field, a lot of Packers fans found themselves very optimistic about a repeat Super Bowl victory, despite a good rally in the second half by the invigorated Saints.
However, the Carolina Panthers in week two showed a very different Packers. The defense, as usual, showed one of the main reasons that the Packers went to the Super Bowl last year. The offense, when finally making it onto the field, showed a few holes.
The Packers had quite a few missed opportunities against the Panthers. Dropped balls, missed tackles and even a few penalties, to say the least. "Catch the ball, run the route, make the tackle, repeat" seems to be a good mantra to live by.
Why, you only had to watch a few minutes of the Panthers game to see Aaron Rodgers nearly lose his mind with frustration. If you missed it, Mr. Cool, Calm and Collected appeared to yell at John Kuhn (KUUUHNN!!!) when he missed an opportunity to score. It was also apparent that our quarterback was a little peeved when he started issuing "Blue Steel" stares, via "Zoolander," to any player that walked into his line of vision.
The Bear's defense probably also saw the frustration and missed opportunities and will use it to their advantage. Brian Urlacher is, possibly, right now just randomly tackling people and things just to get warmed up for Aaron Rodgers.
To the Packers offensive line: get yourself ready for a fight.
Yes, the Bears offense has a few holes, too. Jay Cutler, aka the man who has never smiled, knows the Packers defense well. He also knows that the Packers defense is just waiting for the shaky Bears offensive line to just slip up one time and BAM! Clay Matthews says, "Good afternoon and good day, young Cutler."
Additionally, what Packer fan wouldn't love to see B.J. Raji sack Jay Cutler and do his little dance again in Chicago? Perhaps seeing B.J. Raji dance would make Jay Cutler at least crack a little smile.
Seriously, Chicago, what have you done to Jay Cutler to make him look like he is going to burst into tears during every game?
Basically, the gist of my prediction is this: Look for a low scoring game that is heavy on field goals. The game will be decided based on which team's defense tires out first. The Bears and the Packers know each other well, which will make it a good ol' dirty brawl, just the way that Packers-Bears games should be.
While I love the Green Bay Packers, the recent history between the two teams, and playing in Chicago, will have a major impact on the outcome of the game. Soldier Field is going to be loud, the field is going to be, as normal, crappy at best, and the Bears are going to be like real bears coming out of hibernation: as surly as a waitress in a truck stop and hungry.
Get ready, guys.
The Bears may pull off a squeaker of a win. You should probably make sure you have extra alcohol provisions for this one.
I have been wrong before though!
Let's hope so.