Gliding along, play-off calm

So raise your hand if you're nervous about Sunday (removes hand from type-writer, raises it). You honest folks can put your hands down. You wouldn't be a true fan if you weren't nervous, but that doesn't mean you can't be confident at the same time. I am optimistic as always, but Sunday afternoon can't get here soon enough, dear readers. By January, we all have so much invested in this particular squad that the prospect of it all ending in a few days is nerve-wracking to say the least... but there is always an inverse, a mirror-world, and that investment also means I am wildly excited for Sunday. It's natural. Go with it. I think we've got more reason for optimism than fear. Love Smith isn't the only one afraid of the Packers as the play-offs start this weekend. Remember, folks, they're just as nervous and excited as we are.

I can't just sit around twiddlin' my thumbs all week, so I cleaned out the base-ment yesterday, and I found my ice skates. Me and my buddy J strolled over to the ice rink in the park down the way last night to shoot the puck around. I haven't laced them up in the last decade, but skating is like riding a bike or watching the Packers win: It's natural. After about five minutes my legs and the bottoms of my poor feet were burning like a boiling vat of cheese, so I just glided around the edges to catch my breath. After a few minutes I was able to settle in and really skate. This adventure on the frozen lagoon reminded me how much fun skating is, and it took my mind off of Sunday for a few hours, but on the way home it also reminded me of the challenge the Green and Gold will face in Philadelphia.

You can bet your bottom dollar the Packers and the Eagles will both feel the nerves and excited-ness that I referenced above, and in a game of two talented teams, the team that gets through the difficult opening drives in the best shape will have a decided advantage. In the NFL play-offs, you don't have the luxury of gliding along until your feet loosen up, and a fast (or slow) start could be the difference-maker. We all saw how a slow start knocked us out of the tournament last season...

The Packers are clearly the 'hotter' team, and probably the better team, so maybe they don't need a hot start so much as they need to avoid a major mistake in the early going, but the Eagles need a hot start to have a good chance, dear readers. Aside from the start, the obvious key to victory is blowing up their offensive line, through the energized defensive front and slot blitzing. This will limit their deep passing attack, but it will also serve to contain Vick. I'm far more worried about the Eagles running game - both from Vick and the under-rated youngster McCoy - than I am about that passing attack. We can't let them beat us up with the run, and having Cullen Jenkins back to work alongside Raji and Pickett will certainly help that cause. I don't think Vick can beat our secondary with his arm. In week one he ran them back into the game, but Dom wasn't planning for Vick that time around.

On the flip side, the Eagles defense is a shell of it's week-one-self, and that is the unit that should really be worried. This isn't the Bears defense, folks, and Rodgers and Company shouldn't have any problems matching their week one production. Unless they shoot them-selves in the foot (which might hurt as much as 'skate foot').

The possibility of disappointment worries me but the tape and stats help alleviate those worries, allowing me to enjoy the excitement of play-off foot-ball more and more. So I'm gliding along, play-off calm, and thinking positively as the week-end approaches. And you should too, dear readers! This is what we've been waiting for since last January. Wear your Green and Gold with pride, savor the moment and mark it, folks: Packers 33 - Eagles 13.

Until next time, then,