Golden opportunity

A win over Panthers will keep Green Bay in thick of division race

Just win ONE, baby!

It seems most of the so-called experts and many fans feel that the Green Bay Packers are destined to have a dismal 2005 season. That could change rather quickly if the Packers can secure a win Monday night against the Carolina Panthers. The Detroit Lions lost to the Bucs in Tampa and the Vikings lost to the Falcons in Atlanta Sunday. The Bears can't lose this week as they have a bye. If the Packers can tame the Panthers, the NFC North will look like this on Tuesday morning:

Detroit 1-2
Chicago 1-2
Green Bay 1-3
Minnesota 1-3

Believe it or not, the Packers would only be 1/2 game out of first place in the NFC North with 5 divisional games to play. The Packers have dug themselves a hole with their winless start. However, with a couple of breaks, the Packers could just as easily be 2-1 had the officials gotten some calls correct. Still, the Packers can't play the would of, should of, could of game. The past is the past. The future, however, can still be played out.

Mike Sherman and Brett Favre have faced adversity and slow starts before. They have always been able to beat the odds. Nobody gave the Packers a chance to win the NFC North in 2003 or 2004 as the Vikings jumped out to early leads both years. In 2003, the Packers received a miracle on the last game of the season, as the Cardinals' Nate Poole caught a TD pass on the last play of the game to knock the Vikings out of first place in the NFC North and also out of the playoffs. In 2004, the Packers started out 1-4 and still came back to win the division.

The NFC North in 2005 is still very much wide open. The Bears and Lions are struggling at the QB position because of youthful mistakes. The Vikings, even with Daunte Culpepper at QB, are struggling as well as Culpepper has been a turnover machine. Brett Favre has made his share of mistakes too, but at least his track record indicates that the good will far outweigh the bad in the end. Culpepper will most likely regain his Pro Bowl form as well.

The NFC North in 2005 will be a lot like the NFC North in 2003 and 2004. The Packers and Vikings will battle for supremacy because of their superior talent and experience at QB, while the Lions and Bears will show promise, but not enough to overcome the deficiencies at QB.

It all begins Monday night for the Packers. One win could start a domino effect of success. The Packers have been streaky the last few years.

A win over the Panthers Monday could be the start of a winning streak. Success breads success. Sherman has never coached a losing football team over the course of a seson. Favre has never quartebacked a losing team over the course of a season. They both are winners. Monday night they intend to prove it.

Bob Fox is a freelance writer from the Tampa, Fla. area. E-mail him at

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