Packers Best of the Worst and Other Thoughts

The Unlucky 13: For a league that prides itself on parity, the NFL sure has a lot of teams with lousy records. Heading into week 8, a whopping 13 teams have only two wins or less. Some sub-.500 teams are surprises (The Steelers? The Redskins?) and some are not (Texans, Cardinals, Raiders, Lions). One of the 13 losing teams, and a team that most predicted to have a rough season, is your Green Bay Packers. But while no one should be planning any January trips to Lambeau Field, fans can take heart that the Packers might be the best of the unlucky 13.

The Packers have lost to teams that have a combined record of 19-6. They have the 10th-ranked offense in the NFL, and the 7th best receiving stats. Ahman Green, who looked healthy in his return from a hamstring injury in the Dolphins game, is ranked 10th among all running backs in yards per game. Granted, their defense is statistically horrible, but they’ve played (and lost to) four of the top-scoring teams in the league (Chicago, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and St. Louis). When you consider who the Packers still get to play — Arizona, Buffalo, San Francisco, Detroit — a better record than last season’s 4-12 seems assured, and a 8-8 season is not that far out of the realm of possibility. Not happy with that? Not enough for you? There isn’t a Dolphin, Raider, or Cardinal fan alive who wouldn’t kill for that rosy of an outlook. (Hey, for what it’s worth — look who those three teams brought in to turn their teams around: The Dolphins brought in Daunte Culpepper, the Raiders brought in Randy Moss, and the Arizona Cardinals brought in Dennis Green. Knowing those three ex-Vikings are suffering miserably should be more than enough to bring a smile to any Packer fan’s face.)

Of the other 12 teams with losing records, the Pittsburgh Steelers stand out as the team that seems to be better than its record would indicate. But all is not well in the Steel City: Ben Roethlisberger has had a string of bad luck (motorcycle accident! appendectomy! concussion!) that, coupled with his lousy 74.5 QB rating, has resulted in Bill Cowher being forced to place his team in the hands of Charlie Batch. I guess it beats having to turn the reins of your team over to Charlie Daniels. But not by much. And Pittsburgh still has to play Denver, New Orleans, Carolina, Cincinnati, and Baltimore twice. Ouch.

The World Series: My pick of St. Louis is looking smarter every day. The Tigers bats have gone colder than sales of the Michael Jackson back catalog. Kenny Rogers has shown his true colors by blatantly trying to cheat his way through his scheduled start. Sports fans in Detroit Rock City look like they’re headed for another heartbreak. Hey, they’ve still got Barry Sanders. Oops, I mean Flip Saunders.

McCartney Mess: This isn’t about sports, but can anyone believe how ugly the Paul McCartney/Heather Mills divorce has gotten? Or more specifically, how ugly Heather Mills has gotten? It’s one thing to charge that McCartney was abusive to her (a claim which appears to be wholly false; in fact, there have been more credible reports that Mills was violent towards Macca), but something else entirely to claim that McCartney was physically abusive to his former wife Linda. In the nearly thirty years that they were together, Paul and Linda were about as public as a celebrity couple can be, and they were never portrayed as having anything less than one of the happiest showbiz marriages ever (certainly happier than John and Yoko). McCartney has been accused of many negative things, each of which have been borne out in public: A dopehead (the infamous Japan bust), a bad businessman (Michael Jackson still owns the rights to his and Lennon’s Beatle songs) a horrible filmmaker (Give My Regards To Broad Street), and an uninspiring songwriter (“Ebony and Ivory”). But Ike Turner? I ain’t buying it.


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