Despite it being my team, really, the game of the week is the Lions at the Packers. It has huge implications, which I will get into below.
The NFL picked the Bengals at Steelers to be the game of the week and flexed it to the Sunday Night Football spot on NBC. This game, too, has similar implications -- winning the division title. However, unlike the Lions/Packers game, it is a lot harder for the Bengals to get a first round bye. The Lions/Packers game has much more significance because the winner will get a first round bye. Plus, in the entire NFL, home field means more for the Hawks and the Packers than it does for any other team. No one wants to go through Seattle or Green Bay. Green Bay won every single game at home this year.
Lions at Packers 4:25PM EST: Holy crap, this is for all the marbles. Lions versus Packers for the second seed and NFC North champs. This is huge for the Lions (I don't care, Go Pack!). The Lions have not won the division in 21 years. Does that even compute? Twenty-one years. The Lions haven't even won in Wisconsin since 1991. What? How is that even possible? Man, tough break, Lions.
An even tougher break is losing your center, Raiola, because your team is a bunch of idiots. Honestly, why even stomp on the guy's leg? What does that prove? How does that serve your team? You were playing the Bears, come on! However, to me, that wasn't even the worst. The helmet-to-helmet by Detroit Lions defensive end Ansah to Jimmy Clausen was too much. Ansah clearly is leading with his helmet, plus, his hands and arms aren't even in the equation. It was a kill shot.
One of the reasons I don't like the Lions is because they are dirty, dirty players. People don't want to root for your team because no one likes a bully. I thought Jim Caldwell had stopped this narrative from taking place. Apparently, not. I'd love to see what kind of facial reaction he had in regards to the suspension of Raiola. Does Caldwell even have an expression outside of no expression? I'm not even sure why he has a headset on during the games. He barely talks into the damn thing.
The complete opposite of the Lions, personality wise, are the Green Bay Packers. Everyone likes Aaron Rodgers. He's competitive, but not a jerk. Jordy Nelson? A farmer from Kansas. He shakes hands with his team after he gets a touchdown. Eddie Lacy? Buys his parents a house after hurricane Katrina. Ah, that's why the Packers are one of the most-liked teams in the NFL. Sorry, Cowboys, you are not America's team anymore. The difference between the Cowboys and other teams is this. If you are not a Chiefs fan, you don't hate the Chiefs. As for the Cowboys, if you aren't a fan, you hate them. To reiterate, I'm not a Raiders fan ... but I don't hate them. I HATE the Cowboys. Someone should do a stat on that. (Proof can be found in the latest out of Dallas. Dallas is pushing for Romo to be the MVP. Cowboys, THAT'S WHY WE HATE YOU!)
I'm just making the case for our win based on a popularity contest. Look, I don't care how we get the win, I just want the win.
Panthers at Falcons 4:25PM EST: Despite these two teams being sub par, there is nothing like win and you're in. I would put this game above others. I mean, (shrug), the Bengals are in. I don't really care if they move around in seeding. Seeding, to me, doesn't seem as important in the AFC. Yet, win or go home, now that has HUGE implications! As long as you can make it in, you always have a chance. Look at that happened for Green Bay in 2010? They made it in as a wild card and then went on to win the Super Bowl. That's why this game is so important! The most critical thing is just getting in. I certainly wouldn't rule out the Falcons being able to squeak a win out in the playoffs if they get in. The Cardinals with their 3rd string QB are now beatable. The Cowboys? I'm not sold on them. They are beatable.
I'm rooting for the Falcons. I like Julio Jones. I like Fitzgerald. I like Matt Ryan, but, apparently, who doesn't?
Good lucks Falcons.
Other important games are the Chargers at the Chiefs, and the Browns at the Ravens. For a more detailed account of what it will take for the Chargers or Ravens to get into the playoffs click this NFL.com link. It makes my head hurt, so thanks NFL for doing it for me.