At some point Sunday night, long after Tyler Palko lulled my eyes closed, I realized something the rest of you probably already came to grips with: the 2011 NFL season truly boils down to the Packers and everybody else.
No matter who wins their division in the NFC, what are the odds they beat the Pack at Lambeau in January? If the Niners get a bye and win their first game, can they do it in 30-degree weather against one of the best regular season teams of all-time?
There are still five weeks to determine if the Pack is truly that. And much like we found with the Bears and Jay Cutler, an injury can derail any team, even the mighty Packers. While they survived many such calamities last season, winning without Rodgers would be harder than watching those State Farm Discount Double Check commercials 50 times. Oh wait. I do that every Sunday.
There are some other teams dealing with injuries, starting with a Texans team that's now two quarterbacks down. OK, maybe a QB and a half down. Houston is at seven this week. So let's get to it, and let the dissension fester…
a. The Niners are winning the NFC West and getting a bye.
b. The defense still is ridiculously good, good enough to win in the playoffs.
c. The loss in Baltimore cost nothing as no one is catching the Packers for the No. 1 seed.
All that aside, Thursday night's game was the worst performance by Jim Harbaugh's offensive line all season (nine sacks allowed.)
a. He could see the trajectory of the ball better with his arms out of the way.
b. He was a big fan of Ricky Watters as a youngster ( "for who? for what?").
c. He refused to upset one of Tyler Palko's few spirals.
e. He didn't want to create a quarterback controversy between Palko and Kyle Orton by catching the ball, because Orton should be starting next week.
f. He thought the ball was intended for a receiver behind him.