Tiebreakers, Hidden Diuretic Could Lead To Packers NFC North Title
By By Jay Sorgi
Next game: Sunday, December 7th vs. Houston
The Green Bay Packers may find themselves playing in January, and the proverbial hyde of General Manager Ted Thompson may be saved from those fans who are angry about the Brett Favre saga, all because of two factors.
One is familiar: the lovely NFL tiebreaker system that boggles nuclear physicists' minds.
In fact, Kevin and Pat Williams, the now-suspended Minnesota Vikings defensive tackles, may never have heard of the diuretic, because apparently the item wasn't listed in the ingredients in an over-the-counter weight-loss pill called StarCaps which the NFL says they used.
The league suspended them for the final four games of the regular season, pending a legal appeal.
According to the Mayo Clinic: "Bumetanide is given to help treat fluid retention (edema) and swelling that is caused by congestive heart failure, liver disease, kidney disease, or other medical conditions. It works by acting on the kidneys to increase the flow of urine."
Amazingly, the item meant to decrease the weights of Minnesota's giant defensive tackles may have decreased Minnesota's abilities to win the NFC North, because the middle of their defense now has "able to gash" written all over it.
And the Packers (5-7) are in ripe position to reap the benefits.
If they win their final four games - all against teams .500 or worse - and the Vikings (7-5) lose two of their last four, the Packers are guaranteed the NFC North championship.
Williams-less Vikings Mainly Face Winning Gauntlet
Expecting a division leader to go 2-2 in their last four games isn't typically a formula that hopeful teams expect to follow, but in Minnesota's case, it could be highly realistic.
The Vikings' final three games are at Arizona and at home against Atlanta and the New York Giants.
They are a combined 26-10.
The Cardinals (7-5) aren't known for running between the tackles, but the lack of pass rush in the middle and more double-teams on Jared Allen mean a great chance of explosions coming from Kurt Warner's right arm.
The Falcons (8-4) have powerful runner Michael Turner and his gaudy stats (1,208 rushing yards, 13 touchdowns) to suddenly flow through a previously muscle-clogged middle.
And considering the Giants (11-1) have their own now-lessened arsenal with legal-troubled wide receiver Plaxico Burress suspended for the season, they may have more to play for at the end of the season, and they'll be more prone to run the ball with the triplicate of runners including Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw.
Schedule Becomes Packers' Friend in December
Meanwhile, the Packers road is incredibly easier.
Like the Vikings this Sunday, the Packers face the Lions in their season ender, a contest where the Lions could be playing to avoid going 0-16, but would probably fail.
Before then is Sunday's contest with nearly perennial second-division resident Houston and a Jacksonville Jaguars team that might be the biggest disappointment in the NFL this year.
Then, of course, is that showdown in Chitown with the Bad News Bears that stand one game below the Vikings and one game ahead of Green Bay.
If the Packers beat them, the best the Bears can do is match Green Bay's best possible 9-7 mark.
Should all this happen, three tiebreaker scenarios could come into play:
Green Bay and Chicago both go 9-7:
Green Bay and Minnesota both go 9-7:
Green Bay, Chicago and Minnesota all go 9-7:
So Aaron Rodgers and company may have new hope to break past all the contentiousness of one of the craziest seasons in Packers history and earn their second consecutive division title.
All due to the crazy NFL tiebreaking computer and a relatively unknown diuretic.