Around the NFC North

Minnesota Vikings (2-0)
From the Beats:
Fans and media in Minnesota are starting to clamor for Narcissus to throw the ball downfield but Brad Childress is not budging on the team's current game plan of run, run, run, screen, run, screen, run.

The world's best rush defense has struggled through the first two weeks, falling from first over the past three seasons to fifteenth.  They were gashed for big gains by Kevin Smith throughout the first half Sunday.

The Vikings introduced the please-make-it-go-away-Wildcat on Sunday, pulling Brett Favre off the field entirely and lining up Percy Harvin in shotgun.

My take:
I've seen every snap of the Vikings early season and a few things are clear.  (1) Brett Favre is taking far more hits than he ever expected and the Vikings are limiting his downfield attempts because they're afraid of losing him by Week Six.  (2) Adrian Peterson has this team on his back - making huge plays when there isn't even a hole in front of him.  (3) The Vikings have their victories against inarguably the two worst teams in the sport.  
Green Bay Packers (1-1)
From the Beats:
The Pack have sounded the alarm regarding their offensive line and some are hypothesizing that it may cost folks their jobs in Cheeseville.  This is a particularly condemning passage:

Five years into Thompson's reign, four years into McCarthy's and three
years into Campen's, something isn't right. The Packers are lucky to be
1-1 and have a healthy starting quarterback considering the number of
sacks (10) and additional quarterback knockdowns (nine) they have given
up in the first two games of the season.

I wonder what they'd be saying if the Bears had won on opening night.

The Packers not only lost to Cincinnati but they lost a couple players to potentially serious injuries.

Mike Vandermause does not a nice job calling out the early-season hysteria in Green Bay but the column could probably have been written in every city that's lost a game this year.  Football fans have too many days off between games and too many places to express their opinions.  I know.  I'm partly to blame.

My take:
The Pack should take a deep breath and look at their schedule.  The next six pack features four entirely winnable games (at St. Louis, Cleveland and Tampa Bay, home Detroit) and two against the Minnesota Vikings.  They should be 5-3 at worst and poised to make a run down the stretch.

Detroit Lions (0-2)
From Michael Rosenberg in the Free Press:

The Lions host the Washington Redskins this week, and this is a little different from most of the Lions' games
because -- you'll never believe this -- they can actually win.


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  • The Vikes are definitely sweep-able. Favre got sacked 8 times in two games. Would feel a whole lot better if Urlacher was there to help bring down AP, but HH will have to do, maybe more 4 linebacker sets will help. The Pack losing to Cincy was a complete surprise, but a nice one. But do we continue trusting HH or go with a 36 yr old ten-time Pro bowl winner and play him out of position ?

  • In reply to IrishBearsFan:

    Stick with HH no doubt. The Bears don't need a 40 year old middle linebacker that's lost a couple steps, sorry Mr. Brooks.

  • Who cares about Favre? Peterson is the guy to worry about.

    Keep HH, no question about it.

  • I don't think we will need to worry about Favre - he won't make it long enough to face the Bears by the time they meet.

  • Vikings:
    For a good chuckle, read the Vikings link. Defensive end, Ray Edwards explains the situation with this classic quote:

    "You're the champ. Doesn't everybody go towards the champ?"

    Say WHAT, Ray? Champ? Of Run defense? Well, whoopdee damn do for you!
    You get a nice trophy with that title?

    Quoth Bugs Bunny: "What a maroon!"

    I listened to a good portion of the Green Bay radio broadcast on NFL FIELD PASS yesterday and you could tell by the tone of Wayne Larivee's voice that he and his color analyst did NOT like what they were seeing from the Packers.

    The Lions:
    I believe the rookie QB, Matt Stafford, is dead last in the QB ratings. But yes, they are hosting the Redskins (can I still call them that or have the THOUGHT POLICE outlawed it yet?) so there IS hope this week. Washington can't seem to get out of their own way, offensively. According to my favorite radio host, Fox's Steve Czaban(a born & bred 'Skins fan): "If Jim Zorn were just the offensive coordinator he'd have been FIRED by now".

    Bears: Let's pick up against the Seahawks up right where Frank Gore left off last week.

  • I saw most of Cincy vs. Green Bay. Rodgers is a very good mobile QB, ...but damn, he was running for his life out there.

  • I'm rooting for Detroit to get one win out of the way...especially against those putrid Redskins.
    9-7 vs. St. Louis??? Sheesh. They have managed to waste all of the potential in Jason Campbell's not-so-young-anymore career. He needs a change of address.

    Looking back on Week 1, I feel like it woke this team up. The young guys at receiver do not look like they want to be the guy that let Jay and the team down by not gutting out a catch across the middle or making the snag along the sideline...definite improvement in attitude.

  • And I absolutely believe that San Fran can beat Minnesota at the Dome. The Viqueens are one pulled hamstring away from being an afterthought in the NFC North race. Until AP ripped off a couple of long runs, Cleveland (CLEVELAND!) made them look mediocre in all phases of the game.

  • You guys should really check this out

  • In reply to JerseyBearsFan:

    Saw it the other day. Gotta love Thayer's choice.

  • In reply to JerseyBearsFan:

    I watched almost the entire Packers-Bengals game. The Packer OLINE was just terrible...and couple that with Clifton going down, and they have some real problems. Considering their back up QB is about as dependable as ours, they can't afford to let Rodgers get hit like that every game. It will be interesting to see if they can get it together and start to gel.
    Ced Benson ran wild on that DLINE too...he didn't really even bust an extra long run to bloat his average, just kept getting chunks of yards. He showed a burst I don't think any of us saw in Chicago.

  • In reply to JerseyBearsFan:

    Man that dolphins-colts game was fn odd. Miami controlled the clock over 3/4 of the game, ran for about 250 yards, converted over 70% of 3rd downs, held Addai to 69 yards, and lost that game.

    They did lose the TO differential by 1 and let Dallas Clark get 189 yards through the air but still, sure seems like they should have won that.

  • In reply to JerseyBearsFan:

    Regarding Jeff's point about Viking fans wanting Narcissus throwing the ball downfield, here's why:

    The Vikings currently do not have a receiver averaging as many as 10 yards per catch.

    High-priced "Deep threat", Bernard Berrian has 6 catches for 46 yards, or 7.7 per catch.

    Those numbers were compiled against the mighty Browns and Lions.

  • In reply to JerseyBearsFan:

    Longest completion: 21 yards.

    This all begs the question: "CAN he throw it downfield?"

  • In reply to JerseyBearsFan:

    Vikings season to date stats:

  • In reply to JerseyBearsFan:

    That's the ONLY completion over 20 and I BELIEVE percy Harvin ran for about 15 of it.

    Vikings season to date stats:

  • In reply to JerseyBearsFan:

  • In reply to JerseyBearsFan:

    Alex Brown has been a favorite Bear of mine for several seasons.
    All one needs to know about AB is that he was a great hooper in HS and MVP in his league. Great basketball players who are also great football players tend to be best athletes overall. Alex easily palms a ball based on massive mitts. He must have been a beast on the glass. AB had been dissed by Bears(Anderson Starts ?) and he responded like a true pro. Earn it on the field. Brown will play his 114th consecutive game on Sunday.

  • In reply to JerseyBearsFan:

    I LOVE the "Thayer's Play Of The Week" segment! I wish we could get more than one play each week. The Game Tape is so much more interesting than the (more entertaining) broadcast.

  • I still can't believe Alex Brown spent almost an entire season on the bench.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    Wha-chew talki

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    Is it obvious to anyone but me that Hester makes huge returns when his shoulders are roughly square with the end-zone and gets stuffed when he turns around? North/South=6pts, East/West=6yards.

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    it's ridiculously funny that matt forte is being criticized about not finding holes when THE O-LINE HASN'T DONE ANYTHING TO HELP HIM!!!! now i'm not saying Forte is completely absolved, but it's crazy to say the running game is in trouble after only 2 games. and I saw one article on bleacher report saying that matt forte is overrated ( Really? After 2 games? So damn ridiculous....and this is the same dude that was in the running for NFL Rookie of the Year if not for Matt Ryan. dammit media get off our nuts and realize that we haven't even BEGUN to scratch our potential.

    Also, is it just me or is everybody else mad that Da Bears are ranked lower than GB after we just beat the Champs and they lost to a laughingstock team? Even though they beat us, this is insane.

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    Power rankings are worthless right now. I'd rather they keep us low on the list so we sneak up on people. Plus, until we string two or three victories together I think we've got a pretty weak case to be ranked higher.

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    Sign Aaron Rouse?

    Packer safeties Collins and Bigby BOTH went out of Sunday's game and they STILL cut Rouse...?

    That does not add up to a glowing recommendation for his services.

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    Teams have to be ranked below teams that beat them. Da Bears lost 50% of their games to GB so they should be behind.

    I expect that to change in December after opening a can of whup-ass against GB at home... or when Rodgers checks into a hospital from taking too much of a pounding. Whichever comes first.

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    Noticed Alfonso Boone was let loose from KC. Alas, he already signed with Ron Rivera & Chargers. Thought he could help but Bears too late.
    Boone was a good lane jammer and he played well for Bears.

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    A very welcome bit of news, BDG! I figured "Hang'em High Goodell" wasn't through yet. That ruling was BS. Sic'em, Roger! Unleash the lawyers!

  • In reply to FQD1911:

    Oh, brother. I read what Houshmazilli had to say and it is SO LAME. What are you griping about, TJ? You got your 40 million! Now you're bitchin 'cause the rest of the league didn't show enough LOVE? Sounds like you spent too much time listing to Ochocinco.

  • there's a monetary advantage to a lack of national respect.

  • damn good point bro. strictly for film sessions on the Cincy and GB games coming up. but on the field? HELL NAW lol

  • I miss the days of the "Windy City Flyer" but i think he has a couple more in him. I think we will see 2 this year and a couple of 30+ yarders.

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