Thursday, September 18, 2008
In the NFC North...
We still can't bring ourselves to pick the Packers. Do we like Kyle Orton better than Aaron Rodgers? Forte better than Ryan Grant? It would be generous to give the Bears a push at those two skill positions. The argument starts with we like the Bears defense better. Furthermore, this is a typical post-parity NFL division where any team can beat any other on a given Sunday. We believe when it comes down to December Kyle Orton's experience during the Bears Super Bowl run two years ago will be the difference. The Bears will ask him to do less than the Packers ask Rodgers to do. At least 9 wins.
Green Bay Packers
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has looked awfully good for the first two games. The Packers have won two divisional games, but somehow our gut feeling says there is struggle and strife ahead in Green Bay. We like their corners Charles Woodson and Al Harris a lot less than most of the experts. When we look closely at the Packers corners we are reminded of the legendary Elvis "Toast" Patterson, who made some glitzy plays, like Harris and Woodson, but earned his moniker more frequently. The Packers front seven on defense are tough, led by defensive end Aaron Kampman and linebackers Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk. They could easily win this mediocre division, but it says here that a tough November-December stretch that includes games at New Orleans, Jacksonville and the Bears, plus home tilts with Carolina and Houston keeps the Pack on the outside of NFC playoffs looking in, at least 8 wins.
The Vikings are not as bad as the Lions, but on any given week as sketchy as their quarterback situation is, a casual observer could be easily fooled. Adrian Peterson cannot be expected to shoulder the load alone, remember he was considered injury prone at Oklahoma in college. Gus Frerotte is an unlikely savior. The Clarion has more confidence in the future success of 3rd string former USC'er John David Booty than we do either Frerotte or the overwhelmed Tavaris Jackson. The Vikings defense will get demoralized about halfway through the season as they realize just how one dimensional and putrid the offense is. At most 7 wins. (Which is not to say they won't beat the Panthers this weekend.)
Jon Kitna is a decent quarterback, although in light of his Halloween costume last year, perhaps a bit of a nut job. Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson and Mike Furrey are good wide receivers. Unfortunately, beyond that, the cupboard is pretty bare. It is mind boggling that Lions President Matt Millen still has his job. His record to date is a staggering 31 up and 83 down. The Clarion keeps hearing Detroit is a good football town. Having lived through, first, the Barry Sanders era and now the Matt Millen era, we can honestly say the Lions have sucked for so long that we have no idea if that claim is true or not.