Today's game has the NFC North title on the line, and a far easier path on the playoffs for the victor. But the Lions never measure up as a "rivalry game" for the Packers like the Vikings and Bears do. Why is that? It all has to do with respect.
Welcome to another edition of Opposition Research, where I’ll be taking a look at the next Packers opponent, the Chicago Bears (2-0). Before the season started, I’m not sure if there was a team I was less sure about. Could Cutler adapt to a new scheme? Could Peppers be the key defensive ingredient? Or are Lovie Smith and the Bears just clinging desperately to unrealistic hopes of mediocrity? Heading into a game that decides the early lead in the divisional race, I’m still not sure I have any answers. What I do know, however, is that this game is going to be explosive.
Welcome to another edition of Opposition Research, where I’ll be taking a look at the next Packers opponent, the Chicago Bears. To be honest with you, this game feels a little like a high school reunion. Back in W1, we both thought we were cool, we both had primetime QBs and in-your-face defenses, and so we talked big games. Now, meeting again after such a long time, the Packers have the hotter date and a brighter future, while the Bears are muttering under their breath about how unfair life is. I’m not saying this isn’t a tough game for the Packers – it’s never easy to go back to a reunion without slipping into old (bad) habits – I’m just saying that this game will show just how far the Packers have come since the beginning of the 2009 season.
Welcome to a special early edition of Opposition Research, where I’ll be taking a look at the Packers Thanksgiving opponent, the Detroit Lions. It’s been 6 weeks since the 26-0 shutout at Lambeau Field, with the Lions spending the intervening weeks losing to the Rams, Seahawks, and Vikings by a combined 40-76, before earning win #2 over the Browns 38-37 (Btw, Mangini's an idiot). It’s a quick turnaround for both teams, so let’s get look at what awaits the Packers in Detroit Rock City this year.
So here we are. It’s deep into football season, and I’m so disappointed by how my team is playing that I find myself loath to read any articles on JSOnline. Lucky for me, I have 31 other teams to write about, right?
Three weeks ago, I took a borderline-premature look at the state of the NFC. Around that time, the prognosticators were beginning to set postseason plans, Giants fans were booking hotel rooms in Miami, and it seemed like a race to the bottom between Tampa Bay and St. Louis. So, what’s changed?
Welcome to Opposition Research, where I’ll be taking a look at the next Packers opponent, the (now 6-1) Minnesota Vikings. I feel a little déjà-vu with this one, having done a Vikings post four short weeks ago, but that can’t be helped. Now at the season’s halfway point, this game is as much about ownership of the NFC North as it is about Favre. Win, and the Packers tie it up in the loss column. Lose, and the season looks measurably bleaker. With all the hype swirling again, let’s take a look at what the Vikings have been up to since Week 4.
After 6 weeks, patterns are beginning to form in the NFC about which teams can expect to compete into next year, and which teams will be out of the race before December. Of the two undefeated teams, the Saints have a 99-point advantage over their opponents, and, if they can make it past the Dolphins and Falcons, they’ll have a nice three-game cushion (Carolina, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay) before hosting Tom Brady and his 5-TDs-in-the-2nd-quarter. Sean Payton took $250,000 off his own salary to bring Gregg Williams to New Orleans, and now the Saints defense is scary good (thanks in large part to ex-Packer and – thank goodness – ex-Viking Darren Sharper). I know he’s not his brother, but if you can hold Eli to a 61.0 passer rating and hold the Giants tandem of Jacobs and Bradshaw to 81 yards total, you’re doing something right.
Welcome to Opposition Research, where I'll be taking a look at the next Packers opponent, the Detroit Lions. In contrast to Week 4's monumental and record-breaking showdown with the Vikings, this week's game is a "ho hum, it’s the Lions" kind of game. The line is 13.5 and the city of Detroit cares more about the upcoming bidding for the Silverdome than this week's game. Nevertheless, I'll see what I can do to hype up the matchup between the injury-riddled Lions and the bye-rested Packers.
Welcome to Opposition Research, where I'll be taking a look at the next Packers opponent, the Minnesota Vikings. I could try to be dispassionate and approach this post like I did the one before it, but you know that’s not going to work here. Everyone in the national media is talking about this game - what it means to the Packers, what it means to Brett Favre, what it means to those fans that still can’t choose between the Packers and Brett Favre. You get the picture. So for this week, I’m going to do what I can to shed light on a few things you might not have heard about in the hype that’s already started.
An interesting factoid this afternoon from Tom Pelissero on Twitter - the NFC North went 4-0 on the week. With the Lions finally having won a game (their first since December 2007), I wondered just how far back you'd have to go to find the last time the North had such a good outing. Not counting bye weeks, the last time the NFC North went undefeated was Week 10 in 2005, when the Packers won their second of only four victories on the year. On that given Sunday, the Packers beat up on the Falcons, the Vikings beat the Giants, the Bears beat the 49ers, and the Lions held off the Cardinals.
"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."