This is the week when both Vikings' and Packers' fans will be sitting down to watch the heated rivalry and each fan base will look at the screen, shake their head, and rub their eyes to make sure they are seeing things right. Questions will run through the heads of many: Are we in Bizzaro world? Is this a dream? Then everyone will snap out of their momentary relapse and remember that the year is 2009 and yes Brett Favre is lining up behind center in Purple and Gold and not those cheese-head colors.
Welcome to reality everyone...the time has come where Brett Favre is playing in a Vikings vs. Packers game and Vikings fans are hoping he does great. Everyone in the world will be happy though that John Madden is not announcing the game, because that is a love fest that not even the most die-hard Vikings' fan could handle. Well on with the show!
Vikings vs. Packers Preview
Last year when the Vikings played their rivals in the Thunderdome they had an old veteran QB who did almost all he could to cause them to lose the game. Old Gus did throw for 2 TDs, but he also threw for 3 ints and the game came down to an Adrian Peterson 29 yd TD run with 2:22 left and then the luck of the dome when Mason Crosby was unable to convert a 52 yard field goal. Adrian Peterson ran wild that day and neared 200 yds rushing, but what can we expect in this years matchup?
Somethings Stay the Same and Somethings Don't
Once again the Vikings host their rivals and lineup an old veteran QB behind center, but as much as things are the same they are also drastically different. This old veteran QB has won a Super Bowl; this old veteran QB has the most career TD passes; this old veteran QB is Favre (thankfully not Frerotte). This game will be billed as just that: The Reunion of Brett Favre and the Packers this time as rivals on the football field. However, this game is going to hinge on a few different things.
AD has done well against the Packers and it is Monday night so we have to expect that he will be amped up and that usually translates into some big games for him. With an improved threat in the passing game, will Peterson find more open gaps to accelerate and attack? Last year at the Thunderdome the Packers were without Nick Barnett and there is no denying that the effects that had on the running game were drastic, with Barnett back will AD's impact be diminished slightly?
Vikings Offense vs. Packers Defense
Yeah the Packers D has allowed teams to score on them, but guess what they have caused turnovers (7 ints to be exact and 3 forced fumbles) and are +8 in turnover margin (I believe, but don't quote me and I am too lazy to look it up) which means that this is a defense to take seriously. The new 3-4 scheme that Dom Capers has brought in has brought some new aggressiveness to this defense, but I think the advantage here lies with the Vikings. The Packers weakness is against the run and that is the Vikings strength (despite holding Forte to 55 yards on 25 carries in week 1, the Packers still rank 23rd overall against the run after facing Cedric Benson and Steven Jackson). I expect that as usual Farve will be expected to manage the game and take the opportunities given, but the focus will be on getting AD the ball and letting him do his thing. Will the Packer D respond? Aaron Kampman got his first sack last week in his new LB role, can he pressure Favre and force some bad decisions?
The Real Battle: The Vikings O-Line vs. The Packers O-Line
Call me crazy, but I honestly believe that this game will be won by the team whose offensive line does a better job protecting their QB. Both lines haven't exactly been stone walls that defenses have had trouble penetrating. Aaron Rodgers has been sacked 12 times in 3 games and Brett Favre has been sacked 9 times already. Both QBs have been beaten up because their lines haven't done the best in pass protection. The Packers faithful are hoping Clifton is healthy and can go because they really, really don't want to see a Jared Allen vs. Daryn Colledge matchup. Antwan Odom got 5 sacks of the 12 total Rodgers have suffered because of a favorable matchup, and Jared Allen is just as dangerous (who are we kidding he is more dangerous) as Odom. Packers' fans have to be hoping and praying Clifton is healthy, just like Vikings' fans are hoping that nothing serious is keeping big old Steve Hutchinson and his back away from practice for the 2nd day in a row.
This is where I will be focusing my eyes on during the game; the battle between the D-lines and O-lines of each team. It is interesting to note that while both Favre and Rodgers have been sacked a combined 21 times neither of them has lost a fumble yet (Rodgers fumbled, but it was recovered by the Pack) and combined they have only thrown 1 interception (Favre= 1/Rodgers=0). To me that demonstrates that we are talking about two very good QBs and anytime you have a matchup with 2 very good QBs it is bound to get everyone excited.
This is where I might stick my foot in my mouth....
Robert Greenfield (a wonderful and loving cheese fan) has labeled the Vikings as possibly the worst 3-0 team in NFL history. Yes, the worst in history. Well I am hoping Robert would be willing to risk something on the outcome of this game. What do you say Robert, a friendly blog wager? If the Packers win, we here at PV will dedicate 1 entire week of entries (3-5 posts) to nothing but praising the glories of your favorite team (the cheeseheads), heck we will even change the colors for that week to green and yellow. But you have to wager something too......
Other Interesting Games
Saints vs. Jets
High Powered offense vs. Stingy defense. Pro Bowl QB vs. Rookie QB. Offensive Genius Head Coach vs. Defensive Genius Head Coach. Any way you look at it this matchup is going to be fun. The winner continues to be undefeated.
Patriots vs. Ravens
This one is interesting before the season people would have billed this as can the Ravens D stop the Patriots O, but I think the real question in this matchup is can the Patriots D stop Joe Flacco and the Ravens O. This will be a test of the Ravens, and if the Ravens leave victorious I am considering them the early favorite from the AFC to reach the Super Bowl.
Fantasy World Goodness
We all have read about Joe Fischer's moves in the infamous Hazleweird (heck I traded him Peyton Manning...but that is because I had Joe Flacco and I like the young gun). However, imagine this: somehow though the mysteries of trading and free agency I managed to turn Pierre Thomas, Vernon Davis, Carson Palmer, Rashard Mendenhall, Deshawn Wynn, Donald Brown, and Chris Chambers into Marion Barber, Brian Westbrook, Joe Flacco, Chris Cooley, Mario Manningham, and now Glen Coffee. May the force be with me as I battle from 2nd to last. (For those of you who might want to know, Joe is tied for 1st with his brother...maybe I shouldn't have traded him Manning).
Call in Sick monday, get rest, and enjoy the hours leading up to the ultimate showdown everyone has been waiting for: Brett Favre vs. Green Bay.