Archive for the Aaron Rodgers Category


Brett Favre Still on Top: The Packers Not So Much

At the risk of contradicting myself, I must say the Pack is not as good as I thought.

Still very much in the hunt at 4-3, they looked like a team struggling to survive this past Sunday.

Despite another decent game from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, 287 yards and three TDs, the defense and the offensive line looked horrible and ultimately lost this one.

The defense fell flat, not only allowing Adrian Peterson to rack up 97 yards and a TD, but let Brett Favre all but destroy them with 244 yards and four TDs.

The odds were in the Packs’ favor on a night that one, marked the first time, and probably the last time ever Favre has played in Lambeau Field since the 2007 season and first ever as the opposing quarterback, and two, he not only faced a jacked up Packers team, but for the first time the fans that adored him for 16 seasons.

As he jogged out to the huddle for the first time, he heard something he has never heard in this stadium.

As the boos surrounded Favre, he met them head on with that same country-boy grin he gave for so many years playing here, and began once again to pick apart this secondary.

I think it is safe to say the Vikings are just flat-out better than the Pack.

I mean Favre alone has torched them in two games for 515 yards and seven TDs.

Of course Rodgers has put up phenomenal numbers as well, with 671 yards and five TDs, but it’s not been his fault that he’s been sacked 14 times between the two games and the Pack has run for no touchdowns.

It’s not his fault this defense has allowed 685 total offensive yards and 68 points in the two contests.

The Pack failed miserably in what was needed to be done to stop the Favre/AP train. There was virtually no pressure applied by the defense and the O-line again was unable to protect Rodgers.

If they do not cure their problems, missing the playoffs could be the least of their worries. With Rodgers having injuries to both feet, I’m not sure he can take much more punishment.

For all who still want to pile on Favre for his performance last week, don’t.

First of all Favre was blindsided on the fumble, because Phil Loadholt could not hold his block. Steve Hutchinson was running alongside Favre in pursuit of Lamar Woodley, the linebacker for Pittsburgh who recovered the fumble, and made a poor effort in an attempt to tackle Woodley, same as Favre.

Favre only gave up on the play after he was blocked and then realized there were three other Vikes there to make the play. Anthony Herrera was in position to make a stop, but was blocked as well. No one called Loadholt’s, Hutchinson’s, or Herrera’s intentions into question.

Secondly a little screen pass that was intercepted, that for some reason Chester Taylor was unable to hang on to even though it hit him right in the hands, is not Favre’s fault.

Again, Favre’s intentions with the team have been called into question in the pursuit of the defender when he again supposedly gave up on the play.

For someone’s intentions to be called into question after he has done everything he has been asked to do is ludicrous.

Favre has played second fiddle to AP, has been smart with the ball, only three interceptions after eight games, and has fought the urge to force plays and make risky decisions. This does not sound like a guy who is out for himself.

As far as not giving the extra effort, I do believe it was old number four who ran 50 yards to throw a crucial block on a 49ers linebacker with no regard for himself.

What more does he have to prove?

Nothing.

The man can mash.

With the Vikings at 7-1, they are at most five wins from making the playoffs with eight games left.

The Packers are 4-3 now, but very much still in contention. With another game against the Lions and one against the Bears, plus games against the Buccaneers and Seahawks they can definitely clinch second place in the division and still have a good chance at a wild card spot even if the Vikings were to win out the season.

Let’s not forget, no offense to Favre, but the Vikings are two to three games away from Favre’s annual end of season slump. Unless he avoids it, this could turn into a battle for the division.

In a season where I’ve had to stomach my favorite player demolishing my favorite team and have had to show respect for my team’s rival because of Favre and two early season stompings, anything is possible.

Lastly to all you Favre bashers:

If there is one thing I’ve learned during the past 18 seasons, Favre thrives on adversity. So go ahead heckle, boo, and bash all you want. You might just boo Favre right into the Superbowl.

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Brett Favre Proves Revenge Is a Dish Best Served at Lambeau

In Brett Favre’s second comeback news conference, he stated playing for the Minnesota Vikings was not about revenge. Only Favre himself knows if the statement was true or not.

Still, the Vikings 30-23 win in Minnesota in week four made the rematch in Green Bay that much bigger. Minnesota had not swept the Packers since 2005, and Green Bay could show the home fans they made the right choice in Aaron Rodgers.

In Favre’s first return to Lambeau Field as a visitor, his numbers were outstanding. Favre completed 17-of-28 passes for 244 yards and four touchdowns.

Aaron Rodgers, Favre’s counterpart, played just as good as the future Hall-of-Famer. Rodgers completed 26 of 41 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns.

The current Packers quarterback had more passing yards than the former Packers quarterback primarily because Green Bay was playing from behind for the most part. Minnesota was able to build a 17-3 lead at the half.

To start the second half, the Vikings took the opening kickoff and marched down field to take a 24-3 lead. Just when it looked to be a Minnesota blowout, the Packers came storming back.

Rodgers led the Packers to 17 unanswered points in the third quarter to make the score 24-20 in favor of the Vikings heading in to the fourth quarter. The Green Bay comeback had all the momentum swinging to the home sideline.

That is when No. 4 did what he used to do for the Packers for so many years. Favre lead the Vikings down for a touchdown two minutes into the fourth quarter for a 31-20 lead.

Rodgers, not to be outdone, brought Green Bay right down the field three minutes later for a touchdown to cut the lead to 31-26 after a two-point conversion failed. The aging gunslinger put the final nail in his old team’s coffin with another touchdown with less than four minutes to go for the 38-26 win.

Looking closely at the numbers, there are several reasons why Minnesota won this football game. The first reason was pressure on the quarterback.

The Vikings were able to hit Rodgers 10 times, compared to just four hits the Packers managed on Favre. The biggest number was the number of sacks for both teams. The Vikings had six sacks, and the Packers were not able to sack Favre once.

Another reason for the Packers’ loss has to be the lack of a running game. Rodgers was the leading rusher for Green Bay, with 52 yards on five carries. The bulk of Rodgers’ yards coming on a scramble for 35 yards in the fourth quarter.

While Rodgers led his team in rushing, Favre only had to hand the ball to Adrian Peterson to gain yards on the ground. Peterson was able to rush for 97 yards on 25 carries to lead Minnesota in rushing.

The Packers have to find a running game to ease some of the pressure off Rodgers. The Packers quarterback is already the most-hit signal-caller in the league, and if he has to be the running back as well he will not last the whole season.

The final reason for this Packers loss is easy. The job at returning kicks by Percy Harvin for Minnesota. Harvin had five kick returns for 175 yards, and three of his returns set-up a touchdown for Vikings.

Harvin has been an x-factor all season long for the Vikings. He even had a 51-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter while Minnesota was building its first half lead.

With both games against the Packers out of the way, bigger questions loom on the horizon. The Vikings have a bye week after this game, but how will Favre fare for the rest of the season?

Does Brett still care about the rest of this season after beating his old team twice this season? Is the ultimate revenge Favre can give himself a Super Bowl championship?

At 7-1 and with the second best record in the NFC—until the Saints play Monday—the Vikings and Favre will be watched closely all season long. The defense has to play two whole haves and Favre’s health could be an issue. Still, how much Brett wants to rub it in the Packers’ nose could be his major motivation.

The second fallout of this whole scenario could be the job security of Packers GM Ted Thompson, the man many believe sent Favre out of town. With every Vikings win and every Green Bay loss, all eyes must turn to Thompson.

Playing the “what-if” game, one has to wonder what will happen with Thompson if the Packers miss the playoffs and the Vikings make a deep playoff run, or win a championship. The heat will only increase with every step Minnesota takes to a playoff berth.

Thompson believes he has built a solid team, and Favre’s end-of-season “will he or won’t he” could no longer be tolerated. Thompson’s biggest fear has to be Favre having one more championship season left in him.

If Favre does win a championship, Thompson will not be alone in this and Packers head coach Mike McCarthy will be on the chopping block with him. Green Bay will have to choose a sacrificial lamb depending on how well the Vikings do this season.

On the other hand, Minnesota GM Rick Spielman and head coach Brad Childress look brilliant so far by taking a chance on Favre. Both will be safe as long as the Vikings make the playoffs and play for at least an NFC Championship.

Lost in all the Thompson versus Favre talk is Rodgers. Replacing a legend is hard, but replacing a legend who is still playing is even harder. Just ask Steve Young.

Rodgers will always be judged by what Favre did as a Packer. Every success the Vikings have only makes it harder for Rodgers to be completely accepted by Packers fans.

If Favre leads Minnesota to a title, even diehard Packers fans will always wonder what if Green Bay had kept No. 4 behind center. This team was so close in 2007 to a Super Bowl berth, another season missing the playoffs will only add more undue pressure on Rodgers.

Either way, Rodgers may not ever be as loved as Favre is in Green Bay. The only way to change those feelings is Brett not winning another Lombardi Trophy and Rodgers bringing one back to Green Bay himself.

Well, Rodgers had better make that two Lombardi Trophies. The NFL is always about one-upping the other guy. So far, Favre is up 3-0, two wins this season, and one NFL championship. 

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QBER/Week 4: Old New Favre Is Better Than Ever

(QBER is short for Quarterback Efficiency Rating, a more comprehensive and easily understood rating system that places the emphasis where it belongs—the ability of a quarterback to advance the ball, avoid negative plays and score touchdowns in comparison to his peers. A 100.0 rating is the league average.)

 

When the Minnesota Vikings signed Brett Favre in August, the question wasn’t whether the 39-year-old could still perform at a reasonably high level. The question was whether he would check his ego at the door and compromise his talents to fit the players and system around him. 

At the one-quarter pole of the season, the answer is an emphatic yes.

 

At 144.9, Favre ranks behind only Peyton Manning and Drew Brews in QBER, largely because of a ridiculous 8-to-1 touchdown-to-interception rate, the best in the league. He never had a ratio of better than 3-to-1 in his career, and that took place 13 years ago. Of course, he never had feature back Adrian Peterson in the same backfield, either.

 

The quarterback who replaced the Green Bay Packers legend hasn’t done too badly himself, as Aaron Rodgers ranks eighth (125.7) overall.

 

If there’s a concern about Rodgers, then it’s his hefty sack rate of one per 8.1 pass plays. He has lost 134 yards on pass attempts, the most of any passer, which more than offset his 108 yards on scrambles, also a league high.

 

The QBER leaders after Week Four of the regular season:

 

1. P. Manning 153.3; 2. Brees 145.4; 3. Favre 144.9; 4. Ryan 141.2; 5. Orton 141.1; 6. Schaub 136.0; 7. E. Manning 133.3; 8. Rodgers 125.7; 9. Flacco 125.2; 10. Garrard 122.8; 11. Hill 117.7; 12. Cassel 112.8; 13. Rivers 112.1; 14. Cutler 108.0; 15. Roethlisberger 101.0; 16. Warner 94.5; 17. Brady 92.5; 18. Palmer 92.1; 19. Leftwich 88.0; 20.Bulger 87.5; 21. Wallace 87.2; 22 .Collins 85.1; 23. Romo 84.5; 24. Edwards 82.2; 25. Kolb 80.0; 26. Campbell 76.1; 27. Stafford 62.0; 28. Pennington 61.1; 29. Russell 53.8; 30. Sanchez 53.6; 31. Quinn 41.8; 32. Delhomme -0.6.

 

Some observations:

 

  • The unbeaten Denver Broncos have to be ecstatic about the Jay Cutler trade thus far. Not only did the AFC West leaders acquire a serviceable quarterback in veteran Kyle Orton, whose QBER is nine spots higher than Cutler at present, but they have a pair of first-round draft picks from the Chicago Bears on the way.  

         In 126 pass plays, Orton has yet to commit a turnover.

 

  • Mark Sanchez can only hope that he doesn’t have a game worse than the one he had last weekend.

         In 34 pass plays, the New York Jets rookie totaled 44 net yards, minus-two net touchdowns and four turnovers. As a result, his QBER plunged 

from No. 10 to No. 30 overall.

 

  • Know how the NFL has gone above and beyond to protect quarterbacks in recent years? It should be called the Manning Rule.

         In 268 pass plays, Eli and Peyton have been sacked exactly four times. Eight QBs were dumped more times in Week Four alone.

 

  • There may be no more underrated quarterback than David Garrard, the Jacksonville Jaguars veteran sign-caller.

         At 122.8, Garrard has a higher QBER than the more celebrated Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Tony Romo among others.

 

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No Defense For Packers As They Hand Brett Favre His Vindication, For Now

If you had told Packer fans Monday morning Adrian Peterson would rush the ball 26 times for 55 yards, lose a fumble for a Green Bay touchdown, Aaron Rodgers would throw for almost 400 yards the Packers would still lose, they’d have told you that you were insane.

Welcome to Crazytown, population: Cheesehead Nation.

As if seeing Brett Favre wasn’t unequivocally maddening in an of itself for Green Bay Fans, a Brett Favreian performance and Vikings victory came on a night when nation’s eyes were squarely on that new purple No. 4 jersey.

Brett Favre can still get it done, he can still win football games, he is still an electric talent in the NFL. None of those should have been questioned before Monday Night, but the Packers certainly didn’t do themselves any favors in helping Favre of today look like the Favre of old.

Green Bay’s defense was listless rushing the passer, reactive rather than aggressive in coverage, and was on its heels most of the night despite containing Adrian Peterson all night long. It was as if the Packers dared Favre to beat him, and Favre obliged.

What??

Why, in the name of all things Vince Lombardi, would the Packers just LET Brett Favre beat them? I wrote last week that the Packers wanted the ball in the hands of Brett Favre, and that is still true. Brett Favre was outstanding, never making the gunslinging mistake plenty of Packer fans were hoping he would. But the Packers didn’t MAKE Brett Favre beat them, they let him.

The Packers didn’t get sliced and diced by Favre because they were too busy worrying about Adrian Peterson. Favre carved up the secondary on straight drop-backs with absolutely zero pressure on his face. Tavaris Jackson could have thrown for 270 yards and three touchdowns against that defense.

No creativity, no pressure, no aggression from Green Bay’s defense.

That is unacceptable in a game the Packers defense had talked about since August. There weren’t linebackers running around creating pressure, or defensive backs flying in on unexpected downs.

A blitz is a blitz to some degree, and if you want to create pressure on the quarterback, while you’re there you might make a tackle on a running back should he get the ball instead. Had Dom Capers not heard of a run blitz? Because a run blitz on a pass play is still a blitz. It still means bringing more people than the offensive line can theoretically block. It means moving Favre a step or two off his spot.

Just ask Aaron Rodgers. He knows what it’s like to be moved from his spot. The guy was running for his life all night, and has been all season, and yet had the Packers within an onsides kick of going on a game-winning drive. He was sacked about 28 times, and that was just by Jared Allen.

It started on the opening drive. Green Bay, with a chance to quiet the crowd early and put Favre in a must-throw situation, marched down the field. Rodgers was brilliant, making stick throws and converting third downs. Then, he held the ball a little too long, was sandwiched and lost a fumble. Favre lead the Vikings down the field and all of a sudden it’s 7-0 Vikings instead of 7-0 Packers.

Similar scenario just a few moments later when the Packers, having tied the game and forced Favre three and out, marched down the field again. This time, Rodgers threw a comeback route that Antoine Winfield came back with. Favre drove the Vikings down the field and the Vikes are back up 14-7, instead of the other way around.

That is 14 points off turnovers on two of the first three drives of the game. The Packers come away with touchdowns the other way instead of turnovers (highly plausible given the way they moved the ball much of the game) and a Favre-lead 31 throw night trying to overcome a 21-7 deficit does not end well for Minnesota.

Green Bay let Brett Favre have this moment, he didn’t take it. The Packers played wildly inconsistent football, made mental mistakes with penalties, turned the ball over, and still had a chance to win the game on the road in the most emotional football game played in Minneapolis since I’ve been alive.

The Vikings wanted it more, and showed it with tenacity, hustle, and better execution.

The Vikings with Brett Favre, needed to win that game more than the Packers. A Super Bowl contender wins a game against a division rival at home on a Monday Night.

It was horrible, awful, terrible, excruciating, and difficult to watch for Packer fans, but let’s not jump to conclusions about what this means about Ted Thompson, Aaron Rodgers, and the first Brett Favre retirement.

No way, with the kind of time Rodgers got, that 39 year-old Brett Favre nearly puts up four bills and has his team in a position to win the game late. Just saying.

It was unbearable at times to look at, and it came to a point where I’d shut off my phone and turned the TV off. But fans cannot quit on the team,and more importantly the Packers can’t quit. They showed the kind of talent they have, but some mistakes and some strange coaching decisions were the difference in a game where the Vikings were basically perfect and Green Bay was mediocre at best.

Brett Favre and the Vikings needed their best game of the season to beat the Packers at home in a game with much more importance to them. They got it, and the Packers, particularly the defense, didn’t even get off the bus. Yet, 30-23 is essentially as bad as it could get.

A loss is a loss, and this one is horrible. The Packers have two weeks to think about it, to stew over it, to make corrections, and to get it right against some weak opponents coming up. The Vikings proved they were a top-tier team when they took care of business Monday Night.

But, rest assured, the Packers gets their chance to do the same in a few weeks. If they bring their best game November 1st the same way the Vikings did Monday, the tundra will seem even chillier for one Mr. Favre.

Revenge is after all, a dish best served cold.   

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Come Back To Reality Vikings Fans

During the past week, I have taken a lot of heat for my article on the Vikings not winning the division. Many people have told me I cannot be a Vikings fan or that I was ridiculous for not thinking they would win such an easy division. Personally, I find these accusations outrageous and quite entertaining

Being a fan is not all about blindly following the team and liking every decision they make every step of the way. It is also not about having one hundred percent confidence in them every single year.

The team has made questionable decisions this year that I do not approve of. I do not see how that makes me any less of a fan. People are entitled to their opinions.

My opinion is that Brett Favre is too old and many people are looking at the Favre of the past, the same Favre that has tormented the Vikings throughout all of his years in Green Bay.

Favre is not ageless.

The man is a future hall of fame quarterback and he has one of the best running games in the NFL to work with, so sure, he gives the Vikings a better chance of success than a quarterback (Tarvaris Jackson) that has frequently struggled to keep teams honest, but in my opinion, the Vikings still have a long road ahead of them to the Super Bowl.

The Packers are a very good team this year; you have to tip your hat to Aaron Rodgers, he has become one of the better quarterbacks in the game. Their defense is back from injuries that plagued them last year. It will undoubtedly be a battle for the NFC North this year.

My prediction of the Vikings only making the wild card is not saying I do not like the Vikings. I am taking many different factors into consideration when making the prediction. My personal opinion is that ESPN’s analysts that love Favre have drilled into everyone’s minds that he is god’s gift to the planet, making many people’s views one sided. 

Hopefully the Vikings do make it to the playoffs, make it to the Super Bowl, and win it all. I just have not seen it in them for myself, so for all people accusing me of being a Packer fan, or not knowing the game: Get over it.

The fact of the matter is the Vikings have some competition to deal with. It won’t be a cakewalk for them like ESPN and other analysts make you think, the sooner you come back to reality, the better.

 

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Brett Favre Is Dead to Me

I was willing to let this Favre thing go. In a way, I was happy he exposed the Vikings for what they were—desperate and willing to put one man before the team.

Then I heard him utter these words: “Real Packers fans understand.”

Really, Brett? Because I have been a real Packers fan my whole life, before you even knew who we were, and let me tell you what I understand:

  1. I understand you jerked us around every year and were not committed enough in the team to stay within the game plan all those years, or maybe you would have won more than one Super Bowl.
  2. I understand that you are now playing for the division rival you promised to hold your breath until you got to last season.
  3. I understand that you are spitting in the face of the greatest franchise in the history of sports just to get back at Ted Thompson for not placating your whims no matter how many times you changed your mind.
  4. I understand that it is like a parent who is so vindictive against their ex that they do not mind hurting the kids they are supposed to love to get back at said ex. We as fans did not fail to placate your ego by putting up with your lack of commitment to the relationship; we just loved you every Sunday. But you obviously hate Thompson more than you love us, which is less than we loved you.
  5. I understand that what you mean by that statement is that “real” Packers fans should agree with your vindictive attitude, which is why, as promised, you are dead to me. I will be burning my Brett Favre keepsakes on the last Saturday of August, lest the curse of your negative spirit bleed over into the season.
  6. I also understand that we are better off with Aaron Rodgers.
  7. What’s more, we are better off with you in Minnesota, because you are not the quarterback you used to be.

Let them deal with your passion overriding better judgment as you try so hard to beat us you beat them. Now they can deal with your prima donna attitude that most certainly undermines that locker room, and that you are better than your teammates and should live by a different set of rules. And now they can deal with you showing their coach to be as weak with his words as you are.

Let them deal with the fact that you have thrown 15 TDs and 39 picks from Thanksgiving on in the past four seasons. All of that is going to hurt our rivals, so in trying to get back at us, you are helping us once more. But since your intent is evil, that is what we will judge you for.

Not to equate the magnitude of our struggles with you to spiritual battles, but for the believer, everything is a spiritual battle, and that’s why two scriptures did come to mind in this affair. Genesis 50:20 says, “you meant evil for me, but God meant it for good.” Proverbs 21:2 (and other Proverbs) says, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.”

Let me just say now that if you are still a Favre apologist, you are not allowed to speak to me. Unless he repents of what he has done, I will not forgive him—if I could stop him from going into the Hall of Fame as a Packer, I would.

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32 Teams, 32 Sleepers: NFC North (Fantasy Football)

(Reprinted from www.scfantasyfootball.com, written by Chris)

Well, Chris and I have something nice lined up for everybody out there. I introduce to you, “32 Teams, 32 Sleepers.” We are going to go division-by-division and give you a high-upside or value pick for each team.

By sleepers, by the way, we’re talking people likely to go around the twelfth round or later. Expect me to write-up the AFC East and West and the NFC North and South, with Chris doing the NFC East and West, and the AFC North and South.

Next up, the NFC North.

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Green Bay Packers: Five Predictions for 2009

As training camp nears before the 2009 season, expectations for the Green Bay Packers grow. This is unusual coming off a 6-10 season, in which the team lost five of its last six.

Ironically, coming into the 2008 training camp there was more trepidation than expectation, despite coming off a 13-3 season. That is because there were questions as to how well the offense would endure the loss of Hall of Fame quarterback, Brett Favre.

But the offense flourished despite numerous injuries on the offensive line and the nagging hamstring affecting running back Ryan Grant. Production fell only slightly—from fifth to sixth in the league, with scoring dropping just a point per game.

Aaron Rodgers led eight fourth-quarter comebacks, only to see the defense and special teams blow seven of them. This led to the firing of almost every coach on either unit. Dom Capers has been brought in to engineer a defensive makeover.

The defense that was 11th in the league in 2007, but fell to 20th in 2008 has been overhauled. The switch to a 3-4 seems to be ahead of schedule, as two of last season’s defensive ends, Aaron Kampman and Jeremy Thompson, have shown they are ready to make the adjustment to outside linebacker.

On paper, the Packers have more talent than other defenses Capers has turned around. Two of the last three he took over shot up to fourth-ranked from the bottom half of the league. The only reason the Packers defense was ranked that low last season was that it had up to five injured starters at one time.

That makes the only thing that is consistent with the 2008 off-season is the, “will-he-won’t-he return” drama surrounding Favre, although this season it is clear where he will play if he does return.

With that in mind, here are five positive predictions, none of which are obvious, for the Green Bay Packers in 2009:

1. The defense will finish the season in the top quarter of the league.

The sack total went from 13th in the NFL in 2007 to 26th in 2008, but the unpredictability of the 3-4 typically results in more sacks and even more turnovers. In addition, the talent on defense now exceeds that of 2007. New additions B.J. Raji, Clay Matthews III, Thompson, and a developing secondary more than compensate for the loss of Corey Williams and Colin Cole over the past two seasons and the aging of Al Harris, who still made the Pro Bowl in 2008.

That is enough reason to believe the unit can climb three spots higher than it was when last healthy.

2. Aaron Rodgers will make the Pro Bowl.

He should have made it in 2008, having finished in the top six in the league in passer rating, rushing yards, total yards, and total touchdowns. He will again achieve 4,000 plus total yards, thirty plus total touchdowns, and a passer rating over ninety. Since it will be a second straight year and the team will finish with more wins, he will get the honour he deserves this year.

3. The Packers will make the playoffs.

I am not willing to predict that Green Bay will win the division: I think the Minnesota Vikings are the favorite presuming Favre does play for them. And making the playoffs in the NFC will be tough as a wild card, with the following ten teams battling for six spots: Giants, Eagles, Cowboys, Packers, Vikings, Bears, Falcons, Saints, Seahawks, and Cardinals. Even Washington, Carolina, and San Francisco are legitimate darkhorse candidates.

I put the Packers’ odds of winning the division at about three in eight and of earning a wild card at about three in ten overall, that gives them about a 56 percent chance of playing in January.

4. At least one rookie will beat out a veteran for a starting position before the end of the season.

In other words, we are not talking about someone replacing an injured player, but legitimately earning a starting spot. The top candidates are first-round picks Raji (DT/DE) and Matthews (OLB), fourth-round pick T.J. Lang (OG/T), and fifth-round choice Quinn Johnson (FB).

5. Tramon Williams will beat out Al Harris for the starting position opposite Charles Woodson.

Harris began to show his age in 2008, missing the first four games of his career due to injury. In his place, Williams grew quickly into a legitimate playmaker at cornerback, and will only get better. The new NFL is a young man’s league, and there is almost a decade between the two corners.

Moreover, Harris’ bump-and-run style he used so effectively against all but the most physical receivers will be employed much less in the new 3-4 scheme. This leaves Williams a better fit for the new defense and relegates Harris to the nickel package, which is a critical personnel grouping that still takes the field about half the time, however, and Harris will be the best nickelback in the game.

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Brett Favre: Inductee to The Hall Of Shame

When I look at the picture above, I think to myself, “Yeah Brett, what the Hell are you doing to the NFL and it’s fans?”  The answer is simple: Ticking them off.

As I searched for pictures of Brett Favre in a Packers jersey, it reminded me much of what he actually has become in Green Bay: An afterthought.  Aaron Rodgers is the present and future, and although Brett brought a Lombardi trophy back to Wisconsin, I believe he’ll never get his respect back.

Recent ESPN fetishes for Favre have showed that he wants to play again in 2009, not for the Jets, nor the Pack, but for the Vikings?  Any Kraft cheese helmet wearing fan’s jaw dropped at this abomination of a report.  Sure it was in the works last year, and it has been a possibility this entire offseason, but for it to manifest in to truth would be unfathomable, like Phil Mickelson actually sinking a meaningful putt or Dane Cook actually telling a joke he wrote.

Fans are telling Brett to do what Rosie O’Donnell should’ve done years ago, which would be to let it go and quit already.  Where’s Donald Trump when you need him?

As a general fan of football, I would be OK with Barry Sanders, Daryle Lamonica, or Jack Kemp making a comeback and coming out of retirement, but Brett, we’ve seen it before, and you’re done.  Going to the enemy will further sully your career and make you more hated than the $5.00 footlong commercials.

Sure, Brett still loves the game.  At soon to be 40-years-old, who wouldn’t love playing America’s favorite game?  It’s been done before, Brett, so please, ride off into the sunset rather than add to your career interception records.

If he comes back, expect another mediocre season and pure hatred in Lambeau, and an induction in to the, “Hall of Shame”.

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