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Evaluating Lindsey’s Vikings Predictions and Making More

If you are a Vikings fan you have to be enjoying this season as Minnesota sits atop the division with a 2 game lead, the Vikings have beaten the Packers twice and the team has suffered only one injury that has caused a key player to miss more than one game. Further reason to smile, the team comes out of the bye against the Detroit Lions. Yes, life is pretty good in Viking land.

Before the season began, I offered 5 predictions for the men in purple from the NFC North. As the Vikings have no game this week and I have been really enjoying the season the past two weeks it seemed like a good time to dust off what I said at the beginning of the season to evaluate my crystal ball gazing skills and to offer a few more predictions.

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Brad Childress On Brett Favre’s Groin: What Was He Thinking?

Brad Childress came under a bit of fire in Week Eight as it was revealed that Vikings QB Brett Favre had played through a groin injury while leading his team to victory over the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

Favre was  listed on the injury report, as probable, with a hip injury but “groin” was nowhere to be seen in the report and it is against league rules for any athlete injury to be hidden, possibly keeping the other team at a competitive disadvantage.

Nothing to worry about here, as witnessed by Brad Childress’ hilarious press conference .

Yes, you heard correctly. The man who also spent last week deciding to “motivate” his team by dressing like a flight attendant also uttered the words “rub it” while talking about Brett Favre’s groin.

What is Brad Childress thinking?! I know…

10) Think Green Bay felt like a jilted lover before…

9) I haven’t been asked this much about another man’s groin since dinner with Jeff Garcia.

8) Why hasn’t anyone mentioned my haircut?

7) Aww crap, those boys from Coors Light are going to have a field day with this!

6) I missed that day in health class, what DO you do with a groin?

5) Hey, a text from my agent, Vivid Video is looking for a spokesman!

4) Why does Jared Allen keep asking if I still have that flight attendant outfit?

3) Next team bonding session…TWISTER!

2) Hmm, I wonder why Sage Rosenfels is crying over in the corner?


1) Why won’t John Madden stop calling me!

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Halloween Special: Silva Week Eight Picks

I will be breaking down every single football game this week. Like on NFL Playbook they break down every single game thats what i did that and my article is long so be ready for a show.

Matchups: Austin’s No Fluke

Six more teams go on byes in Week 8, three of which (New England, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati) have two or more every-week fantasy starters. With your lineup most likely down at least one stud, let’s try to find some sleepers by breaking down the entire weekend game by game.

Last Weeks Record (8-5) My Overall Record (24-17)

Let’s get cracking…

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Minnesota Vikings Impress In A Game They Had No Business Losing

Sunday’s 27-17 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was a painful game for the Minnesota Vikings, to be sure, but one they had no business losing.

Plenty of things went right for the NFC North-leading Vikings, who stuck with the favored Pittsburgh Steelers for virtually the entire game. Questionable play-calling and poor luck got in between Minnesota and a perfect record, though, and the Vikings fell to 6-1 on the season.

Heading into the game, much ado was made regarding the injury and absence of Minnesota corner back Antoine Winfield. The Viking’s best defensive back, Winfield would force the Steelers to think twice before launching the ball down field.

With Winfield out for a month, the consensus among fans was that Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would have at least one receiver open all day. It was thought he would be free to pick apart the corner back-by-committee approach the Vikings would take.

During the game, few throws were lofted downfield. The only extended period of time when Roethlisberger was able to consistently find open receivers for 20-25 yard gains was at the end of the first half, when Minnesota was implementing a soft cover-two defense with extremely deep safeties.

Other than that 1:39, the Steelers were held mainly to the ground. This wasn’t of particular concern to Pittsburgh, however, as they managed to have success against the suddenly-porous Minnesota rush defense.

In the first half, the Minnesota defense was surprisingly solid. Despite having to deal with horrible field position because of awful punting, the Vikings held Pittsburgh to just three points (not including the touchdown resulting from the poor defensive scheme at the end of the half.)

Earlier in the half, however, Minnesota had perhaps the best offensive drive of the season. Going 76 yards on 13 plays, Brett Favre led Minnesota down the field with methodical dips and dukes to his receivers.

The perfect picture of Minnesota’s ideal offense was painted when Favre mixed in the occasional 15-20 yard heave to Sidney Rice. If opposing defenses want to know how to stop the Vikings, they need look no further than the drive that resulted in an Adrian Peterson two-yard touchdown dive.

Minnesota had the ball with 3:30 remaining in the half while holding a slim lead. Completing one first down, the Vikings found themselves near midfield, and in prime position to add to their lead going into the half. If coach Brad Childress didn’t feel comfortable going for the end-zone, another acceptable strategy would have been running the clock down.

Instead of going for the points or consuming time, however, Childress and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell accessed their infuriatingly conservative playbook. The play that stuck out the most, though, was on third-and-15, with just under two minutes remaining in the half.

Bevell called for a Chester Taylor dive up the middle, in essence forfeiting the drive. Minnesota was forced to punt, and Roethlisberger took over at his own nine-yard line with 1:39 remaining. That drive resulted in a touchdown.

Rashard Mendenhall tore apart the Vikings during the first drive of the second half, which ended in a Pittsburgh field goal to push the score to 13-7.

With seven minutes remaining in the third quarter, Childress called for the Vikings to attempt a fourth-and-one from Pittsburgh’s 35 yard line, much to the joy of Minnesota fans everywhere.

Favre connected with Sidney Rice for the first down, who ran the ball down the one-yard line to set up the eventual Minnesota field goal. The relationship that has developed between Rice and Favre is certainly worth mentioning and probably deserving of its own column.

Without the mentoring and right arm of Favre, Rice would have never reached the level of performance he has so far this year. Putting up two consecutive 100-yard games, Rice has impressed upon Vikings’ fans the importance of a veteran in the locker room.

Later in the third quarter, the Steelers were in a first-and-goal position thanks to two big plays from Mendenhall and Santonio Holmes. A touchdown would have given Pittsburgh a 10-point advantage, but a Mendenhall fumble helped spark a long Minnesota drive.

Following three penalties early in the fourth quarter, Minnesota faced a third-and-18 from their own 23-yard line. Needing a big play to keep the potential go-ahead drive alive, Rice did his best impression of Vikings’ great Cris Carter on the right sideline, completing a 25-yard pass that was originally ruled an in-completion.

Perhaps the most frustrating penalty call of the game occured at the most inopportune time for the Vikings. A 10-yard touchdown throw to Rice was nullified by a supposed tripping penalty (seen at the 2:00 mark of NFL-Scoreboard-Vikings-Steelers-highlights”>this video ) by Jeff Dugan.

This penalty fueled a 14-point turn around for the Steelers, as they forced a fumble and ran the ball across the field for a touchdown, putting the score to 20-10.

Rookie receiver Percy Harvin ran the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown of his own, though, giving Minnesota the momentum despite still being down by three points.

The highlight-reel clip of the game came from Peterson in the play directly following the two-minute warning. Facing a critical third-and-four from his own 45-yard line, Favre shuffled a quick pass to Peterson up the middle.

Turning around after catching the ball, Peterson saw Pittsburgh’s William Gay six inches from his face. Instead of attempting a spin, or juke, Peterson simply lowered his head and continued plowing forward for a gain of 29 yards. (See it here at the 3:06 mark. )

In the red zone with under two minutes to play, Favre had the chance to give the Vikings a four-point lead, but tossed the ball a bit too high to Chester Taylor. Unable to hold on, the ball slipped through Taylor’s hands right into a Pittsburgh defender, who returned it for another Steeler touchdown, sealing the fate of the Vikings.

Although now with a blemished record, the Vikings hung with a very solid team at a hostile location. Remove a few questionable play-calls and a fluke interception, and Minnesota is still one of the best teams in the league.

That said, there are certainly some things the Vikings need to improve. While the conservative play-calling at critical times in the game probably won’t cease, Minnesota would be doing themselves much good by working on both late-game pass defense and offensive tackling.

Next week, providing they are able to keep Aaron Rodgers upright, the Green Bay Packers will have a much easier time exploiting the absence of Winfield in the secondary. Benny Sapp, Karl Paymah, and Asher Allen all need to be at the top of their games.

Despite the great performance put up by the Vikings on Sunday against the Steelers, some improvement will be needed in order to maintain their leg-up on the rest of the NFC North.

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Brett Favre: Re-Writing History

It was only six months ago that the main stream media were tweeting, posting, writing, and talking about how tired they already were with the whole Brett Favre saga; even fans had had enough. It was becoming a joke; is he going to stay retired or unretire. Even a four-letter network cut a promo ad poking fun at the whole offseason drama that ensued.

Looking back, was it Favre making this a bigger decision than it really was or was it the networks, media, and sports personalities just trying to reinvent the wheel by making this whole “waffling story” a bigger deal than it needed to be. After all, when Vinny Testaverde retired and came back out of retirement (20 times) was there a circus surrounding his decision and questioning his motive?

Sure Vinny’s decision or announcements were hardly “stop the presses,” but why was it such a big deal for Brett Favre to change his mind and comeback? Why did so many blast him for considering and reconsidering, maybe, just maybe he knew just a little better what was best for Brett Favre.

So many of us can sit at home and play armchair quarterback or GM for that matter, weigh over the circumstances and draw our own conclusions from observation alone. But how much can we really know? How can you measure one man’s heart and really know what fuels his fire?

Maybe he knew what he was doing, just maybe he was right. In hindsight it’s always easier to second guess, because let’s face it, even in the 12th hour it appeared Favre himself didn’t even know what to do; to think if Vikings head coach Brad Childress had not made that one last reach out to the former three-time NFL MVP. If Chilly doesn’t make the call, what would all of us be talking about today?

The simple fact is the call was made, Favre said yes and once again we could be looking at history being made. But the critics will tell you we have seen this all before and all too well. Last season with the Jets‘ 8-3 start, there was talk of a postseason run, and then like a fly hitting a wall; it all became just a bad dream. Could this just be another repeat or are we seeing something different?

Unlike last season, the Jets for Favre were like the next hot girl right after a bad breakup with your longtime girlfriend. It’s always nice to have someone, but it’s not always where you want to be and with whom you really want to be with; but it’ll do. For what it’s worth, Favre made the best of the situation, but like any turbulent relationship doomed from the start it did not end on the best of terms; but it had to end.

The Vikings weren’t ever going to replace his first love (Packers), but like a long time close (girl) friend that has always been there with the shoulder to lean on, understanding, and with open arms to comfort this relationship when first conceived (last year) always made sense. In Minnesota, Favre had strong ties that would make him feel welcome.

Even when Favre was teetering and unsure, rather than understand that at 39 years age the heart wants what the heart wants and that one has to consider can the body survive, the masses (analysts, bloggers, columnists) would rather crucify the guy for seeming to hold a franchise hostage and keeping the football world waiting. It may have seemed selfish to many, but when it comes right down to it, this was Brett’s decision and with the support of his family there was only one person he needed to consider.

His decision to play his 19th NFL season did not come easy and it was quite apparent no one covering the story or having an opinion on the matter and every self-serving so-called football analyst and expert were not going to help make it easy.

From right out of the gate, the Favre-hating nation was quick to jump on his signs of rustiness and call out his perceived limitations. Again, pushing 40 years of age and coming off a season were the toll of 16 games had beat him down, how much longer could Favre really play. Was he even the shell of a player we had watched take a Packer team to the NFC championship in 2007?

The Vikings started strong in 2009 and needed very little help from Favre in the first couple of weeks (after two games; 265 yards passing and three touchdown passes). With Favre adding very little to the offense, why was he even in Minnesota? Was he doing anything more that the other two quarterbacks the Vikings had in reserve couldn’t? And just like that there was the talk of a “schism.” Is that even a word? Everyone and their mother had a take on this.

The so-called schism was being addressed on every air-wave, every talk show, and sure enough there it was on the four letter network being addressed like some kind of physical injury, Favre, Childress, and the Vikings would have to deal with and adjust to. The entire situation was being made out like the Vikings faced a divided locker room.

Why all the drama? Seriously, was Brett wrong to comeback? Was it really that hard to understand a man’s love and deep passion for the game? Apparently Childress was confident of his decision and believed in Favre; so why the attention and why the uproar?

Little did anyone realize or see this coming, but the Vikings Week-Three matchup with the 2-0 Niners would not only define Favre’s reasoning for coming back, but it would mark the beginning of history being rewritten once again.

In dramatic fashion that only Favre can bring, the Vikings’ new team leader took his new team upon his back. Favre would not use his voice to lead the way, but the boy from Mississippi would lead with his actions.

In a battle of then unbeatens the two teams traded haymakers, back and forth throughout the game, it was one big timely play after another. First the Vikings struck late in the third quarter and took the lead with a blistering 101-yard kickoff return by Percy Harvin. Then it was the Niners who struck back early in the fourth quarter with a Vernon Davis catch to lead 24-20.

As the clock continued to wind down, the moment had arrived. It was time for Favre to show the world what he was all about and how he loved the game; and loved to win. Calm, cool, and collected Favre took the field, kept plays alive with his feet, made throw after throw as he drove his team into position.

With just 12 seconds left to play, it was time for magic. Favre scrambled out to his right to avoid the Niner pressure, as he avoided a potential tackler he stepped up the field, and then in a last wing and a prayer throw he let go a 32-yard laser that miraculously found its’ way to the back of the end-zone, into the hands of the newly signed wide receiver Greg Lewis.

Lewis’ grab completed a sensational game-winning touchdown reception that not only elevated the Vikings to 3-0, but ended the talk of any kind of schism or divided locker room. The play was everything you would have expected from a younger, gunslinger, a Favre of yesterday, but this was today and history was being written all over.

In Week Four, Favre would add another chapter to his legacy and make more history. When the Vikings defeated the Packers on Monday night, Favre became the only quarterback in the history of the NFL to defeat all 32 teams in the NFL.

Favre is playing inspired football now. Perhaps all the negative chatter prior to his arrival has motivated him? One thing appears to be certain, not only does Favre have plenty left in the tank, but many of the nay-sayers had it wrong.

Since Week Three, Favre has played like a 30-year-old. His numbers are rivaling the best in the league and over his past four starts he’s averaged 270 yards passing and thrown nine touchdowns with only two interceptions. While many try to explain Favre’s sudden resurrection an interesting comment made during the Vikings-Packers matchup in Week Four by commentator and football analyst Ron Jaworski.

Favre was a late arrival to camp this year, but by Week Four against the Packers he had put in the same length of time of a full training camp. At this point it would be a fair assessment to gauge his progress and level of play; needless to say Favre’s performance on Monday night was flawless (24-of-31 passing, 271 yards passing, and three touchdowns). Against his former team Favre was accurate; his passes had plenty of zip and velocity, while his spirals were tight and on the mark.

So what makes 2009 different from a year ago when Favre seemed to have collapsed in the second half of the season? At no point in 2008 was he this efficient and effective. His strong start last year could not disguise his gun-slinging tendencies with eight interceptions in his first six starts. This season, Favre has been much better throwing 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions and completing nearly 70 percent of his passes.

There’s no guarantee that Favre will hold up this season, but then again there seems to be no reason to believe that he will break down. The bicep injury that seemed to undermine his 2008 comeback hardly seems to be an issue in 2009. He’s throwing the ball as well as he ever has and if history repeats as it has often does, this season is sure reminiscent of 2007.

With all the negative criticism surrounding his return, there are still many just waiting for the moment that Favre will tank or resort to his normal tendencies. For those that still don’t believe, holding your breath is not recommended.At 40 years of age now, Favre is defying the odds and every game he plays and every snap he takes he is rewriting the record books. On Sunday Favre will make his 276th consecutive start (an NFL record). His week seven matchup with the Steelers will present a huge test for Favre as he goes for his 176 career win (another NFL record).

When camp opened up back in the summer, many folks like the Vikings chances heading into the 2009 season. With Favre under center and slinging the rock this well, the Vikings have to like their chances. We may not have imagined it before, but how you have to think we could be watching something very special; you might even say we’re watching (Favre’s) history be re-written.

That’s my take.

By David Ortega

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Minnesota Vikings Survive Baltimore Ravens 33-31, Despite Poor Clock Management

As brilliant as the Vikings have been recently in their ability to score in the first quarter, they have been as simple in their attempts to manage the clock and score in the fourth quarter to finish off their opponents.

On the last play of the game, Baltimore Ravens kicker Steven Hauschka missed a 44-yard field goal wide left.  The Vikings had won their second game of the season within the last two seconds of the game.

 The Vikings stand 6-0 and are one of only four remaining unbeaten teams in the NFL.   Ordinarily players on a team that is 6-0 would be ear to ear with smiles in their post game interviews.

However, smiles were scant in the locker room.  After all the Ravens had scored 21 points against the Vikings defense in the fourth quarter and had marched down the field to position themselves to kick the game winning field goal.

All of the Vikings knew that they were fortunate to escape with their sixth win after their fourth quarter collapse.

The Vikings stood at 14-0 at the end of the first quarter.  The game should have been over given the experience of the defense and the weapons on the offense.   Yet, ultimately the game was decided by the Ravens field goal kicker.

The main reason for the Vikings collapse was due to poor tackling in the second half.  Ravens running backs and receivers ran over, through and around the linebackers and secondary of the Vikings. 

Part of the explanation for the lacking of tackling by the Vikings is attributable to injuries. All-Pro Antoine Winfield left the game with a toe injury in the second quarter and nickel back Benny Sapp missed most of the second half feeling the effects of a helmet to helmet hit.   

While Winfield and Sapp are key players, the Vikings can’t afford the drop off in execution when one or both of them are not in the game. The Vikings will likely be shopping for some secondary help before the trade deadline.

The most disturbing part of the Vikings collapse against the Ravens however was the self-inflicted wound brought about by their play calling in the fourth quarter. 

Before criticizing the Vikings execution in the fourth quarter, lavish praise for the play calling of the Vikings and what they have recently been able to do in the first quarter is due.  In their past three games, the Vikings have scored five touchdowns with the six possessions that they have had in the first quarter. 

Against the Ravens, the Vikings deftly kept the Ravens guessing mixing up their runs and passes early in the game.  On the first drive the Vikings had three running plays and three passes; on their second drive they had three running plays and four passes.  Favre even mixed up his passing targets as he went to five different receivers in the first two drives of the game.

Clearly, the Vikings coaching staff is able to identify weaknesses in their opponents defensive schemes and design and successfully implement an initial offensive game plan.

In watching the Vikings last two home games, Vikings fans had to wonder why their coaching staff wasn’t as effective in the fourth quarter in generating points and managing the clock.  Yes, the last two home games .

The Vikings almost squandered a 30-14 fourth quarter lead against Green Bay three weeks ago.  At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Vikings stopped using play action and went to simple trap plays.

The Packers took advantage of the gift scoring a touchdown with 3:40 in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 30-20.  The Vikings recovered the ensuing onside kick at the Green Bay 45-yard line. 

At this point, if the Vikings can get a first down or two the game is over.  Two first downs and the Vikings will have drained the Packers of their time outs, they can kick a field goal within Ryan Longwell’s range, and they leave the Packers without enough time to tie the game.

The Vikings go conservative and are content simply to run the ball on the first two downs to exhaust the Packers timeouts.  On third down, the Vikings run a flag route resulting in an incomplete pass. 

The flag route was not disguised in anyway.  There was no fake pitch to the running back to bring the safety up. 

A stop and go route would have at least given Favre an opportunity to sneak a pass in using a pump fake.  Once the receiver demonstrated that he couldn’t run pass the corner back, Favre threw the ball harmlessly out of bounds.

The Vikings possession gave them no opportunity to add any points, lasted all of 29 seconds and allowed the Packers to use the two minute warning as an additional time out.  

The Packers being gracious guests accepted the gift and marched down for a field goal.   While the Packers had no timeouts left they were now within seven points of the Vikings preparing to kick an onside kick. 

Disaster was avoided when the Vikings recovered the on-side kick.

Against the Ravens it was déjà vu all over again.

The Vikings had the ball the on the Ravens 18 yard line with 2:51 in the game.  At the time, the Ravens were winning the game at 31-30.  The Ravens had two timeouts remaining.

The Vikings clearly wanted to have the Ravens use all their time outs and wanted to run down the clock as much as possible to leave the Ravens with only a few seconds to score.

The most pressing need for the Vikings was to score and to take the lead as they were behind.   Preferably the Vikings would score a touchdown as a field goal would leave the Ravens the opportunity to win the game with their own field goal.

The Vikings with the ball on the Ravens 18 went ultra-conservative. The Vikings pounded the ball up the middle with three straight Adrian Peterson runs gaining four yards.  The Vikings were clearly content with Baltimore calling their remaining two timeouts and having Ryan Longwell kick a 31-yard field goal to give them a two-point lead.

After the kickoff, Baltimore started their final possession at the 33-yard line with 1:46 left in the game.  The strategy worked for the Vikings.

However, the three running plays called by the Vikings at Baltimore’s 18-yard line appeared to be playing not to lose as opposed to the Vikings playing to win the game.

The Vikings didn’t need to call a flea flicker or a double reverse on the 18-yard line, but they should have at least called one play that was some type of play-action or bootleg for Favre. 

If the play works the Vikings have a chance to score a touchdown or at the very least run more time off the clock as they would have obtained a first down.   

The Vikings defense had not stopped the Ravens from moving the ball in the second half.  Scoring a touchdown on the Ravens would have at least forced the Ravens to go for the entire length of the field to take the lead.   

Yes, calling such a play is dangerous in that there is a chance for an interception.  However, the benefits far outweigh the minimal risk.

Favre has 12 touchdowns to only two interceptions and had not made a bad throw in the game.  Worst case, Favre takes a knee for a five-yard loss if he sees nothing open.  Longwell’s kick is a little longer but it is still a relatively easy 36-yard field goal.

The chance of success on play action with a pass was not insignificant.  The Vikings scored three touchdowns against the Ravens in the red zone.  All three touchdowns came on pass plays.  The Vikings final touchdown pass of the day by Favre came after he faked a pitch to Peterson.

Sometimes you win by playing it safe.  The Vikings won by playing it safe on Sunday as the Ravens missed the field goal as time expired. 

However, sometimes playing it safe allows your opponent an opportunity to beat you; and sometimes they are willing to oblige. The Vikings need to stop being such gracious hosts as they have the talent to have the route to the Super Bowl go through the Metrodome.

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Letter to the Vikings by TJ Houshmandzadeh

Dear Minnesota, the Vikings, and your fans:

I must admit, I am a little embarrassed to be writing this. Earlier this year you rolled out the red carpet for me, giving it your all to try and make me a Viking.

And did I say yes?


And why? Cause I’m a fool. I was a fool. I am a fool. And I will forever be known as a fool. In fact, I may have made Crabtree look smart.

I took the bigger paycheck and went to a team with a better QB. Now after four weeks Hasselbeck only has 376 yards and three TD’s. But seriously, who could have predicted that the Lord was going to speak to Childress directly and send him his disciple? I can’t even mention his name, it chokes me up every time. 

I understand that you tried to replace the spot I didn’t fill by drafting that hack Percy Harvin. I mean seriously, he’s only had three TD’s this year and is pushing towards being the NFC rookie of the year.  2nd tier hack. HACK!

The truth is you need me in Minnesota. Okay you really don’t, but please don’t make me beg. Okay, okay I’ll beg. Please let me come to Minnesota. Please. Oh please take me. I want to be undefeated too. All I have is a cold from this crappy weather and a goose egg in the TD column. Not to mention one of the worst records in football.

So to Minnesota, the Vikings, and your fans I get it now and I’m sorry. But you do know that the trade deadline isn’t for another 12 days, right?  



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Same Favre, Different Team: Brett’s Minnesota Vikings Stomp Green Bay Packers

I’ve read about this specific topic, and heard the endless hype for a week. I’ve felt animosity from Cheesehead maniacs who’ve suddenly turned on Brett Favre because of his unforeseen and flaky notion to hold the Green Bay Packers hostage for months.

But lastly, it was the surreal transition after Favre un-retired and signed with the Minnesota Vikings, wearing purple, and drawing much hype in the most-anticipated and highly publicized Monday night showdown.

Wearing a purple jersey is hard imaging, emotionally disappointing a confounded town. Now, the starting quarterback of the Packers’ archrivals is unbearable and the last thing Wisconsinites wanted to see.

And it has to be more painful for general manager Ted Thompson, who unsympathetically traded the egotistic veteran to the New York Jets, weary of his off-and-on retiring.

He made it clear that it was time to move in a new direction, when Favre clearly had difficulty making up his mind. Certain he was unwelcomed, Favre needed to make a statement that he wasn’t washed up, which is why he urged the Vikings to sign him.

It perfectly suited an obscured franchise that desperately needed a franchise quarterback to rejuvenated optimism and vitality inside the Metrodome. But it cynically shattered emotions on the other side, taking much energy away from myriad of fans that expressed loyalty to an admirable legend.

Whether he came back to obtain revenge, or attempt winning a Super Bowl and finally retire on top, Favre came away victorious. And he painfully brought back memories of the same man who guided the Packers for 16 seasons, with a powerful throwing arm, invaluable mobility and accuracy that symbolized the fortitude of the Packers.

Even though Favre made a decisive statement, Thompson doesn’t regret yielding on him and is satisfied with Aaron Rodgers. They’ve clearly moved forward, and promised the most-analyzed job in football to Rodgers, who is committed to following the steps of a legendary icon handling challenges as a humble and respectable leader. 

But now, even though they’ve moved on with Rodgers, still Favre is an inimitable gunslinger. Notice he beat his former team and won the quarterback duel over his successor Rodgers, avoiding a week of humiliating criticism.

Just image, if he’d had loss to his former team at home in front of a loud and sold out crowd. Just image if he’d had failed in a quarterback duel, and allowed Rodgers to beat him at his game. If he specifically returned for revenge, a loss would have backfired and created irrelevant hype.

Favre, as usual, prevailed on the grandest stage. Given history, he’s the greatest to rule Monday night games adding to his resume. The intensity level inside an energized dome, nearly blew off the roof when Favre exploited savvy awareness and mobility, delivering a 1-yard pass to Visanthe Shiancoe.

Reacting as a passionate kid, scoring his first ever touchdown against his former team, he pumped his fist and pointed skyward. Amid emotions, he body bumped kicker Ryan Longwell, blissful scoring on a night emotions were heavy facing long-time friends and former teammates.

Knowing the Packers schemes, Favre executed his passes. His shoulder is more robust than ever, giving him strength to make powerful throws. Playing as a Viking, he’s on a team that improvises Super Bowl possibilities and before retiring he has a shot at winning a title.

Maybe he’ll consider retiring if he wins. But until then, he’s playing like a young and raw talented player that has just entered the league. In five days, he’ll turn 40-years old and still can manipulate defenses and his psyche is the same way it was 15 years ago. 

As a rival, he rebelliously killed his former team, throwing for three touchdown passes. During one of his touchdown celebrations, Favre chest bumped running back Chester Taylor and knocked him to the turf.

At times, the Packers secondary seemed a bit inferior, especially when Favre lofted an incredible pass to receiver Bernard Berrian on a play defensive backs Al Harris and Derrick Martin were burnt.

Whether Favre is a wishy-washy future Hall of Famer who cannot make up his mind, misleading teams and constantly retiring, still it’s hard not to love the guy for his passion and exceptional dominance.

Oh, but it’s hard to ignore a blistering defense, especially when a relentless defensive end Jared Allen had 4½ sacks, harassing and pressuring Rodgers. That made the night rigid, having to nearly escape on every play and drive to avoid been sacked. Of course, Rodgers nifty footwork and awareness inside the pocket gave him an advantage to execute passes, but that wasn’t enough as Favre dazzled and led the Vikings to a 30-23 victory.

Assuming Favre had retired for good, the Vikings would’ve ran things offensively with either an erratic and inconsistent Tarvaris Jackson or Sage Rosenfels. So now, it’s understandable why coach Brad Childress lobbied for Favre, knowing the toughness and damage he could create with his arm strength.

Since arriving, he has built a strong bond with receiver Sidney Rice, finding the explosive wideout on a 14-yard touchdown pass to complete a well-designed 77-yard drive, of which he was a perfect 5 for 5.

While it was difficult slowing down Favre’s passing game, the Packers didn’t have much problems stopping the rush attack of Adrian Peterson, who was held to a staggering 55 yards on 25 carries. They forced him into a critical mistake, when Clay Matthews amazingly ripped it out of Peterson’s arms and returned it 42-yards for a touchdown.

But Favre stole the show, calmly handling the 3-4 scheme of defensive coordinator Dom Capers. However, the Vikings won the defensive matchup. In the first quarter, Allen forced Rodgers to fumble, which changed the momentum and generated energy.

But impressively Favre emphasized that he remains the best quarterback to ever play the game, finishing the night 24 of 31 for 271 yards with no interceptions. There’s perhaps just one accomplishment left on Favre’s Vikings agenda. That’s obviously to win a Super Bowl, and trusts me, they have the ingredients.

Just alone, with Favre nothing is impossible. After all, he’s the Vikings main ingredient.

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Whitaker’s Week 4 NFL Picks

Lions @ Chicago Bears – The Lions’ poor defensive line will be the difference in this game, a game that Matt Forte will have his 2009 grand re-opening party.
My Pick – Chi-Town

Bengals @ Cleveland Browns – The Browns suck, and the Bengals are better than I or most thought. However, I don’t think this game will be a blowout.  Mainly because of the re-insertion of Browns quarterback Derrick Anderson and his ability to sling it deep, especially to WR Braylon Edwards, which will be tough for the slow safeties of Cinci to deal with.
My Pick – Bengals

Raiders @ Houston Texans – This game will showcase one of the best 1-on-1 matchups you will see all year in the NFL, WR Andre Johnson (the best WR in the game) vs. CB Nnamdi Asomugha (the best corner in the game).  Though it is true, I think Nnamdi will win that matchup (just like did last year when Nnamdi held AJ to 19 yards on two catches), the Texans are at home, and they are the better team.
My Pick – Houston

Seahawks @ Indianapolis Colts – A good friend of mine asked me which will loss would be bigger in this game: the Seahawks’ loss of QB Matt Hasselbeck or the Colts’ loss of DE Dwight Freeney, and I wavered on my answer, but I did come up with one. I think Seattle will be missing Hasselbeck more because with LT Walter Jones missing another game, and his backup Sean Locklear probably missing this one too, Raheem Brock (Freeney’s replacement) will do just fine and so will the home team in this one.
My Pick – Indy in a blowout

Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars – The fact that the Jagz (5-11 last year) have a win and the Titans (13-3 last year) don’t is enough karma for the Titans to get their first win in Jacksonville, Sunday.
My Pick – Titans

Giants @ Kansas City Chiefs – Chris Canty DT/DE, Justin Tuck DE, Kenny Phillips S, and CB Aaron Ross are all starters for the NFL’s best defense, and they are all out for the team’s trip to KC.  Cheif No. 1, WR Dwayne Bowe, may be out, but that is the only major Chief starter who may be out for this game. And even if he does play healthy, Giant corner Corey Webster is more than capable of locking Bowe down, leaving the Chiefs one- dimensional on offense—with guys like DTs Fred Robbins, Barry Coefield, and Rocky Bernard all healthy, that other dimension for KC will be non- existent.
My Pick – NY Football Giants in a blowout

Ravens @ New England Patriots
– This will be the week Tom Brady turns back into Tom Brady.  The Ravens’ corners are average at best, and as great as Ed Reed is, he can’t be everywhere at one time.  New England’s pass offense will be enough to give the Ravens their first loss of ’09.
My Pick – New England

Bucs @ Washington D.C. – Yes, Washington was the first team to lose to the Detroit Lions since George W. Bush was President, but the fact that this game in week four is in Washington, and the Bucs have nobody to handle Albert Haynesworth (Bucs Pro Bowl center is still out with a triceps injury).  So, first time starter Josh Johnson and the alleged run-first Bucs will have all sorts of problems all afternoon.
My Pick – Washington in a blowout

Jets @ New Orleans Saints – The story here is pretty clear, Saints’ O vs. Jets’ D.  The Saints have the best offense in the NFL, and I’m not talking stats or numbers (granted they are stat wize the No. 1 in the NFL, but I’m just sayin’), they just do.  The Jets have a very talented defense that is still missing starting OLB Calvin Pace, but even with Pace, they don’t have the NFL’s best defense.  Even better for the Saints, they are at home to host the Jets.
My Pick – New Orleans

Bills @ Miami Dolphins – Now I know Chad Pennington is out for the year and the other Chad (Henne) will be making his ever first NFL start, but LT Jake Long and RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams will take all sorts of pressure off of Henne’s shoulders.  And if sack master JP, i.e. LB Joey Porter (he has a hamstring issue) plays this Sunday, he will be going against former RT filling in at LT Johnathan Scott (former backup now starter Demetrius Bell is out for week four with a groin problem), and Kirk Chambers, who is a former LT who will play RT (cuz Scott is moving to LT).  Chambers is going up against possible future HOF OLB Jason Taylor, so Trent Edwards will have little time to go deep to WRs Terrell Owens and Lee Evans.
My Pick – Miami

Cowboys @ Denver Broncos – The Broncos aren’t as good as their record that’s clear, but the Cowboys aren’t either.  If AJ Feeley is the quarter back for Carolina last Monday Night the Cowboys are 1-2.  And with Dallas gaping holes at the WR (TO gone) and OLB (long time Cowboy Greg Ellis gone) spots, they won’t get the ball down the field and they won’t get to Denver QB Kyle Orton.  With Denver getting better each week running the football, it will make things even easier for the Broncos through the air, especially since the Cowboys’ secondary has struggled all year.  By the way, the only QB the Cowboys have picked off all year is Jake Dellohme.
My Pick – Denver

Rams @ San Francisco 49ers – No Frank Gore, no problem.  No Marc Bulger (former first round bust, QB Kyler Boller will step in for Bulger), BIG problem.  The Rams are still without second overall pick RT Jason Smith, and last week the Niners put pressure on Brett Favre all day, (memo to those who don’t know already, Boller is not Brett Favre).  The Niners may even open it up a lil’ and might let Shaun Hill go for 300 yards for the first time this season, and why not?  The Rams are fourth worst in the NFL in yards per pass giving up 8.3 per.
My Pick – San Francisco in a blowout

Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers  – In recent history the current NFL Champs have owned the Chargers, even beating them twice last season.  So far this season, the Steelers are 1-2, and mighty ticked off at the fact they are 1-2, probably because they gave away their last two games at the end.  The Chargers on the other hand owe their first win this season (Chargers are 2-1) to a last second Phillip Rivers drive and Darren Sproles TD run, up in Oakland.  Willie Parker is out for this one, but LaDainian Tomlinson should play, the only problem.  The amazing thing is that doesn’t make much of a difference, Chargers Pro Bowl DT Jamal Williams is out for the year, and Mewelde Moore has done a pretty good job when he’s had to fill in for Willie Parker.  On the other side, the Chargers’ offensive line has been pushed around all year and center Nick Hardwick is still out (ankle injury), and the Steelers of course have one of the best run defenses in the NFL, even when Troy Polamalu is out.
My Pick – Pittsburgh

Packers @ Minnesota Vikings – Granted, the vaunted gave up 24 points at home to Shaun Hill and a rookie RB, but with Packers’ starting LT Chad Clifton still out, and his replacement usual starter at LG Daryn Colledge getting schooled by a half-way decent DE in Cinci in week two (Antwan Odom).  I’m sure Jared Allen could try for five sacks of his own, and put the hurt on Brett Favre’s replacement, Aaron Rodgers.  Not only that, but hey, the Packers let talented Rams RB Steven Jackson go 163 total yards, and last time I checked, Adrian Peterson is more talented than any running back in the NFL, let alone Jackson.

My Pick – Minnesota

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Expert NFL Sports Picks: Week Four Predictions

This weekend will mark the quarter mark of the season for many teams and it seems like it has gone by extremely fast. While we’re learning a lot about some teams, the truth is we still have a long way to go.

Many of the teams that look good now will not look so good at the end of the year, and vice versa. Therefore, don’t underestimate an underdog at this point. You never know when an underdog is just starting to gel and start winning.

What should we expect from the Free NFL Sports Picks this week?


Oakland vs. Houston (Houston -9.5)

As long as the Raiders have JaMarcus Russell at quarterback, don’t expect them to do much in the way of offense. While they looked decent in the first half of Week One, they haven’t looked good since. Although they seemed like a good running team, they haven’t even been able to run much with the terrible play of JaMarcus Russell under center.

The Texans are looking good on offense, but it remains to be seen whether they can stop anyone.


Tennessee vs. Jacksonville (Tennessee -3)

The AFC South is one of the hardest divisions to play in in the league. Every week, there is some “knock-down, drag-out” matchup that comes down to the wire. Last week, it was Jacksonville and Houston, and this week should be about the same with this game.

Will Maurice Jones-Drew be able to continue his magic against the Titans defense? Chris Johnson should have a big game against the Jacksonville defense.


New England vs. Baltimore (New England -2)

The Patriots put up a good game last week against the Falcons, winning easily. However, their opponent this weekend will not go down without a fight. Many believe that the Ravens are the best team in football, and this should be a great game.

Can Tom Brady start to get in-sync with his receivers again? Or will Ray Lewis and the Baltimore defense seize the day?


Cincinnati vs. Cleveland (Cincinnati -5.5)

Will the Cleveland offense ever be able to move the ball? This week “ Man-Genius” will try get things going by starting Derrick Anderson. Will Anderson actually make a difference?

For the Bengals, Carson Palmer looks like he’s back at full strength and should be able to move the ball against Cleveland. Look for this division rivalry to be a close game.


New York Giants vs. Kansas City (New York -8.5)

The Chiefs looked terrible last week against the Eagles. However, just because they looked bad, don’t count them out against the Giants. How many times have you seen a team look completely awful and then come out the next week and look like world-beaters? It happens all the time in the NFL.

This might be another blowout, but don’t rule out a close game at Arrowhead.


Detroit vs. Chicago (Chicago -10)

Detroit got its first win in the last two seasons last week. This week they get a much better Chicago team that has already knocked off Pittsburgh. Matt Forte should have a great game against the Detroit defense and get the ball in the end zone.

Will Matt Stafford be able to keep his offense moving against the Bears?


Tampa Bay vs. Washington (Washington -7)

This could be the least attractive game on the schedule this week. Both of these teams look terrible and they’re actually going to play each other this week. Anytime you’re an underdog to a team that just lost to the Lions last week, things are not looking good. That is the position that Tampa finds itself in this week after benching Leftwich.


New York Jets vs. New Orleans (New Orleans -7)

This could be the best game of the week as two unbeaten teams match up. The Jets look to keep things going behind rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez. On the other side of the field, the Saints have the best quarterback in the league in Drew Brees.

Will the Jets defense be able to slow down the vaunted Saints offense? Look for an entertaining game in this one.


Buffalo vs. Miami (Buffalo -2)

Miami looks like they’re out to prove that last year was a fluke as they have stumbled out of the gate to an 0-3 start. The Bills haven’t exactly been lighting the world on fire, but they’ve looked better than Miami so far. Last week, T.O. was held without a catch for the first time in 13 years and he probably won’t be happy about it this week.

Look for him to start a new streak this week.


St. Louis vs. San Francisco (San Francisco -9.5)

The Rams look like they might challenge last year’s Detroit team for the worst in the league. They lost their quarterback and haven’t looked very good at any point this season. The Niners, on the other hand, have looked good for all but the last play of their third game.

On paper, this doesn’t look like a very even matchup, but anything can happen.


Dallas vs. Denver (Dallas -3)

The Cowboys have looked like a juggernaut at times and awful at others. A lot of it depends on how Tony Romo is playing in each game. If he can keep from throwing picks, look out for the Cowboys. This should be a good test to see if Denver’s defense is for real or just a mirage of bad scheduling.


San Diego vs. Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh -6.5)

Pittsburgh comes into this game as the favorite even though they are 1-2 on the season. Usually the oddsmakers give you the benefit of the doubt when you just won the Super Bowl. This should be a pretty even game as the Chargers are a talented football team. Look for a game that goes right down to the wire here.


Green Bay vs. Minnesota (Minnesota -3.5)

This game is all about the Brett Favre saga, but it should actually be a pretty good game between two teams. This one will be talked about all week, leading up to the game.


Make sure you check out Vernon Croy’s Expert NFL Sports Picks for Week Four of the NFL season.

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