Archive for the Super Bowl Category


Reeling Green Bay Packers: Sorry, Titletown, It’s Not 2003 Anymore

It was Ted Thompson’s worst nightmare, and fittingly enough, it happened just hours after Halloween ended.

Brett Favre. Celebrating at Lambeau Field. After having just beaten the Packers. As a member of the (shudder) Minnesota Vikings.

But the true nightmare for Mike McCarthy’s team is not that Brett Favre is now ahead of Ted Thompson in the greatest ongoing battle of will and ego since Roger Waters and David Gilmour fought over the use of the name “Pink Floyd.”

The Packers’ true nightmare, or at least it should be, is that by losing 38-26 to Favre’s Vikings on Sunday, they have virtually lost any hope they had of winning the NFC North title this season.

By sweeping the Packers and taking a 7-1 record into their bye week, the Vikings are virtually three games up on Green Bay’s soon-to-be 5-3 record (yes, I’m already putting next week’s game against Tampa Bay in the Packers’ win column; it’s the very definition of “lock of the week”).

That three-game lead will be nearly impossible to erase over the course of eight weeks.

But hold it, you say. Aren’t the Minnesota Vikings the biggest choke artists in the history of professional sports?

Aren’t they the team that a decade ago went 15-1 in the regular season and didn’t even make the Super Bowl? That started the 2003 season 6-0 and didn’t even make the playoffs? And then followed that up the next season by starting 5-1 only to finish at 8-8?

Well, yes.

It’s particularly tempting for Packers fans to look back on that 2003 season for reasons to believe that Green Bay has a shot at the NFC North title in 2009; in 2003, the Vikings held an even greater four-game lead on the Packers just seven weeks into the season. In the eighth game of the season, Green Bay beat Minnesota at the Metrodome, sparking a 7-2 run over the last nine weeks.

The Vikings, meanwhile, went 3-6 over those nine weeks, culminating in a last-second loss to the terrible Arizona Cardinals that sent the purple home for the off-season and the Packers into the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the 2009 Vikings are not the 2003 Vikings and the 2009 Packers are not the 2003 Packers.

The 2003 Vikings had the turnover-prone Daunte Culpepper, the malcontent Randy Moss, the two-headed-garbage backfield of Michael Bennett and Moe Williams, a truly awful defense, and a true bonehead (Mike Tice) for a coach.

The 2009 Vikings have, at worst, a very good defense, an infinitely better rushing attack with Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor, unselfish receivers, and (yes, you knew I had to throw this in) a major upgrade at quarterback. And while Brad Childress isn’t exactly the second coming of Bud Grant, he’s not as big a putz as Tice was.

The 2009 Packers, meanwhile, look great on paper, in meaningless preseason games, and in lining up against the dregs of the NFL, but they carry with them major problems that are apparently irreparable under the current roster and regime.

This year’s Packers take too many penalties. Scratch that. They take too many stupid penalties.

They don’t get pressure on the quarterback.

Due to injury, they have an over-the-hill power running back returning kicks.

And, most glaring of all, they possess one of the worst NFL offensive lines in recent memory, which severely hinders their run game and makes Aaron Rodgers, who has become one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks in an astonishingly short period of time, the biggest whipping boy since Saved By The Bell ’s Screech.

If the 2010 Packers can shore up that offensive line, they can play with anyone.

But this 2009 Packer team will be in a dogfight for one of two NFC Wild Card spots, and despite the alarming increase in godawful NFL teams this year, the Packers will face some stiff competition for those spots: Atlanta, Chicago, and any team from the NFC East not based in the nation’s capital are talented teams that will be fighting with the Packers for a postseason berth.

To make matters worse, the Packers have already played the majority of their cupcake games: After Tampa, Green Bay must play Baltimore, a rejuvenated Dallas, plus road games at Pittsburgh, at Arizona, and at Chicago.

The Vikings, meanwhile, get a very winnable three-game home stand after their bye week, and while some may question Favre’s durability as the season progresses, it seems just as likely that having the Packers games behind him has to be such a huge relief that he might even start to play better.

Favre continuing to play better? Now that he’s swept the Packers, that’s the NFC’s nightmare, not Ted Thompson’s.

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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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NFL Power Rankings Week Seven: Vikings Ride Brett Favre Mojo

By the UO Sports Dude

This was one of the worst sports weekends of my life. The Oregon Ducks had the week off, the 49ers were on a bye, the A’s are long gone, and it’s still preseason for the Warriors and the Sharks (wait, we’re two weeks into the NHL regular season already? I had no idea).

Without the privilege of watching my beloved Ducks on Saturday, I was forced to watch something only one step below water boarding on the torture scale—Big Ten football. Iowa-Wisconsin, Ohio State-Purdue, Penn State-Minnesota? Gross. And by the way, what’s Michigan doing playing an FCS team in Week Seven?

It was so bad I chose to write my four-page philosophy essay instead. The only reason I retained my sanity through the weekend was the NFL Red Zone channel.  

But all will be made up for next weekend, when I travel to Seattle for the first time to support the Ducks in Husky Stadium. Who cares if my seats are in Lake Washington.

On to the rankings.

32 (32) – Rams:

Somebody please tell me why the Red Zone channel kept flashing back to this game during the last few minutes of the RavensVikings game? Really. Did anybody outside of St. Louis or Jacksonville care? Hell, did anybody in St. Louis or Jacksonville care?

31 (30) – Buccaneers:

Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, they lose to Jake Delhomme’s Carolina Panthers. At home. The only bright spot was Cadillac Williams’ performance, because now my roommate can shut up about him being the reason why his fantasy football team is 1-5.  Your QB is Mark Sanchez! Cadillac isn’t the problem.

30 (25) – Titans:

This team couldn’t find an identity—until this week. They are now officially the best worst team in the AFC. And after witnessing Derek Anderson’s appallingly dreadful performance last week, Kerry Collins had to one-up him. He threw for negative seven yards in 12 attempts. Seriously. How bad can Vince Young be?

29 (27) – Browns:

Just so you get a sense of how truly pathetic Cleveland is, their top performer, according to the Yahoo! Sports box score, was fullback Lawrence Vickers, who had one touch for one yard.

28 (26) – Lions:

Scrappiness can only take you so far when you have almost zero talent. Jim Schwartz is a good coach, but can you really expect them to score even once when their QBs are Dante Culpepper and Mike Stanton and their number one wide out is Dennis Northcutt?

27 (28) – Chiefs:

That’s an odd way to score 14 points. Four field goals and a safety.

26 (24) – Redskins:

Washington has faced a winless team in every single game so far and they are still 2-4. If that doesn’t deserve firing, then I don’t know what does.

25 (31) – Raiders:

This could be the biggest upset in the history of survival football pools. Servers are still crashing as we speak.

24 (28) – Bills:

You force seven turnovers and still need overtime to score 16 points? Something tells me the Jets lost this game more than Buffalo won it.

23 (19) – Seahawks:

Fourteen total rushing yards. 0-11 on third down. Five sacks allowed. Seventeen minutes of possession. Talk about a bad football team. The bye week couldn’t come at a better time.

22 (23) – Panthers:

Why wouldn’t teams stack nine in the box? Jake Delhomme now has thrown 14 interceptions in his last six games and has a 56.8 QB rating for the season.

21 (22) – Jaguars:

The Jags were 11-16 on third down, outgained the Rams by 230 yards, and had only three penalties for 15 yards, yet still needed overtime to beat the least talented team in the NFL. How does that happen?

20 (17) – Dolphins:

The home team coming off of a bye week theory gets a big test this weekend when the Saints come to town. Not buying it.

19 (11) – Jets:

Congratulations to Mark Sanchez for becoming the first two-time winner of the weekly Simple Jack Award. Hey Mark, never go full retard.

18 (21) – Texans:

Houston made the Bengals look like, well, the Bengals. Matt Schaub has become a fantasy must-start every week.

17 (18) – Cowboys:

The epitome of mediocrity. 3-0 versus losing teams and 0-2 versus winners. Fantasy note: I am never drafting Roy Williams again.

16 (20) – Cardinals:

What is Arizona going to do when they play a team that takes away the pass? Beanie Wells and Tim Hightower are getting it done less than my food situation at home. I’ve been living off of Power Bars and instant oatmeal packets for two weeks. College.

15 (10) – Bengals:

This is what Jeffri Chadiha had to say about Cincinnati in ESPN’s power rankings this week: “Matt Schaub shredded them in their loss to Houston.” Thanks for all the hard work and insight you put into that one, Jeffri.

14 (16) – Packers:

And if his analysis of the Bengals wasn’t enough, Chadiha had this to say about Green Bay: “They still haven’t found a way to protect QB Aaron Rodgers.” ESPN, you seriously can’t find anyone better than this guy?

13 (15) – Chargers:

I hate fantasy football. Losing by three coming into Monday Night’s game, I owned Eddie Royal and Darren Sproles. Thanks to the amazing score settings in my lone remaining undefeated league, I received a total of 1.40 points from the duo, despite a combined three return touchdowns. Is there any activity more popular than fantasy football that causes so many complaints?

12 (6) – Eagles:

Is there anything more embarrassing for a head coach than losing to JaMarcus Russell? I can’t think of anything.

11 (13) – Bears:

Another gem from Chadiha: “Red zone problems killed them in a loss to Atlanta.” My freakin’ 11-year-old brother could have told me that.

10 (12) – 49ers:

Michael Crabtree is starting!! Michael Crabtree is starting!! Michael Crabtree is starting!! Michael Crabtree is starting!! Michael Crabtree is starting!! Yeah, I’m kinda excited.

9 (9) – Ravens:

Baltimore almost completed the greatest comeback of the season. Too bad almost counts for diddly squat. We almost made the playoffs. I almost won the lottery. They almost successfully completed your kidney transplant. You get the idea. Almost isn’t good.

8 (8) – Falcons:

Atlanta and New Orleans could be the most exciting division race this season. Their Week Eight will tell us a lot.

7 (14) – Steelers:

Big Ben is back, thanks to the re-emergence of one of the toughest football players in the NFL: Hines Ward. Man, does he play football the right way.

6 (4) – Giants:

The Saints stomped Eli Manning and the Giants so badly, that New Orleans even let Mark Brunell onto the field. Yes, that Mark Brunell. The one who hasn’t attempted a pass since 2006, and is making just under $5 million this season. Seriously.  

5 (7) – Patriots:

This game looked eerily reminiscent of 2007. Have Tom Brady and the boys finally got their mojo back? We won’t find out until they play Indy in Week Ten, but it will be fun to see how many points they can put up at Tampa Bay on Sunday. Is 60 out of the question?

4 (5) – Broncos:

Josh McDaniels for Coach of the Year. That is all.

3 (3) – Colts:

I don’t have anything new to say because of the bye, so I’ll just repeat what I said last week:

The only thing better than Peyton Manning is this article from CNN. For all guys past puberty, Christmas just came early. This could transform college campuses, save marriages, and possibly bring world peace. Seriously, guys, you want to read this.

2 (2) – Saints:

Drew Brees passed for 369 yards and four touchdowns and I was still outscored by my opponent’s QB. I would be mad if I didn’t have such crazy man-love for Tom Brady.

1 (1) – Vikings:

I think someone brainwashed Brett Favre into thinking it’s 2001. He cannot possibly still be this good. So far, this is statistically the best season of his career. Wow.

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What We Learned From Ravens’ Loss to the Vikings

 

Maybe it is not so much what we learned, but more what we’ve confirmed about the Baltimore Ravens and their chance to be an elite team this season.

Here are a few of my personal confirmations:

Joe Flacco is a Pro Bowl quarterback —In three straight weeks, the Ravens have lost three straight games that have come down to the wire. And the only reason the Ravens were even close enough to the wire to come up short in a photo finish is because of Joe Flacco.

Greg Mattison is certainly not Rex Ryan I alluded to this in a post last week about how the Ravens’ “exotic” blitzes of the past were more out of necessity than flair. Chris Carr is terrible. Frank Walker is terrible. Domonique Foxworth and Fabian Washington are serviceable. It seems that when the Ravens are able to blitz, things go better for them than when they don’t. But trust me, nothing will get better for this team throughout the season if opponents can continue to air it out down field confidently.

Ray Rice is what Reggie Bush Should Be —I’m sure a lot of people were wondering why Ray Rice has maintained his starting position, while Willis McGahee has received more of the meaningful carries with scoring opportunities. Yesterday showed us why. Rice is the new Marshall Faulk, able to make plays out of the back field and on passing patterns. Show me a linebacker that can matchup with him, and I’ll show you somebody Rice practices against everyday in training camp.

As I said last week, it’s certainly not panic mode in Charm City. The Ravens have lost three straight games to three playoff caliber teams—and two of the three have the potential to reach the Super Bowl. Still, there’s a lot that the Ravens have to get right over the course of the season, or the projected 11-12 wins we thought they could take this year could easily turn into eight or nine.

Technorati Tags: Baltimore Ravens , Joe Flacco , Ray Rice

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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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NFL Power Rankings: Week Three

Huge changes in the rankings this week. Call me fickle, but I think it takes two weeks to see the real identity of several teams. To be sure, these rankings will most likely look absurd by week eight, but hey, you don’t read these for the accuracy. Wait…

Sorry for taking  so long to get these up and that I’m mailing these in more than Matthew Berry on his Fantasy Focus Baseball Podcast, but I’m driving up to Oregon in six hours, and am still nowhere close to packed yet. Give me a break.

32 (30) – 0-2 – Rams – Went from the most fun to the most aggravating team to watch in just 4 years. Hey St. Louis, don’t worry, the NBA will be here soon. Wait…

Sadly, I don't think this would shock anyone in three years.

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Sadly, I don’t think this would shock anyone in three years.

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31 (29) – 0-2 – Browns – I’m sorry Cleveland, but you’re gonna be in for a rougher Sunday in Baltimore than a Jew on Easter. (It’s ok, my dad’s Jewish)

30 (28) – 0-2 – Chiefs – It doesn’t get a whole heck of a lot worse than losing to the Raiders at home. On the bright side, they get to play in Philly this weekend. Wait…

29 (31) – 0-2 – Lions – Just when you think the Lions might not be as bad this year, their defense has allowed the most points in the NFL.

28 (27) – 0-2 – Bucs – Don’t you love it when a team gets a new defensive-minded head coach and the defense is even worse than last year?

27 (24) – 0-2 – Jaguars – Earnest Wilford makes over $7 million this season. Really?Earnest Wilford?

26 (23) – 0-2 – Dolphins – When your team doesn’t have a single good WO, your QB is Chad Pennington and your best RB smokes more weed than Snoop Dogg and lives in the drug capital of the United States, yeah, your team isn’t very good.

25 (26) – 1-1 – Raiders – Is there a player that gets less out of his talent that JaMarcus Russell?

24 (25) – 1-1 – Panthers – I don’t care how decent Delhomme looked on Sunday, he is still worse than your girlfriend making you watch the Notebook and then not even making it up to you afterward.

23 (32) – 1-1 – Bengals – Sorry Cincinnati, I was a little too rough on your Bengals earlier.

22 (17) – 1-1 – Seahawks – As good as Seneca Wallace was at Iowa State, the Hasselback injury hurts. Big time.

21 (19) – 1-1 – Bills – Congrats T.O., on your first TD as a Toronto Bill.

20 (18) – 1-1- Redskins – If you picked Washington in your NFL suicide pick this week, you must have been more scared than I was after watching the preview of Jennifer’s Body and realizing Megan Fox would never be attractive to me again.

19 (21) – 2-0- Broncos – Even though I picked Denver as a pre-season sleeper, is there a less deserving 2-0 team?

18 (9) – 0-2 – Titans – “There’s an old saying in Tennessee—I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can’t get fooled again.” – George Bush

17 (20) – 1-1 – Texans – That loss to the Jets looks a little bit better now, doesn’t it?

16 (14) – 1-1 – Cardinals -Even though Jacksonville is not good by any stretch of the imagination, winning an early game on the East Coast is big for Arizona.

15 (13) – 1-1 – Packers – I wonder which is worse: picking Green Bay in your suicide pool and getting mocked by all your buddies for losing in week two, or being a Packers fan and getting mocked by the entire NFL for losing to the Bengals—at home.

14 (10) – 1-1 – Cowboys – I can’t figure out which one of these is dumber: The centerfield hill in the Minute Maid Park, Tyler Perry, the plot of Surrogates or having a mega-scoreboard that hangs too low. My head is about to explode.

13 (16)  – 1-1 – Bears – Usually a team would move up after beating the Steelers, but Jay Cutler is too much of a spoiled, prep school douche bag.

12 (15) – 2-0 – 49ers – I think Shaun Hill’s seven step drop is so ugly that Matt Hasselback got hurt on purpose just so he wouldn’t have to watch it any more from the sideline.

This never gets old.

—-

This never gets old.

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11 (22) – 1-1 – Jets – Anyone that can make Tom Brady look like Owen from Dodgeball, earns my prodigious combination of dislike and respect.

10 (5) – 2-0 – Colts – That is about the ugliest way to start a season two and oh.

9 (4) – 1-1 – Eagles – The NFL has to be scripted, no other way this works out so perfectly for Ron Mexico…err Michael Vick.

8 (6) – 1-1 – Chargers – It would suck to be the guy who got suckered into drafting LT in the first round.

7 (8) – 2-0 – Falcons – Hey Atlanta, could you beat Carolina any less convincingly?

6 (2) – 1-1 – Steelers – It’s a good year for curses, they’re making a comeback. Don’t even try to come back Troy, just save yourself for next year.

5 (1) – 1-1 – Patriots – Maybe God isn’t a Pats fan. Or maybe He’s just testing us. I choose to believe the latter.

4 (11) – 2-0 – Giants – I think Eli Manning read my Anti-man Crush story and is now playing well just to spite me.

3 (12) – 2-0 – Saints – There’s a new title-holder for the Greatest Show on Turf.

2 (7) – 2-0 – Ravens – Wow, a  Ravens team that can finally do it all: pass, run and play D. Scary.

1 (3) – 2-0 – Vikings – I have faith. Although a loss to my hometown 49ers this weekend wouldn’t be the end of the world. Hey Brett, can you get all the INT’s out of your system on Sunday? K thanks.

 

The UO Sports Dude

www.keithabecker.wordpress.com

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Brett Favre Could Be The Key To a New Vikings Stadium In Minnesota

Hey ESPN, we know how you love all things Brett Favre. We know how you couldn’t get enough of his on-again-off-again “retirement” talk. Its good for ratings and fodder, so who could blame you. You’re only doing your jobs as the national sports hype machine.

And Brett Favre, we know how you crave the spotlight. We know how you can’t shake the itch to play, rather to just walk away when critics from all over the nation want to prove you wrong.

We assume there must not be a whole lot waiting for you in Kiln, Mississippi, after all, there is only so much land that can be plowed each year.

This, along with your fiercely competitive nature, one to which I cannot compare in recent memory concluded with the not-so-obvious confederation of you offering your services to your once No. 1 rival, the Minnesota Vikings who clearly wanted you when the Green Bay Packers did not.

Thank you for not only coming to the team, but also for giving it a shot no matter what the outcome. I know you’d have never forgave yourself if you didn’t try knowing you were that close to a deal only to back out on July 30 because you just couldn’t commit to the full season.

The Vikings, and even the most inept fans, knew they were but one manage-the-game Quarterback away from truly taking them to the next level and you obliged. The rest is history but one that can be special as I’ve outlined here.

But if you truly want to make your mark in Minnesota, as well as continue to soothe your ego that the media shamefully loves to exploit, have you considered being the face of an entire stadium drive?

Imagine this scenario: February 7, 2010 Minnesota just defeats ______ for their first NFL Championship in State history.

You will have done what sixteen men: Fran Tarkenton, Joe Knapp, Gary Cuozzo, Tommy Kramer, Wade Wison, Rich Gannon, Jim McMahon, Warren Moon, Brad Johnson, Randall Cunningham, Jeff George, Daunte Culpepper, Tarvaris Jackson, and Gus Freotte have all failed to do in the Vikings 48 years in Minnesota.

Take a long look at that list. How many of them are Hall of Famers, like yourself? How many of them made Pro Bowls, like yourself. You want to know why year-in-and year-out the Vikings are always a sleeper pick to go far in the playoffs, it starts with their incredible consistency and opportunity provided at quarterback.

The list reads like a Who’s Who. By comparison, the Chicago Bears, have had thirty-five men line up under center, and even this less-than-impressive bunch was able to muster 1 NFL Championship (1963) and Super Bowl (1986) in the years since the Vikings joined the league in 1961.

You will be treated a like a Rock Star. You will be treated like a God (relatively speaking of course). But most of all, you will get the attention you crave ten-fold once again on sports biggest stage as the leader of one of the league’s most revered and consistent teams.

Your legacy once thought tampered, will be restored as you prove the naysayers wrong and add to your lone trophy case. The only question will be whether the Vikings would dare put you in their Ring of Honor in the Vikings Hall of Fame or whether you’d dare were purple in your induction ceremony in Canton whenever that comes.

But most of all, you’d have the unique opportunity to be the face of an entire stadium campign that has been in neutral since 1997 after years of failed legislative attempts and proposals. Talk about exposure. Talk about media attention!

Imagine going up the steps of the State Capitol in St. Paul and lobbying alongside owner Zygi Wilf, Vice President of Legal Affairs and Stadium Development Lester Bagley, Rob Brzezinski VP of Football Operations, or Steve LaCroix VP of Sales and Marketing among other officials, decked in purple, serving as lead cheerleader in the newest wave of stadium proposals in the aftermath of the media hype off the Super Bowl Win!

How long do you think it would take the legislators to react favorably knowing the passion the team brings to the state, not to mention national swagger with their history of less than colorful characters not seen on other Minnesota sports teams?

How long do you think it would take for even the most pessimistic legislator to give approval knowing you just delivered on a lifelong goal that had been eluding an entire four state fan base all of their legislative lives and careers?

How long do you think it would take for those legislators, beaming with state pride, many of whom are likely Vikings season ticket holders and fans themselves to get caught up in the moment and agree to the funding that had been so evasive in the past?

I’d say about a week or so. If given the opportunity, the Vikings better strike while the iron is hot and use Brett Favre to his full contractual advantage while they got him and while he still is a media darling.

 

The House that Brett Favre Built

That’s the power only you and your mega celebrity status could bring to a region that was forced to “hate” you for sixteen years while you were in America’s Dairyland. How ironic and fairytalk fitting would it be if you helped your once arch rival achive the goals that have eluded them the most?

Before the made-for-TV soap opera ends, you could be a new state icon, forever enshrined as one of their own. More ME-dia attention! More self-satisfying legacy! You can’t put a price on that and you can’t make this stuff up.

Regardless of how the Brett Favre fairy tale ends, I remain confident all along that worst case scenario, at the eleventh hour, the state legislature will get something done before the 2011 Metrodome Lease expires.

You see, people like the Twins. After the threat of contraction in 2001, many people got back on that bandwagon (winning helped too). Having a bad team was certainly better than having no team. People like the Wild.

In a state that pride’s itself as the “State of Hockey” despite having never won and titles at its highest level of competition offered (NHL) its high schools and colleges are loaded each year with the nation’s top prospects and athletes vying for the draft.

But people absolutely love the Vikings.

Like I stated, they give the team the most national exposure in the nation’s most popular sport.

They give them team the most press and swagger with their longest slate of success (36/48 seasons of .500 or better ball), and they give the state the most varying storylines from Ontario Smith’s embarrassing Whizzanator incident, to the Randy Moss years which, like former Governor Jesse Ventura, exposed Minnesotans to the more Rock Star atmosphere more suited for big city New York or bustling L.A. than the passive, laid back Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. Finally the 2005 “Sex Boat” controversy brought maybe the most banter from jocks all over.

Losing the Vikings to a market like L.A. for example, would all but seal the fate of any legislator who happened to vote against what would ultimately be deemed-a-last resort, all-or-nothing,moving-vans-are-a-coming bill. They have to know this, and this is why I doubt we’ll ever see that day.

In an evolving state that somehow got a new stadium for the backpage boys, the Minnesota Twins, one that I never thought I’d live to see having grown up a fan of the team and their small market epitome if their ever was one, to the brand new, about-damn-time TCF Bank Stadium for the perennial bottom feeding Golden Gophers, the truly ironic fact remains that the state’s most popular and successful team is going to be the last one to receive its stadium they covet.

At an average of 8-6 each season based on their 385 wins and 316 regular season loses, there is perhaps no more consistent team never to win the sport’s ultimate prize than the Men of Norway, the Minnesota Vikings.

Perhaps the fact that at likely $1 billion or more for all the bells and whistles rumored, to the probable development of land at its final location, the final stadium in the trio will also be the most expensive and thus, the delay. But for now at least we have a two or three year stop gap in TCF Bank stadium.

After legislation is passed in spring of 2011 and by the time they break ground that fall, to when the first game is played sometime around September of 2015, Brett Favre and the Vikings should just be entering their seventh year of marriage together with him being the 45 year old guy lined up under center, since we all know he’s never really going to retire…..

Can you see any other logical ending?

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Hail Mary: NFL Returns in Kingly Fashion To Reclaim Its Throne Atop Sports World

Well, football is back.

After eight months of lingering and distracting ourselves with other sports, football is back. We waged through the summer with only baseball to keep ourselves occupied.

We used the college basketball tournament to heal our wounds for a month in the spring. We witnessed the Lakers win another championship in June.

But a huge hole in our sporting world’s heart was left unfulfilled. 

The last month and a half has been a time to slowly shift our major focus from baseball—and the WNBA—to the return of the NFL and college football.

To prepare for this annual holiday, we studied and digested the new season previews from nearly every legitimate magazine and news source.

We joined our fantasy football leagues, snagging Adrian Peterson as our first pick. And we followed each and every day of training camp with a thoughtful eye.

We are ready for some football.

Heck, we were ready for football on Feb. 2; the day after the Steelers won the Super Bowl after that classic final drive.

There is nothing better than football season. Nothing is even close. Waking up on fall Saturdays with a full dose of college ball on your horizon is pretty thrilling. Almost as thrilling as waking up on fall Sundays with a full dose of pro ball awaiting you.  

And now, we are finally here.

The next four to five months will be all football—all the time.

The love of sports is something that is simply ingrained in a few of us. For those that have that indescribable passion, it is amazing. And although there are numerous sporting events daily, football rules over all of them.

That is why it is the one sport that has so much glamour surrounding it’s opening weekend.

You can’t say that about basketball. Baseball’s “Opening Day” is special because of tradition, but you hardly see the sporting world build up to it like they do with football season. They just don’t compare.

Apart from the broad sense of football—and focusing solely on this year—we are in store for something special.

This college football season has the potential to be one of the best in our generation. Simply because three great quarterbacks in Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy, and Sam Bradford are leading Florida, Texas, and Oklahoma, respectively, to a potential BCS Championship.

Aside from those three schools, USC continues to rebuild, and after an epic showdown in The Horseshoe this Saturday, they could be on their way to an eighth consecutive Pac-10 title…and possibly a visit down the road to Pasadena.

As far as the NFL goes, it continues to grow economically year after year. Constant sell-outs at each and every stadium and a great revenue-sharing plan are concrete evidence that NFL is king.

When other sports are going through strike-filled seasons and struggling to sell tickets, football just keeps the throttle going. It’s another example of the theme where the rich merely get richer.

Another interesting factor that lends to fans’ admiration for football is likely the absence of it.

Although it is as frustrating as Gary Anderson’s missed field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship Game, the long off-season helps football establish itself as the dominant sport.

Every new off-season brings eight more months of pondering the thought of why your team couldn’t make it all the way—or wondering about every other team-related scenario. It builds the anticipation to all-time highs every other week.

It’s hard to argue any other sport in any part of the world lives up that hype.

In sports, baseball, basketball, and hockey are the princes to the football king. No debate there.

So, as we return to this joy we call football, we can settle down for the next five months.

But we need to enjoy it. Or else, all of a sudden, we are caught in the middle of February, where we only have the NFL Pro Bowl, and situated in the dead middle of the basketball and hockey seasons. 

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NFL Football Picks: 2009 Minnesota Vikings Predictions

The last year for the Vikings was a successful one in terms of making the playoffs and having a good record. They finished 10-6 and made the playoffs.

However, once they got there, it was apparent that they weren’t equipped to make a run, as they lost to the Eagles in the first round. Although they had a solid defense and a great rushing attack, their passing game left something to be desired.

Did they do enough in the offseason to get the job done this time around? As far as free football picks go, expect the Vikings to make a run this season deep into the playoffs.

The Good News:

The biggest news of the offseason was obviously Brett Favre. Right up until the last minute, no one was sure if he’d play for them or not.

As it turns out, he rode in on his white horse and was immediately handed the keys to the team. While it might seem irresponsible at a glance, it is really the only option for the Vikings.

Jackson has proven that he’s not going to be anything special, and Sage Rosenfels is basically a career backup. Favre is a surefire Hall-of-Famer, and he will instantly upgrade the passing attack in Minny.

In addition to Favre, they have what many people believe is the best player in the NFL in Adrian Peterson. Peterson led the league in rushing last year and his explosiveness makes him a threat to score at any point. Combined with Favre, they should have a pretty solid offense.

On the other side of the ball, the defense will dominate again. Last year, they were the No. 1 team against the run, and they had a fierce pass rush.

With Jared Allen and the Williams brothers on the defensive line, they should again be formidable. If I’m an offensive coordinator, I know the Vikings’ defense is going to present some headaches.

The Bad News:

This also falls in the good news column, but Brett Favre could be a big distraction for the Vikes. Last year, it was a media circus in New York and Favre failed to get them to the playoffs. Many Jets’ players have said that Favre was not a good teammate and even got dressed in a separate locker room.

This preseason, the media have already reported that there is a “schism” in the locker room surrounding Favre. Many people believe that Jackson should be the starting quarterback and don’t like the fact that Favre skipped all of camp. He then comes in late and just gets everything handed to him. This could present a problem at some point in the year.

Outlook:

If you’re looking for free NFL football picks, expect the Vikings to win their division this year. They should even be able to work their way through the playoffs and make a run at the Super Bowl if Favre can stay healthy. If he goes down, it might be another up and down year for the Vikings.

Make sure you check out Vernon Croy`s NFL Football Picks this season.

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