Saturday, November 20, 2010

Packers vs. Vikings Preview

Favremageddon 2010 - Part Deux is upon us. The Tempest in the Twin Cities. The Oh-The-Humanity in the Humpty Dump. The Overused Hyperbole in...well...

OK, you get the idea. The Green Bay Packers meet the Minnesota Vikings in the second of their two 2010 showdowns. Round #1 went in favor of the Pack. Round #2? That should also go in favor of the Packers, and the line seems to reflect that: the Pack is favored by 3 despite the game being played on the 'Queens home field where they are very good and the Packers usually aren't.

But we all know that these games in the Humpty Dump are never easy. It is one of the loudest venues in all of sports. It is made even louder this time around with all the Minnesota fans shouting for the firing of head coach Brad Childress. But that's a whole other story. The key thing for the Packers will be to get up early and take the crowd out of it. If you are the Packers, you want them booing their own team not creating signal calling problems for you.

Coming out of the bye week, and with time to re-gear and build upon the momentum and offensive rhythm established over the last three games, the offense should click. The defense, with Cullen Jenkins working without the club on his broken hand for the first time since the first game, and the possibility of Ryan Picket returning in even limited play, should pick right up where it left off. Contain RB Adrian Peterson and pressure Ol' #4. The Packers' opportunistic defense should be able to generate a couple turnovers and in a close game that can be the difference. The 'Queens got some good news today, however, when WR Sidney Rice was activated off the PUP list. How much action he'll see, and how in sync he'll be with his quarterback, is a big question.

As for special teams, the Packers will have cornerback and speedster Sam Shields returning kickoffs. He opened eyes with a big return against the Cowboys. Coaches have decided that, until fumbles prove otherwise, he creates more problems for opponents that he does for the Packers. Expect the usual suspects back to return punts. On special teams, look also for the return of TE/LB Spencer Havner to the mix. He was a great special teams player in his prior time with the Packers and one would expect more of the same now that he's back in the fold. Throw in the bonus of his rapport as a tight end with QB Aaron Rodgers in the red zone and the Packers have yet another receiving threat for the 'Queens to worry about.

This will be Brett Favre's Super Bowl: his chance to win one last time against his former team before calling it quits. You know he's going to do all he can to stick a fork into GM Ted Thompson one last time. But there should be no doubt that the Packers are the better team. And by the end of the game, the score will reflect that.

I'm calling it Packers 31 - Vikings 24.

Go Pack Go!!!