Buzz factor (on a scale of 1-10): Eight. Maybe I am a tad high on this, but it’s a fun matchup and it closes out a solid first weekend of action. The Cardinals were last year’s darlings (and might be a better overall team this season), and the Packers have the potential to be that team this year. The QB matchup promises to be great, and you can bet it’ll be closer than last week’s game. If it’s half as entertaining as the last game played there, the Fiesta Bowl, we’re in for a good one.
Most underrated story line: Arizona is banged up. Calais Campbell, the team’s most underrated defender, has torn ligaments in his thumb and surely will be affected. Word is that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie should be good by game time, although he also said he needs to practice this week to play. And Anquan Boldin has an MCL sprain and a gimpy left ankle; he might not play. The Packers come in very healthy now that Charles Woodson’s shoulder has checked out.
Tasty matchup: How do you not go with Woodson against WR Larry Fitzgerald? I could be cute and pick Packers ORG Josh Sitton against Cardinals DT Darnell Dockett, which is an important matcup, but the potential defensive MVP against last year’s almost Super Bowl MVP is too good to pass up. I give slight edge to Woodson because the Packers won’t have to be as concerned about other beating them if Boldin is out or trying to gut through a couple of bad injuries. But Fitzgerald won’t go quietly. He’ll make at least one big play.
Home-field advantage: Hard to say there is a significant one after the Packers silenced the Arizonians pretty quickly last week with their early sortie on the Cardinals. But they’ll be a little more raucous this week, you’d have to think.
Unlikely star: Packers DE Johnny Jolly doesn’t get a lot of ink, but he’s a strong run defender and adept at batting passes down. On a defensive front that has been strong nearly all season, Jolly has been an underappreciated force. He could have a nice game against a mediocre Cardinals offensive line.
Prediction: Pain. (That was for my old roommate, Jason.) Packers 33, Cardinals 24. I like the Cardinals’ resiliency and think they will put in a good showing at home. I just don’t think they’ll have enough defensively to stop Aaron Rodgers, who is having an MVP-type campaign and (I think) will exit the playoffs as one of the more talked-about NFL players this offseason.
Packers vs Vikings night is almost upon us, as the Packers vs Vikings finally get to play each other. But it isn’t Packers vs Vikings, as much as it is Ted Thompson vs Brett Favre. The first Packers vs Vikings Super Bowl has Brett Favre finally set to make Packers GM Ted Thompson pay for not taking him back.As for the Packers and Vikings themselves, Green Bay wants to stake their claim in the NFC North, while Minnesota seek to take an early stranglehold on the division. At 7:30 p.m., the Packers vs Vikings game will finally settle all these storylines – until November 1, that is.
The first of two Packers vs Vikings Super Bowl-esq showdowns is technically an undercard, for all the hype. If people are sick of hearing about Favre, the Vikings and Packers now, they will go completely insane in the week leading up to their game in Green Bay on November 1.
Sorry to have left everyone without my insight, or lack thereof, for last week. I had surgery to remove a cyst from my right wrist so I was really not up to typing. I am back and as good as ever.
Warning! Nothing you read here will be funny, insightful, or in the least bit entertaining. Reading anything written by me has been know to cause headaches, nausea, low self esteem, inflated ego, vomiting, rash, and/or gastrointestinal bleeding. Consult with your physician before reading this article. Do not stare directly into this article. Do not read this article near open flames. If you are reading this article and experience anger, happiness, or indifference; immediately stop and consult a mortician.
Hey, at least I got them done before the games started…though I would probably get a few more right if I waited till after the games were done to make my picks.
(Byes: Carolina, New Orleans, San Diego, San Francisco): Which is a good thing, since Steve Smith is back and Shawne Merriman is hurt I usually can’t think of anything funny about any of these teams anyhow.
Bills 24 Jets 17: I bet Hillary Clinton is really torn when these two teams that the New York Senator grew up rooting for face each other.
Bears 49 Lions 13: I bet John McCain, who grew up wishing that a professional football franchise would be started in each of these cities, is really torn when these two teams face off. Well, at least one of them has a professional franchise now.
Jaguars 24 Bengals 7: The Lions and Bengals are scheduled to face each other in the 2009 football season. Both teams have circled that game on their calendars.
Sorry I’m a little late with this weeks picks…stupid job and family got in the way. I’m pretty sure I can cut back on one of the two….just not sure which.
In a bold move, the NFL will now list the Detroit Lions weekly opponents among the Bye teams on their official schedule
Other Byes: Chicago, Denver, Green Bay, Minnesota
Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens
Raiders 23 Ravens 21: Raider win the game on Sebastian Janikowski’s 58 yard field goal as time expires. Janikowski admits after the game that being Polish he has a huge advantage in kicking since that kick was only about 53 meters.
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers
Panthers 23 Cardinals 19: Cardinal QB Matt Leinhart steals starting
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys
Buccaneers 24 Cowboys 21: After another loss distraught Cowboy owner Jerry Jones signs Michael Irvin, Moose Johnson and Troy Aikman to contracts. The Cowboys don’t get any better but many unemployed football analysts rejoice.