Around the NFC North

| September 22nd, 2009

Minnesota Vikings (2-0)
From the Beats:
Fans and media in Minnesota are starting to clamor for Narcissus to throw the ball downfield but Brad Childress is not budging on the team’s current game plan of run, run, run, screen, run, screen, run.

The world’s best rush defense has struggled through the first two weeks, falling from first over the past three seasons to fifteenth.  They were gashed for big gains by Kevin Smith throughout the first half Sunday.

The Vikings introduced the please-make-it-go-away-Wildcat on Sunday, pulling Brett Favre off the field entirely and lining up Percy Harvin in shotgun.

My take:
I’ve seen every snap of the Vikings early season and a few things are clear.  (1) Brett Favre is taking far more hits than he ever expected and the Vikings are limiting his downfield attempts because they’re afraid of losing him by Week Six.  (2) Adrian Peterson has this team on his back – making huge plays when there isn’t even a hole in front of him.  (3) The Vikings have their victories against inarguably the two worst teams in the sport.  
Green Bay Packers (1-1)
From the Beats:
The Pack have sounded the alarm regarding their offensive line and some are hypothesizing that it may cost folks their jobs in Cheeseville.  This is a particularly condemning passage:

Five years into Thompson’s reign, four years into McCarthy’s and three
years into Campen’s, something isn’t right. The Packers are lucky to be
1-1 and have a healthy starting quarterback considering the number of
sacks (10) and additional quarterback knockdowns (nine) they have given
up in the first two games of the season.

I wonder what they’d be saying if the Bears had won on opening night.

The Packers not only lost to Cincinnati but they lost a couple players to potentially serious injuries.

Mike Vandermause does not a nice job calling out the early-season hysteria in Green Bay but the column could probably have been written in every city that’s lost a game this year.  Football fans have too many days off between games and too many places to express their opinions.  I know.  I’m partly to blame.

My take:
The Pack should take a deep breath and look at their schedule.  The next six pack features four entirely winnable games (at St. Louis, Cleveland and Tampa Bay, home Detroit) and two against the Minnesota Vikings.  They should be 5-3 at worst and poised to make a run down the stretch.

Detroit Lions (0-2)
From Michael Rosenberg in the Free Press:

The Lions host the Washington Redskins this week, and this is a little different from most of the Lions’ games
because — you’ll never believe this — they can actually win.