Yesterday my manager, Liz Fischer and I met to cut another comedy CD. Liz is a really avid Green Bay Packer fan and probably one of the most knowledgeable that I know. Her opinion closely ( I think) jibes with THIS blog by a sports writer on the coming season:
Are the Green Bay Packers Now the Favorite in the NFC North?
By Chad Lundberg (Packers Featured Columnist) on August 30, 2010
With all the offseason troubles the Vikings have had (especially Sidney Rice's injury), do you think the Packers are the favorite to win the North?
I haven't taken a side in the Vikings-Packers debate. I've always stuck to my guns that the two teams are equally impressive, and that they will be fighting for the division all along the season.
An interesting debacle has recently shown up. The Vikings No. 1 receiver, Sidney Rice, revealed that he had hip surgery that will keep him out of the first 8 weeks of the regular season.
Sidney Rice exploded last season with over 1,312 yards with a 15.8 yard average and 8 touchdowns. He was Brett Favre's favorite target.
Most believe Brett won't have the kind of season he had last year. Even if he were to somehow keep up his monumental performance, if you take 1,300 away from 4,200, that's only 2,900 yards.
The loss of Chester Taylor isn't bad only for the running game, but the passing game as well. He had 44 receptions for almost 400 yards and a touchdown.
So you're taking essentially 1,700 yards away from a quarterback who is pushing 41 and a bad ankle.
On top of that, Artis Hicks, their right guard from last season, is no longer on the roster and was lost in free agency. All they have is a fifth round pick to fill the void.
With 34 sacks, and with over 27% of all their run attempts last season going for a loss or no gain, the last thing the Vikings needed was losing some experienced depth at the offensive line.
I'm not saying that Favre will only get 2,500 yards next season. I'm sure you're smart enough to figure that out. Sidney Rice only be out for 8 games, after all.
It just goes to show how limited the Vikings are now when it comes to their offense.
Their only hope is that Percy Harvin can fight through the migraines, that Javon Walker can play like he did in 2004, and that their tight ends can show up in the passing game.
Sidney Rice will be back, no question. But losing Favre's favorite target for eight games could easily land them somewhere around 4-4, and it gives Green Bay an excellent chance to take the North.
I think that we can all agree that the Vikings have been deeply hurt by free agency and that this will mark the first time in Brad Childress's career with the Vikings that he has failed to make this team better than the year before.
Here's how I feel:
The Packers are really in bad shape in the defensive secondary. Al Harris is out. Bigby was never that impressive. #31 is working with a lot of young, untested kids. And he's another year older and no doubt a step slower.
Will we beat the Vikings? Not if their rookie guard steps up and fills the spot vacated by the loss of Artis Hicks. The whole Viking season revolves around their quarterback.
They had better block really well because I don't think Brett can take many more games like the playoff game with the Saints last year.
There I said it.