Favreageddon II

I only post expectations for football games that look like they could be close or interesting, so this is only the second time I’ve bothered posting about the Packers this year and the other was when they played the Vikings too.

So far, I’ve picked the winner in every Packer game, but was off when they played the Vikings on the score. I thought they’d lose by 20 and they almost obliged me till the late game comeback.

This time, I’m finding it harder to predict. Differences:

  • The Pack has a much better offensive line situation.
  • They’ve got more mastery of the new defense (I wish they were playing MN in December though)
  • It’s outside
  • It’s at Lambeau
  • Their starting safety is back
  • Favre threw 50 passes last week
  • Nick Barnett is more fully recovered from his injury
  • They are making better use of Aaron Kampman
  • Clay Matthews starts at linebacker
  • BJ Raji should be a bit healthier than last time
  • Aaron Rodgers has accelerated his delivery

Meanwhile, Antoine Winfield is missing from the Vikings secondary, which isn’t very good without him. The Packers could conceivably pass for 400 yards in this game.

However,

  • The Vikings are getting more in tune with Favre
  • Jermichael Finley might miss the game for the Packers

So I don’t think it will be a tweny point game this time. It has the potential to be very close and very intense: a game for the ages. If that happens, the Packers will win because Favre will make a mistake of the first magnitude when the game is on the line.

What do I think will happen, barring injuries?

  • Very intense back and forth game
  • Some very big offensive plays by both teams, but more by the Packers
  • Some great special teams by the Vikings
  • A few game-turning defensive plays, by both teams

The final score may or may not reflect the intensity of the contest, but I think it will be in the 27’s range: 27 – 27, plus overtime or 30-27 Packers or 27-26 Vikings or something like that. I can’t say I expect one team or the other to win. I can’t make up my mind on that.

But to make the prediction, I’ll say that I think the Packers offense might come together the way it would do in 2007 and become a machine. If so, they win. I’ll go with 30-27.

Packers Vikings

Favre outperformed my expectations, the Packers O-line did a little worse than I thought they’d do, and the Packers defense seems to be a little off.

And Aaron Rogers played like a second year quarterback with a lot of talent having an experience unlike what almost any other quarterback ever goes through.

I was very impressed by Brett Favre and believe that he gives them a chance to win the Superbowl if he avoids the end of season fade he has experienced the last four or five years. He plays with a maturity and self-control he never had with the Packers before Mike McCarthy coached him. Maybe he’ll do OK in the playoffs. We’ll see.

A note on Aaron Rogers. I remember Brett Favre’s first six or seven games up at the Humpty Dumpty bowl – that disgrace of a stadium. It became a house of horrors for him; bad games, injuries, interceptions. He never had to play under the pressure Aaron Rogers had to play under on Monday and it took a long time before he played as well as Rogers did Monday.

Now, Rogers is not making great decisions. I get the impression that he wants to win the game on every play, which leads him to get sacked or run the wrong way too often. The fumble in the first quarter was maybe the biggest play of the game. There sat Ryan Grant, five yards down the field, room to run, and nobody near him. Straight in front of Rogers.

So Rogers, apparently seeing something developing to the left, pulls the ball in and runs. Straight into Jared Allen. Very bad play. Very poor decision.

But he’s a second year starter and he’ll get past that. If he can be content to gain five to seven yards on most pass plays, he’ll be able to avoid some of the sacks and eat defenses alive.

Time will tell.

In the end, it seems the Packers gambled that if they could stop Peterson, Favre would not be a problem. Without their safety, he was. Kudos to Brett. He was harrowing for me as a Packer fan. Now he’ll lead the Vikings for a couple or three years.

Amazing.