Maybe we should talk about it? You know, the whole Favre v. Packers II that everyone else can't seem to stop talking about.
Last these two teams met Aaron Rodgers was left picking pieces of the Metrodome turf out of his teeth, and Packer fans everywhere got their first real taste of what the rest of the division dealt with for 16 years: a general feeling of "Fucking Favre. Fuck that guy. Look at him prancing around with his arms up like a jackass. Fucking douche!" And the Packers lost a 30-23 game that wasn't really that close.
Since then the Packers got to lick their wounds on a bye week and then steamroll a couple of the league's "lesser" teams. First a shut out of the Lions, who played without Stafford (#1 overall pick) and Calvin Johnson (a guy badass enough to get nicknamed Megatron). Then there was the dumptrucking of Cleveland, a team playing without any apparent talent or sense of purpose.
Minnesota, in the interim, got their turn at whipping the St. Louis Rams. They knocked off Baltimore with aid from Brett Favre who amazed everyone used his power of flight to soar to the Metrodome roof, and then used his super breath to blow a last second FG attempt wide left. Then, a couple of late turnovers cost them a chance at another late comeback in Pittsburgh.
What can we learn from these games? Well, Minnesota is still pretty damn good. Their pass rush was able to put Ben Roethlisberger, who (like Rodgers) tends to hold the ball a long time, on the turf 4 times last week. While the Packers gave up 5 sacks against a Detroit defensive line that was so depleted, they were using offensive linemen on defense. This is going to be a problem again this week. However, we have also seen that throwing the ball to the backs can be effective against the Vikes defense. Ray Rice caught 10 balls for 117 yards in week 6. Perhaps the screen pass could be an effective tool for gaining some good chunks of yardage, while somewhat negating the Viking pass rush. Being that I'm more of a "small ball" guy, I tend to prefer the screen pass rather than always trying to throw the ball down the field. So far this season I can think of one, maybe two, screens thrown by the Packers so I'm not holding my breath. The last thing we've learned about the Vikes since Favre Bowl I, is that the Ol' Gunslinger has found a friend in Sidney Rice (though looking at his numbers from his first 2 years, maybe that's the other way around). In the past 2 games Rice has emerged as Favre's favorite target catching 16 balls for 312 yards. It should be interesting to see if they are able to get him loose versus Woodson and/or Harris.
As for the Packers, it's hard to gain too much insight from two beatdowns against the scum of the earth. We've learned that the defense can make you turn the ball over. Especially if your QB is Drew Stanton or Derek Anderson. And last week we saw that Ryan Grant can be an effective runner, as long as you give him the ball 27 times. We also saw that the Packers can punch the ball into the endzone on the ground from 3 yds out, as long as you give them 6 downs to do it. I think the turnovers are the more relevant point here. It's going to take at least one, and probably 2, Minnesota turnovers for the Packers to get it done on Sunday. It looks like it's going to be a lovely day in Green Bay, so don't expect any help from Mother Nature.
Prediciton time. One thing you do gain by pummeling the shit out of also-rans is confidence. I think the Packers are coming in a far more confident group than the one that played in Minneapolis 4 weeks ago. I think the defense especially has begun to come around. I think letting Aaron Kampan rush the passer more will help rectify the grotesque lack of pressure on Favre that we saw in the first match-up. I think the defense creates the turnovers to make the difference, and I'm picking the Packers (HOMER ALERT) 26-17. Call me crazy.... No seriously, call me crazy, taking Green Bay in this one is probably certifiably insane. Bring on your predictions, or you won't be allowed to join in on the laughing at me that will likely take place Monday morning.