Friday, October 06, 2006

The NFC North Review - 1st Quarter

Chicago Bears 4-0
Minnesota Vikings 2-2
Green Bay Packers 1-3
Detroit Lions 0-4

It's about what we expected isn't it? The Bears still look like the only playoff team in a craptastic division. The Vikings traded their dynamic offense of the past few years for an equally dynamic moustache on coach Brad Childress. The Packers are better than the terrible teams but not able to win against teams with talent, or coaching, or something. And the Lions? Well it's almost too easy to forget about them nowadays isn't it? Other than someone randomly spouting off on the greatness of Barry Sanders there's really nothing to talk about there.

The Bears

They look solid in that 12-4 and upset early in the playoffs sort of way. They haven't been tested at all yet. They've only played one game outside the division and it was against a Seahawks team missing their MVP in Shaun Alexander and still trying to work in new receivers in Nate Burleson and Deion Branch. In the rematch at the end of the season I'd put money on the 'Hawks to win once they hammer out how they're going to use all those B+ receivers.

The 3 other wins all came against the non-playoff contenders within the North. It's hard to say how this will carry over throughout the year. If put under any kind of pressure Rex Grossman looks like a guy who just went to an all you can eat curry buffet. It's just a matter of time until the crap comes flying out. Also his eyebrows are perpetually raised in that "I'm mildly aroused" look and I can't help but think that hurts team morale.

Grade: A-

Minnesota Vikings

They're lucky to be 2-2, they could very easily be 0-4. They got lucky in playing Washington with a dinged up Portis and newly traded for TJ Duckett still learning the ropes. They also were fortunate in getting to play Carolina without Steve Smith, which is sort of like going to a Rolling Stones concert with no Mick Jagger. Sure it's technically the Stones but it's just not the same thing. They also needed a horrible special teams play to even steal the win.

Minny will say that they have been in every game with a chance to win in the 4th quarter. Sure, they've had a chance, but it had the same likelihood that I had in high school of dating a cheerleader. It COULD have happened and yet it never did happen. I'm thinking Darren Sharper may lead this team in TDs scored this year, with Longwell tied for the most passing TDs.

I do find it interesting that a fellow brought in for his supposed offensive genius is really, really terrible at scoring points. To this point no one in the Minnesota media has ripped Childress for this but it's just a matter of time. Once that happens this could fall apart in a hurry. The best thing Childress can say to this point is that he's not Mike Tice (which is an improvement but, well, c'mon, I don't even need a joke here, Tice was TERRIBLE).

Grade: C-

Green Bay Packers

We've all seen the games. We've looked competent against the Saints and the Lions and terrible against the Bears and the Eagles. For what it's worth the collective record of the teams we've lost to is 10-2. On the downside the only team we've been able to beat is 0-4. So we're not the worst team in the league but we're far from running with the big dogs. Yay.

The offense has been surprisingly resilient considering the obvious issues along the line and with the running game. To this point I've been interested in Mike III's playcalling and I wonder how good it could be with some real talent involved along the line and in the backfield. The talent has moderately improved from last year with the inclusion of Jennings and the young o-linemen seem like they have potential if not results to this point. I guess that's something.

Unfortunately the defense was apparently all Jim Bates last year. Bob Sanders so far has been a bust. If we could just get average production, say 17-20 points given up a game, we could have a winning record. So far we haven't even sniffed that level of competence. I feel good about Carroll being cut, it was long overdue, and it also sends a message that being terrible isn't acceptable. We'll see if that pays off but I will always prefer to go with the unknown rather than sticking with a known entity that also happens to be a crap entity.

Grade: D

Detroit Lions

Matt Millen is still prominently involved. He is an idiot. This team will never win with him making decisions. I hope they give him a lifetime contract of course. I can't really comment on this team. They're going to score points but their defense is more than happy to roll over at any time and give it right back. God bless 'em.

Grade: F

1 comment:

Packman said...

A......D! Oh wait, we are that bad.