Archive for September 10th, 2009

NFL Preview Bonanza: NFC North

GREEN BAY PACKERS

Last Season: 6-10

This Season: 9-7, NFC #4

I’ve vacillated a lot on the Packers already this season, initially having them at 11-5 then down at 7-9 and now splitting the difference. I think Aaron Rodgers is a good quarterback but not the great one many people expect him to be, and the offense will be above-average again. It basically comes down to whether the defense, behind new coordinator Dom Capers, can return to the form it had in 2007 when Green Bay made it to the NFC Championship. If Capers can pull it off, the Pack have as good a chance as anybody in this wide-open division and conference.

Tim’s favorite player in Green Bay Packer history is…: You can make a case that Sterling Sharpe had the best name in NFL history. I mean, both his first and last name are adjectives that describe him.

Are the Sharpe brothers the greatest receiving duo in NFL history? Umm, sure?

A Great and Recent Packer Game: The game that made Brett Favre: his first playoff win at the Pontiac Silverdome against the Lions.

Can you give us one without Favre? No.

Was that the loss that killed the Lions? No, this was the loss that killed the Lions.

If the Packers were a Nintendo video game, they would be: Super Mario 2. While the original Super Mario and Super Mario 3 get all the pub, Super Mario 2 was totally off-the-wall, creative, and very fun to play. This won’t be a traditional Packer team, but it might all work out in the end anyway.

Did you know? The Packers had never lost a playoff game at Lambeau Field until 2002. They have lost three of their last five since.

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NFL Preview Bonanza: NFC East

DISCLAIMER: I will be particularly unfair and subjective in this divisional analysis.

NEW YORK GIANTS

Last Season: 12-4

This Season: 11-5, NFC #1

First of all, let’s chill out about the receiver situation. Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon are tenable NFL receivers. Especially when you complement them with the league’s best rushing attack—as much a product of the offensive line than Brandon Jacobs and, this season, Ahmad Bradshaw—and arguably its best defensive line. The Giants are, to me, the NFC team with the fewest unanswered questions, and that’s why everyone harps so much on the receiver one. The bigger question, though, is if Eli Manning can throw a football through wind. Because he hasn’t done that yet, and if he still can’t this year, I’ll be hoping Big Blue can go on the road in the playoffs again.

Tim’s favorite players in New York Giant history is…: You expect me to settle for one? I own jerseys of Rodney Hampton, Jason Sehorn, Tiki Barber, Jeremy Shockey, Michael Strahan, and Lawrence Taylor. If pressed to choose one player, I’d go with the greatest defensive player of all-time. If you give me more latitude, I’ll throw in Simms, Hampton, Tiki, Amani Toomer, Dave Meggett, Carl Banks, Pepper Johnson, Jesse Armstead, Matt Bahr, Jeff Feagles…

Greatest Ever? Greatest Ever.

Remember when Giant fans liked Tiki Barber? It seems so long ago. Back then, we thought he’d be a good broadcaster, too. We were so naïve.

And Sehorn? Now hold on. Sehorn was en route to stardom until he tore his ACL in that preseason game against the Jets in 1998. August 20, to be exact—the same night Mark McGwire hit two home runs (Nos. 50-51) in a doubleheader at Shea Stadium. If not for that injury—particularly devastating to a cornerback who didn’t have a lot of margin for error in terms of speed—Sehorn would have been a legit Pro Bowler.

A Great and Recent Giant Game: The Greatest from February 3, 2008. But let’s not forget other Great and Recent Giant Games, such as “Third Tynes the Charm,” the last regular-season game against the Broncos, 41-0, that other regular-season game against the Broncos, Mark Ingram! (or Scott Norwood!), and Matt Bahr!

Yeah, field goal kicking was important in 1990: Yes, yes it was.

Can we get that Montana hit? That might be the iconic hit on a quarterback.

Not Theismann? That’s just mean. (P.S. I still can’t watch that. It’s too painful. And I really dislike Joe Theismann!)

Can you say one thing bad about the Giants? Of course. But I won’t.

Not even about Tom Coughlin? You mean “The Debacler”? Nah, we’re cool now.

If the Giants were a historical event, they would be: The Treaty of Verdun. Charlemagne/Plaxico Burress’ responsibilities have been split up and delegated to several more individuals. How will the new leaders cooperate in response?

Did you know? I love the Giants.

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