NFC North Preview

The good news is that Chad Hutchinson won’t have the Vikings to kick around anymore. That’s not to say that the Vikings are going anywhere; but Hutchinson sure is. The bench, specifically. He’s been demoted in favor of Kyle Orton, the rookie quarterback the Bears took with their fouth round pick.

You’ll recall that Hutchinson’s sole claim to greatness was that he absolutely tore up the Viking’s defense last year at Solidier Field. For VIkings fans, that would officially qualify him as a horrible quarterback but the Bears made it officially official by promoting Orton.

Thanks to the miracle of the NFL Network, I DVRed the Bears and the Packers games, so I was able to check out our NFC North rivals and things look good for the Vikings as far as those two division rivals are concerned.

You gotta feel for the Bears, despite the fact that they’re a division opponent. They have had such a long drought at quarterback, it’s almost painful. During the few games I’ve seen Grossman play, he sure looks like he’s got what it takes to be an NFL quaterback. Unfortunately, it sure looks like he’s got what it takes to get injured easily, as well.

I watched the Bears play the Colts last week and the Bills this week and two things stood out: 1) They have an agressive, awesome defense and, 2) Chad Hutchinson has no business taking snaps in the NFL.

Hutchinson could not, for the life of him, look off a receiver. Thus the interceptions. Orton, on the other hand, looked confident, made quick decisions and got the ball out of his hands quickly. To be fair, I have seen much less of Orton than I have of Hutchinson, but still; Orton’s demeanor says he knows he belongs, Hutchinson’s does not.

But he is still a rookie, and a fourth-round rookie at that, so expect the Bears to dramatically limit what he can do and to focus on the run game. That plan would be even better if they ever sign their top pick, running back Cedric Benson. The plan, then, against the Bears should be simple: Shut down the running game and then put the pressure on the rookie and force him to make mistakes.

The Packers

The good news here is that the Pack looks ab-so-LUTE-ly awful. Granted, they did play the World Champion Patriots but the Pat’s offense sliced through the Packers’ D like butter. I was salivating just watching, thinking what Daunte will do against this bunch.

Brett Farve had one of those games where he just laid an egg. He was just pathetic. He tossed three interceptions, one of which was called back due to a penalty. On the first two picks, there was no receiver in the vacinity. On the last interception, Farve just tried to force the ball to a reciever on an out pattern, even though he was double-covered.

I’m not telling you this because it’s any big revelation. There’s no denying he’s a great quarterback, I’m sure he’s still got gas in the tank, and we’ve all seen him have the occasional off day where he cannot make a play to save his life.

I’m telling you this because you should have heard the Green Bay announcer for the game. Oh my gawd, what a homer!! He couldn’t simply acknowledge what was apparent to everyone but, I guess, him: That Farve was playing horribly.

No, instead, he laid the blame anywhere but with Farve. It’s true that the Packers have a major problem at both guard positions, but after each interception, the color commentator said, "I sure do hope that this season is not going to be one where Brett is going to have to make all the plays for his team."

After I’d just watched Farve throw the ball directly into the gut of a Patriot defender with no Packer in sight, this goofball is telling me that the reason is that Farve is trying so hard to make a play while surrounded by piss poor talent? Wrong.

It was amazing. The guy said pretty much the same thing after all three interceptions.

The bottom line, though, for the Packers’ offense is that they are one big hurting unit without their dearly departed guards, Rivera and Wahl. It was eminiently clear that Farve was rushing his passes due to the pressure.