Black and Blue all over: Game night
The season's biggest game in the NFC North (thus far) is about 12 hours away, and it's too bad we can't rip the roof off the Metrodome. The Twin Cities were dusted with snow overnight and it's still falling Sunday morning. If that isn't the way to potentially decide the Black and Blue title, I don't know what is.
But alas, we'll be indoors to watch Chicago and Minnesota square off for a game that, at the very least, will give one team sole possession of first place in the division and a decided advantage in the title race over the final month of the season.
We'll post some thoughts Sunday afternoon on Green Bay's game against Carolina, and then we'll check in from the Metrodome with pregame updates starting around 6 p.m. ET. In the meantime, get your game face on and take a morning spin with us around the division:
- The Bears are 2-0 in night games this season, and quarterback Kyle Orton is confident his team is comfortable in the spotlight, according to Nick Hut of the Northwest Herald. "It just seems like we usually show up in these big-time games," Orton said. "Playing at night and everything, we usually show up and play pretty well [2-0 in prime time this season] so hopefully that continues."
- Thirteen of the 14 sportswriters who pick winners for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times took the Vikings. The lone holdout was the Tribune's Fred Mitchell.
- Vikings coach Brad Childress has a player leadership council that includes two members, receiver Robert Ferguson and quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, who have played rarely this season. Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune looks at the makeup and function of the group.
- Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press on quarterback Gus Frerotte: "There is no question he provided a spark when he took over for Tarvaris Jackson. But like a utility man in baseball or a sharpshooter off the bench in basketball, that effectiveness diminishes with increased playing time. Opposing teams figure out how to exploit a guy's weaknesses."
- Can the Packers keep Julius Peppers away from quarterback Aaron Rodgers? That's one of the three biggest questions headed into Sunday's game against the Panthers, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- Green Bay's top offseason priority seems pretty clear, writes the Press Gazette's Rob Demovsky: Defensive line. Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal, meanwhile, notes the Packers are on pace for a franchise-low sack total this season.