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Wrapping up our National (Football League) holiday

4/14/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Hope you all enjoyed the quick-fire analysis in Tuesday's inaugural national holiday/NFL schedule release for the ESPN blog network. I've sifted through your comments and the mailbag and wanted to make a few points:

  1. Based on the 2008 records of its opponents, Minnesota has the easiest opening schedule in the NFL. The winning percentage of the Vikings' first four opponents was .266, and their first eight was .375. (Green Bay is a close second on the latter statistic at .380.) Allison Wachs of ESPN Stats & Information ran the numbers.

  2. That early schedule could be especially important if the Vikings lose defensive tackles Kevin Williams and Pat Williams to NFL suspensions. Will Cleveland, Detroit, San Francisco or Green Bay bring a power running attack into those early games? At this very early moment, it's not likely. As Justin writes to the mailbag: "Outside of the 49ers, none of those running games should really give the Vikings as much of a fit as the Steelers, Panthers, Giants or Ravens could have later in the in the year."

  3. I'll bring you more on this Wednesday, but I looked at every game that presumptive Detroit quarterback Daunte Culpepper has played against New Orleans -- which will host the Lions in both teams' season openers. Culpepper has thrown for at least 300 yards in all five games and has accounted for a total of 17 touchdowns over that span.

  4. Detroit hasn't closed a regular season at home since 2003, but this season, it will host Chicago.

  5. The Bears are opening their season on the road for the fifth consecutive year and for the eighth time in their past 10.

  6. All teams are candidates to have their games move into or out of Sunday night games on NBC between Weeks 11 and 17. There is one exception: Green Bay's game Nov. 22 against San Francisco can not be flexed because the Packers play four days later, at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.