We're Black and Blue All Over:
As we discussed earlier this month, the next step in Brett Favre's retirement plan is to reconcile with the Green Bay Packers following a nasty divorce in the summer of 2008. That process began Monday when Favre told ESPN's Ed Werder that he was rooting for the Packers to win the Super Bowl, that quarterback Aaron Rodgers "is the best QB" in the playoffs and that he's happy for the Packers' success.
Favre added in an e-mail: "I think they will win it all! I hope they do, if you are wondering."
To be fair, Favre always has maintained that he never felt bitterness toward the organization or Rodgers. But if you're of the belief that Favre's public statements are more calculated than they appear, then you can see where this is headed. Coincidence or otherwise, Favre's website sent out an e-mail flash Monday night with this subject line: "Packers could go all the way."
Continuing around the NFC North:
Including the playoffs, the Packers are 5-5 on the road this year, notes Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Packers cornerback Tramon Williams has become a student of the game, writes Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
Packers receiver Greg Jennings on the Soldier Field turf, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com: "Probably the worst in the league."
Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com wonders if the Bears can handle Rodgers with their four-man rush. Rodgers has completed 33 of 38 passes in the playoffs against that set.
The Bears were pretty vanilla in the teams' Week 17 matchup at Lambeau Field, writes Neil Hayes of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Tickets for Sunday's game are the hottest in Chicago sports history, according to the Chicago Tribune.
David Haugh of the Tribune: "Despite the odds, the Bears actually match up better against the Packers than they would against either potential Super Bowl opponent."
Seth Wickersham of ESPN.com: "Both teams are cocky, led by their quarterbacks -- each of whom is new to NFL playoff success, each of whom displays his self-confidence in different ways."
Minnesota Vikings special teams coordinator Brian Murphy left the team to take a similar role with the Carolina Panthers, notes NFC South colleague Pat Yasinskas.
Brian Murphy of the St. Paul Pioneer Press goes behind the scenes of the Vikings' reaction to the Metrodome roof collapse.
Tim Twentyman of the Detroit News profiles Ngum Suh, the older sister of Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh.