Black and Blue all over: Game day
As we told you in Friday's programming note, we're setting out for Wisconsin a bit later this morning and will be in place for Sunday's nationally-televised track meet between Green Bay and Dallas.
We'll most likely be in transit when a few important news items become official later this morning. But there a couple of places you can look for news on Chicago receiver/kick returner Devin Hester (ribs) and Minnesota tailback Adrian Peterson (knee). Game-time decisions for both players must be finalized by 11:30 a.m. ET, and shortly thereafter we should have news stories on the ESPN.com NFL page.
We also have a pretty slick system set up to provide a link to John Clayton's 32-team list of inactive players about an hour before kickoff. That link will be pasted directly into our very own NFC North blog. If Hester and/or Peterson don't appear on that list, you can assume they're playing today.
There is no additional information Sunday morning on either player, but in general Hester has seemed a long shot for playing while the Vikings are keeping their fingers crossed on Peterson.
We'll check in later this afternoon. Until then, let's take a stroll around the division:
- In case you didn't know, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is from Burlington, Wis. Brett Christopherson of Gannett Wisconsin checks in with a lengthy profile. A highlight: Folks in Burlington were glad Romo only needed to change a tire during his now-infamous Good Samaritan act earlier this month. "He has no clue what's underneath the hood," said Steve Berezowitz, Romo's high school basketball coach.
- Do the Packers have enough defensive personnel to stop the Cowboys' offense? Not everyone on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's football staff thinks so.
- Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune check in with profiles of new Vikings quarterback Gus Frerotte. Because of his children's school and sports schedule, Frerotte is living alone in the Twin Cities this year while the rest of his family remains in St. Louis.
- Judd Zulgad of the Star Tribune reminds us of the last time Carolina defensive end Julius Peppers played in the Metrodome: Three sacks, five quarterback pressures, one pass breakup, nine tackles and a blocked field goal in a 2006 loss to the Vikings. Peppers played most of that game as a left end but is expected to be on the right side today.
- Most members of the Chicago Sun-Times sports staff expect a defensive struggle today between Chicago and Tampa Bay.
- As you read this, Bears defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek might be throwing up. Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune shares the details on Dvoracek's pregame rituals.
- Detroit tailback Kevin Smith on the Lions' mostly listless running game: "We're close, we're not far," Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com writes.
- The Lions had two goals in the offseason: To re-balance their offense by firing coordinator Mike Martz, and to improve their personnel in the defensive secondary. Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press pre-notes the irony of Martz potentially lighting up the Lions defense today in his new role as San Francisco's offensive coordinator.