Monday, January 2, 2012
BBAO: Time for the fun to begin
By Kevin Seifert
We're Black and Blue All Over:
The 2011 season is over for half of the NFC North, the postseason has begun for the other half and it's full steam ahead here on the blog.
We know the playoff schedule: The Detroit Lions (10-6) will play Saturday night at the New Orleans Saints, while the Green Bay Packers (15-1) will await the NFC's lowest remaining seed and host a Jan. 15 game at Lambeau Field. Kickoff will be 4:30 p.m. ET.
We know the relevant draft order: The Minnesota Vikings (3-13) will pick No. 3 overall, while Chicago Bears (8-8) hold the No. 19 pick.
Before the madness begins, let's take a quick tour around local coverage of Week 17:
- The Packers deactivated quarterback Aaron Rodgers before the game, but Rodgers called most of the first-half no-huddle plays over the headset to starter Matt Flynn. Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel explains.
- Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "Matt Flynn turned in one of the greatest single-game performances ever by a Green Bay Packers quarterback. And if all goes as planned, he’ll never start another game for the team."
- The Packers started Frank Zombo at right outside linebacker Sunday in place of Erik Walden and will have to determine a starting lineup heading into the playoffs, notes the Press-Gazette.
- The Packers have a decision to make on veteran left tackle Chad Clifton, who started and took 25 snaps Sunday after a nearly three-month layoff. More from Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
- Lions coach Jim Schwartz remained upset with the officiating during his postgame news conference, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Schwartz: "The whole thing with replay's to get it right. Well, we didn't get it right."
- Philip Zaroo of Mlive.com: "No amount of offensive records and bad officiating can overshadow what was one of the Detroit Lions' worst defensive performances of the season."
- John Niyo of the Detroit News: "Welcome back to the playoffs, Detroit. And don't forget to pack your offense, because by the looks of it -- especially after Sunday's 45-41 loss to a Green Bay team missing a half-dozen starters -- you're going to need to score points aplenty just to keep pace with the NFC's best."
- A shakeup among assistant coaches could occur quickly for the Vikings, writes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
- The Vikings are heading into the offseason with Christian Ponder as their No. 1 quarterback, writes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.
- Tom Powers of the St. Paul Pioneer Press: "So with any luck at all, and if there is a God in heaven, there will be changes starting in the front office and extending down through the roster."
- We learned the value of Bears quarterback Jay Cutler this season, writes Jon Greenberg of ESPNChicago.com.
- Bears safety Major Wright didn't realize that linebacker Brian Urlacher was in position to make an interception when he jumped and ultimately landed on Urlacher, spraining his knee. Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times has more.
- Sunday was a day of "sobering reminders" for the Bears, writes David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune.