Sunday, November 16, 2008
Black and Blue all over: Game day
By Kevin Seifert
Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- We arrived here Saturday night amid a few snow flurries, but Sunday morning it's mostly sunny with temperatures around 30 degrees. The wind chill is dipping to about 20 degrees, which means this should be a pretty typical November day Lambeau Field.
We'll update you on all the news once we get in place at the stadium, most importantly to ensure that Chicago still plans to start quarterback Kyle Orton against the Packers. For now, however, let's take a spin around the division:
- Jason Wilde of the Wisconsin State Journal examines whether quarterback Aaron Rodgers has regressed in midseason. Rodgers has a 113 passer rating in the Packers' four victories and a 79.6 rating in their five losses.
- Rob Demovsky of the Green Bay Press-Gazette contrasts the divergent ways Chicago and Green Bay have traditionally built their teams. Quarterback is an afterthought in the Bears' blueprint, while it's the centerpiece for the Packers.
- David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune contacted all nine of the Bears' opponents this season to solicit opinions on middle linebacker Brian Urlacher's play. Haugh's conclusion: "Their comments reinforced the opinion here that a bigger problem could lie with a defensive scheme that fails to maximize Urlacher's skills more than a real drop-off in those skills."
- Although Kevin Payne is not a true free safety, the Bears need him to play like one Sunday against Rodgers and the Packers. That observation and more in matchups from Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Minnesota tailback Chester Taylor insists he has accepted his subordinate role in the Vikings offense -- especially since he has been so productive as a third-down back, writes Chip Scoggins of the Star Tribune. Taylor: "I'm a team player, and I just want to win. People probably think [I'm upset] because when they first brought me here I was running the ball, and I started the whole year. Then they brought Adrian [Peterson] in so people figure any running back who's gone from first string to second string is going to be upset. But Adrian has earned his spot. It's not like he's doing bad. He's helping our team win and that's all that matters now."
- Here's an unfortunate statistic: The Vikings have 22 sacks at home and three on the road, according to Rick Alonzo of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Too bad they play Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.
- Detroit receiver Mike Furrey (concussion) didn't make the trip to Carolina and won't play Sunday, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.
- Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press wonders if the city will lose one of its sports franchises to attrition, mentioning the Lions as a possibility.