Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Aaron Rodgers lights up Vikings as usual
By Russell S. Baxter
• While the end may be near for Brett Favre, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers would be happy to play the Minnesota Vikings every week. In evening his career record to 3-3 vs Minnesota, Rodgers has thrown for 1,587 yards, 12 scores and just three interceptions in a half-dozen games against the Vikings in three seasons.
• Sometimes so much about the Chicago Bears is QB Jay Cutler but this season you have to start noticing an improved defense. Chicago has allowed 17 or fewer points in seven of 10 games this season, a trick they managed just four times during all of 2009.
• This is not a prediction on who will win the AFC South but rather who will decide it down the stretch. The 5-5 Tennessee Titans (riding a three-game losing streak) will close the season by playing five divisional games in the final six weeks, including four straight starting this Sunday at Houston.
• Another lesson on why football is a game of matchups. Last week, the Pittsburgh Steelers lost 39-26 to the New England Patriots, recording zero sacks and zero takeaways for the first time all season. Pittsburgh forced three turnovers and totaled six sacks in Sunday’s 35-3 win over the Oakland Raiders. Also worth noting is that for the first time all season, Oakland failed to run the ball at least 25 times (16) for at least 100 yards (61).
• The Arizona Cardinals dropped their fifth straight game and fell to 3-7 this season. For the first time in his four-year head coaching career, Ken Whisenhunt will not win more games than he did the previous season (8-8 in 2007, 9-7 in 2008, 10-6 in 2009).
• A quickie on the Colts: At 6-4, Jim Caldwell's team will now have to run the table in order to record an eighth straight season of 12-plus wins, extending their own NFL record. And in case you don't think that's possible, Tony Dungy's 2008 Colts opened their season at 3-4, and then ran the table for a 12-4 record.
• Emulating one of your siblings can sometimes be a bad thing. It's worth noting that both the Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants lost Sunday. Peyton Manning and Eli Manning each threw three interceptions and each threw an interception on their final pass attempt of the game. Indianapolis is now 6-4 and the Giants fell to (you guessed it) 6-4.
• While it's much too early to say that they're in the midst of another second-half swoon, the Giants have now dropped two straight following their 6-2 start. Dating to 2003, Big Blue is 45-19 in their first eight games of the season, compared to a dismal 20-38 in the final eight games of the season. Stay tuned.