Packers and Chiefs and Packers and Vikings

All right, I’m doing this late in the week, but I’ll try to make some sense of it.

Packers beat the Chiefs in Kansas City. Predicted it correctly before and during the season. Although Kansas City has been better of late and as anyone who watched the game knows, the Packers had to come from six points down with three minutes to go. Turnovers and penalties were to blame for the Packers not putting this game away earlier. Could spell trouble if not corrected as the season progresses — although not as much trouble as the lack of a consistent running game. But you’ve heard that before.

Let’s move on to the rest of the season: This Sunday the Vikings come to Lambeau. And when people mention the Vikings, one thing comes to mind: That 1998 NFC Championship Game that they blew to the Atlanta Falcons. Wait, that’s what my father still thinks of. People following the NFL currently think of rookie running back sensation Adrian Peterson. How are the Packers going to stop him?

Luckily for the Packers, Peterson’s biggest foe is not any opposing team, but his nimrod coach. Chances are that Brad Childress will have one of two thoughts concerning Peterson and this week’s game plan: Either that he doesn’t want to wear him down so he’ll limit his touches — after Peterson ran for 224 yards against the Bears, he was only given 12 carries the following week in Dallas, which he turned into 63 yards (still a fine 5.3 average). But the Vikings lost the game, largely because they didn’t use their biggest weapon. Or Childress, knowing that the Packers will be looking to stop the run, will try to let his quarterback win the game with his arm.

Either ploy would be a huge mistake for Minnesota. The Vikings’ quarterback play is awful, and any trickery or deviousness employed by Childress regarding the position — at the time of this writing, he was still refusing to confirm who will start for the Vikings at quarterback — is meaningless. It’s like my son trying to get me excited about watching TV with him: I know he’s not going to blindside me with any show I’ll actually enjoy. Likewise, Childress is not going to be able to blindside the Packers with any quality quarterback play no matter how long he keeps them in the dark.

You have to love the ineptitude of the Vikings: They should be basking in the glory of having the league’s most talked about rookie — and probably, second to Tom Brady, the most talked about player, period — coming off not just a great game but a historic game in which he set the all-time single-game league record for rushing yards. And what do they do? They screw themselves in the public eye by fining one of their players for making arrangements for and attending his grandmothers’ funeral. Granted, the Vikings should be fining the player — receiver Troy Williamson — simply for being a rotting crap sandwich of a wide receiver — but you can’t fine someone for going to his grandmother’s funeral. It’s petty, crass, callous, stupid, and wrong. What’s next? Do they start docking players’ pay for suffering game-related injuries? “Hey, sorry that hit you took will cause you to have blurred vision and hemorrhaging for the rest of your life, but it’s not good business for us to have you in intensive care. We’ll have to cut your pay.”

As for the Packers — they’ve got an interesting stretch coming up here: Three games in the next twelve days, including what should be a fascinating game against the I-guess-they’ll-really-not-going-away Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving. Then they play at Dallas on November 29, a game that only cool people like me who have the NFL Network and talk loudly in restaurants will be able to watch. But the Packers got November off to a good start with a tougher-than-it-should-have-been win against the Chiefs and they’ll continue it against Minnesota on Sunday.

If the Packers beat Minnesota and the Lions beat Arizona — and both Green Bay and Detroit should prevail — that’ll make the Pack 8-1 and the Lions 7-2. Wow. If you would have told me either team would have either record at this point, I would have laughed. That OJ’s in legal trouble again . . . that’s less surprising.


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