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The NFC North Nightmare Continues

I've been pretty quiet around these parts since the 2010 season mercifully came to an end for the Vikings. While my output was naturally bound to dwindle since it is the offseason and all, I've half-avoided posting here for the last few weeks due to three main reasons:

  1. I've been really busy at work. I know, lame excuse, but fellow computer nerds know that the weeks leading up to a big software release aren't exactly a fun time.
  2. Every time I'm about to post a newsworthy item and my opinion about said item, one of my co-writers has already beaten me to the punch. This isn't a complaint at all--as Ron Burgundy said to Baxter after he pooped in the refrigerator and ate the whole wheel of cheese, "I'm not even mad; I'm impressed!" My colleagues are no joke, people. If you want dibs on a story here, you best be on top of your Twitter game.
  3. While we're wallowing in sorrow over another season gone by the wayside, one of our two biggest rivals is guaranteed a spot in this year's Super Bowl.

Yeah, it's mostly because of that last one. It's hard to write about your favorite team when the two teams you hate the most are still gleefully pillaging through he playoffs. I saw Green Bay vs. Chicago coming as soon as the Seahawks beat the Saints--I even tweeted it a couple weeks ago--but it doesn't make it any easier on us Viking fans. I'd rather drink a liter of hot tub water from the Jersey Shore house than listen to another Bears or (especially) Packers fan gloat about how their team is just one step away from the Super Bowl.

No doubt most of you know plenty of Packers or Bears fans that have been completely insufferable this season. It sucks. There's no getting around it--both teams were much better than the Vikings in 2010. We should probably just sit idly by and take our lumps from the Cheeseheads and Da Ditkas until next year. But that's just not my style. Instead, allow me to extend a metaphorical middle finger to each team and tell their fans why they should shut up.

Let's start in Chicago.

Hey, Bears fans--you realize that the 2010 Bears are one of the luckiest teams of all time, right? It's easy to root for a team with a horseshoe all the way up its ass. Need proof? It started with the first game when the referees gift-wrapped a W for you by inexplicably nullifying a late, go-ahead Calvin Johnson touchdown.

(Side rant: Why does the NFL consider it a TD if a runner so much as sneezes on the goal line, yet a receiver has to catch the ball, get two feet in, maintain control throughout the play, and provide two forms of ID with a notarized middle school report card before it's legit? How does that make sense?)

But oh no, it didn't stop there for the Bears. When Chicago hosted Green Bay in Week 3, Chicago barely escaped with a win even though the refs threw roughly 264 flags against the Pack. They needed yet another bad call to get past Detroit again in Week 13.

You know what though? Throw those games out, Bears fans. You still won those games fair and square. (Well, at least the "square" part.) The refs don't decide games; players decide games, right? But guess what--the Bears lucked out in that respect too! Do you know how many times Chicago faced backup quarterbacks this year? SIX! It's easy to go 12-5 with a third place schedule facing the likes of Shaun Hill, Jimmy Clausen, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyler Thigpen, Drew Stanton, and Joe Webb.

Even with all this good fortune, the mighty Bears have exactly three wins against winning teams this season including the playoffs. Forgive me if I'm not worshiping at the altar of Cutler & Urlacher yet.

Now as for you Packers fans...

Dammit. Fine. I'll admit it. Aaron Rodgers is really freaking good. His game against Atlanta last week was ridiculous. I even secretly dig the "championship belt" celebration thing.

It must be rough to waltz through life always knowing you have an elite quarterback. For the past 20 years, the Packers have had only two quarterbacks lead their team--Favre and Rodgers. Meanwhile, let's look at the laundry list of has-beens and never-wases Minnesota has had the luxury of trotting out at quarterback during that time:

Rich Gannon, Sean Salisbury, Jim McMahon, Warren Moon, Brad Johnson, Randall Cunningham, Jeff George, Daunte Culpepper, Spergon Wynn, Todd Bouman, Gus Frerotte, Brad Johnson again, Tarvaris Jackson, Kelly Holcomb, Brooks Bollinger, Brett Favre, and Joe Webb.

If anything, Packers fans should be ashamed they only have one championship (or heaven forbid, two after this year) while enjoying that kind of continuity.

And yes, Green Bay's defense is pretty good too. Tramon Williams has been Tramondous this postseason. The girlish hair and I'm-totally-sure-he-gained-all-that-muscle-naturally-at-USC body of Clay Matthews has been all over the place lately.

So enjoy it while it lasts, Cheeseheads. Just hope that your team isn't trailing at any time in the fourth quarter from here on out, because we all know how good Rodgers is at fourth quarter comebacks.

Whew. I feel a little better now.

Hatred for our fellow NFC North teams aside, it shouldn't be all sour grapes in Viking Land these days. Like Skol Girl touched on earlier, we still have amazing, resilient fans. Leslie Frazier seems to be assembling one heck of a coaching staff--I have approved of each move so far, and it sounds like most Vikings fans agree. Brett Favre just might be crying retirement wolf for the last time. We're still three months away from the draft, and I'm already getting excited about a 2011 season that may or may not even happen.

Nobody sells hope better than the NFL. Even after the atrocious season we had, you better believe I'm still buying.

My official picks have been on hiatus for a while, but I suppose I should give my two cents on the championship games. Since, you know, I totally dominated the Daily Norseman Pickem league. (I won the outright picks by 3 games and the confidence picks by 16 points...hmm, I wonder why Chris hasn't posted anything about my glorious victory yet.)

Packers over BEARS: Only because "PLEASE GOD ANYONE BUT THESE TWO TEAMS" wasn't an option. The Packers are better, so I'll pick them. Let's move on while I can still fight the urge to jump from the new 35W bridge.

STEELERS over Jets: I honestly have no idea who's going to win this game. The Steelers offensive line is beat up, but Ben Roethlisberger can avoid the rush like he avoids court cases. Mark Sanchez sucks for 80% of most games, yet he comes up with one or two clutch throws when he needs them. Pittsburgh doesn't lose when Troy Polamalu is playing, but he looked pretty awful last week. The Jets defense shut down the Patriots last week, but I fear they may have used all their emotion on that game. So yeah, I have no freaking clue. If the Packers win the early game, be sure to bet tons of money on the Jets, because I almost always go .500 with my picks on each weekend of the playoffs. I don't care for either team whatsoever, but the winner of this game will have my allegiance for exactly two weeks. Go AFC!!

Last week: 3-1
Playoffs: 5-3

Regular season: 166-90