The Green Bay Fog: The Gunslinger Returns To Lambeau

Dan SmithCorrespondent IOctober 30, 2009

PITTSBURGH - OCTOBER 25:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings tries to break free of a tackle during the NFL game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on October 25, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Vikings 27-17. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Curly Lambeau coached his last game in 1949. He might still recognize the field the game is played on but the game on the field is so different than it was 60 years ago.

Could you imagine Lambeau dealing with the hype machine that is coming to town as the Gunslinger returns?

Brett Favre has played in two eras of the NFL. The NFC dominant years of the Cowboys, 49ers and Packers and the AFC dominant years of the Patriots and Colts. Favre could have also been on the first team that Curly Lambeau coached in 1921.

When the Packers went to Minnesota for their first meeting, the best player on the field was Jared Allen. The Packers contained Adrian Peterson and dared Brett Favre to beat them and that was what he did.

The Packers had some flaws in their gameplan that they can improve upon for the game on Sunday in Green Bay. Aaron Kampman was put into coverage far too often so he should be rushing the quarterback more. The Packer offensive line gave up eight sacks. The Packers were in the spread far too often and that exposed their mismatch against the Minnesota defensive line.

The Steelers slowed down Peterson and that forced Favre to throw the ball. He was strip sacked for one touchdown return and overthrew a screen pass by less than a foot for another defensive touchdown for Pittsburgh.

No one remembers how dangerous a screen pass can be until they see the back of a 250 pound linebacker in the middle of a bunch of other defensive players.

The Green Bay fog will lift after this game. The Packers will have finished playing their former icon. The fog will not return if the two meet in the playoffs for the playoffs are a dragon of a different scale.

The schedule was kind to the Packers as they went 4-2 through the fog left in the wake of Brett Favre's return to the NFC North. The return of the Gunslinger to Lambeau will clear a lot of things up.

Minnesota can take control of the NFC North with a win. The Packers can pull to within a half-game of the Vikings with a win. That is the big picture. The small picture is fuzzy for all sorts of reasons that this game should put into focus.

Is the Packer offensive line playoff caliber?

How important is Antoine Winfield to the Minnesota secondary?

Can the Packers defense slow down Adrian Peterson for two games in a row?

Here are things that are not fuzzy to me. The Packers have the right quarterback in place. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy made the right choice when Brett Favre first got that itch after his first retirement.

Brett Favre is now a legit game manager with the ability to make plays when needed. The NFL is so close from team to team that he has only had one bad quarter but that was enough to give them their first loss last week.

If the Packers can make Favre throw the ball enough then Charles Woodson or Al Harris will make a play.

The teams are even and it will come down to who has the ball last. Look for Aaron Rodgers to have the ball last in Lambeau Field.

Green Bay 24

Minnesota 23