Green Bay Packers: Hope Three Times a Charm and Topple Rival Vikings at Home
At Lambeau Field—check. In Minnesota—check.
It was a checklist that stood no match for the Minnesota Vikings last season. Twice Brett Favre faced his former team, and not only did he add to his stellar 4,202-yard and 33-touchdown year, he also toppled his new found foes, in perhaps the sweetest way imaginable.
For the most part, Favre is a man of many nicknames. Often linked with some kind of Christ-like figure, Favre has also managed to maintain a Superman-like status in the NFL, even though there is a large group of people who choose to see the old timer in a totally different light.
I guess the best way to describe that group of people, would be to call them Green Bay Packer fans.
Yes, Packer fans are perhaps the Green Lantern in Superman's fantastic world. A pure hatred has now spread throughout Lambeau Field, and although some veteran fans still respect Favre's ability, you only have to take one glimpse at the "This is Rodger's Neighborhood" signs to experience the mutual feeling in this small football town.
However, what Favre has accomplished since signing with the rival Purple People Eaters, is nothing short of great.
Like him or not, Favre has already strolled into Lambeau Field once and delivered a big time win, amongst a chorus of boos and comical signs that would have David Letterman himself in a fit of laughter. Packer faithfuls might not like it, but it's fair to say that the sour taste Favre smacked into his former football hometown still lingers within the mouths of most cheeseheads.
But like a breath mint or a simple Listerine strip, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers now look to rid their devoted town of that foul taste—and more importantly—deliver a win over Green Bay's newest and most hated rival since the Chicago Bears.
So what can we expect from this affair, that normally leaves fingernails chewed and hearts racing in the dying minutes of the second half?
You don't have to be a mind-reader to realize that round three of Green Bay vs. Minnesota (the Brett Favre edition) is set to be an all out doozy this Sunday night.
On the back of a big time loss for the Packers, Green Bay now looks to regroup from a second consecutive overtime defeat to Miami last weekend, that saw Mike McCarthy's men stumble and bumble their way in a reasonably mediocre performance.
During the week, the Packers did seem to receive some good news on the Al Harris and Atari Bigby front. Since the beginning of the season, both Packer defenders were placed on the PUP list for a total of six weeks, and up until recently, both were set to appear in their first game of the season this weekend.
Like everything the Packers think or touch though, this of course won't happen. What is a major positive on the injury scene however, is the addition of potential Defensive Player of the Year candidate Clay Matthews' return to the roster, following a Week 6 layoff.
Other news to come from Packer Central, of course involves the usual Minnesota vs. Green Bay story lines. As if you haven't listened to announcers rabbit on about it enough, the storyline of Rodgers stepping from beneath Favre's shadow will be a hotly contested topic over the weekend—even though most of us are tired of hearing that broken record.
Currently on the stat sheet, the Packers aren't looking all that dull. Many people have chosen to drop the Packers in their weekly power rankings, and as fair a call as this is, the green and gold's ninth rank point scoring offense tells its own story.
Realistically in the Packers case, all of Green Bay's recent woes have led people to label Ted Thompson's team as "pretenders." Although it sure does seem that way, this Sunday night presents a big-time opportunity for the Pack to gain some much needed confidence over a big-time division rival.
On the other side of the ball, the Minnesota Vikings are in no better shape. Sitting at 2-3 on the season, Favre's 2009 heroics have taken a back seat this season, and now resemble the makings of a broken down 20-year player.
Unlike the Packers, the Vikings are also struggling statistically. Due to Favre's seven interceptions on the year, Minnesota sits 27th in points scored on the season, along with 24th in defensive pass yards.
Does this spell trouble for the Vikings?
Potentially, considering Greg Jennings and Donald Driver have been unstoppable lately. Minnesota will catch a break at times with no Jermichael Finley lurking in the receiver core, but that isn't to say the many other Packer weapons can't bite a chunk out of the Vikings secondary.
Other than what may unfold on the field, the Packers now catch Favre between a rock and a hard place, something that Green Bay weren't fortunate enough to endure last year.
With the Jenn Sterger controversy surrounding Favre, questions now arise toward his mental state, even though he did manage to remain composed last week against the Dallas Cowboys.
Finally, the more underrated storyline of this event is Randy Moss. Several years ago, Moss became famous for mooning the Lambeau Field crowd, and as much as this stunt would be frowned upon today, I wouldn't put it past the Hall of Fame-bound wide receiver to once again attempt this display.
Johnny Cash's famous song "Ring of Fire" included the lyrics: "Love is a burning thing, and it makes a fiery ring, bound by wild desire, I fell into a ring of fire".
These two teams are far from a loving nature, but with a loss on the horizon for either, the ring of fire is certainly heating up beneath them, for the remainder of the 2010 season.
Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters. Ryan is also a contributing writer for Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Generation Y Sports. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
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