Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Nobody Knows Anything Part II

For more chuckles and grins, now let’s see what the "experts" are saying in 2007.

1) Paul Zimmerman (aka Dr. Z) at Sports Illustrated has the order of finish in the NFC North this way: Bears 11-5, Packers 6-10, Vikings 6-10 and Lions 4-12.

East coast-based Dr. Z seldom has anything nice to say about Green Bay. Possibly he’s bothered by the fact he wouldn’t know how to find the city on a map of the United States, even if you let his lovely swimsuit model pal Brooklyn Decker give him a few hints. (We all know that swimsuit models are much smarter than sports scribes). Interestingly, he’s listed as “Senior Writer” of the magazine. Makes you wonder how silly the Junior Writer’s predictions might look.

2) The Sporting News’ NFL Preview magazine has a much clearer view of the future: Bears 9-7, Packers 8-8, Vikings 6-10, Lions 6-10. This makes some sense. The Bears drift backward a bit, and the Packers improve their personnel but finish at .500 again because of their difficult schedule. The point is, the Packers may be closing the gap on Chicago. Sporting News’ bottom line evaluation: “This team will be better than people think because the defense has a chance to be very good and keep the Packers in every game.”

Now that’s some seriously good sports writing!

3) Returning to the dark side, here’s what Seth Doria of sports-central.org says:

Chicago 10-6, Minnesota 7-9, Green Bay 5-11, Detroit 3-13. He also makes the curious statement that the Packers will be the last NFC team to win a game. He also envisions Washington as his “breakout” team. But he doesn’t say whether they will be breaking out in measles, chicken pox, or just easily treatable acne.

4) Don Banks at cnnsi.com believes: “The Packers faced bleak prospects entering last season and wound up overachieving, so you can't rule them out of wild-card competition this year.”

Given some of the gloomy predictions we’ve seen, I guess that not being “ruled out” is a positive thing. Thanks, Mr. Banks!

5) Even Schein sees the light. Remember Adam Schein’s 3-13 prediction for 2006? Well, in 2007 he predicts Green Bay will be 8-8, finishing second in the NFC North. His comments are much more positive as well:

The Packers play incredibly hard for Coach Mike McCarthy. Green Bay's defense has made a lot of progress, and with A.J. Hawk, Nick Barnett, Aaron Kampman, plus Al Harris and Charles Woodson at cornerback, it won't be pushed around.”

6) Over on msnbc.com, football contributor Bill Williamson wrote one of those “burning questions” columns, which included his answer to the question of whether Green Bay will be a playoff contender:

“No. Overall, the Packers are not an improved team and there is just isn’t enough offensive firepower to go on a big roll. The defense isn’t strong enough to carry Green Bay to the playoffs, either. The Packers will be lucky if they finish .500 again.”

Sorry, but it’s time to douse this guy’s “burning issues” because over at NFL.com, Steve Silverman wrote: “The Packers will be better than you think if ...

The young defense that improved so much last season continues to get better. Kampman leads a bunch of hustlers on the defensive line while the linebackers have game-changing potential thanks to the instinctive Hawk.”

And Associated Press Sports writer Chris Jenkins also says our defense will be the key to success:

“Yes, Brett Favre is back for his 17th NFL season. But if the Green Bay Packers are to improve on last year's 8-8 record and make a surprise return to the playoffs, it will likely be because Favre and the offense have taken a back seat to an underrated, deep defense.”

And in the same story, author Jenkins got Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy to address the issue of the team’s perceived offensive weakness:

"I'm very comfortable with the ability of our offense to play whatever way we need to play to score points,'' McCarthy said.

Strangely, that almost makes sense.

As I reflect on the dozens of predictions I’ve read for the 2007 NFL season, the lesson I come away with is:


It’s really that simple.

No comments: