For those of you who thoroughly enjoy hearing athletes and coaches say “we’re taking it one game at a time and right now all we’re focused on is the _________ game”, you may not want to read this post. I prefer it when athletes, coaches, fans openly project and look past weak opponents.
Our schedule over the next 6 games is as follows:
- @ New Orleans, Carolina, Houston, @ Jax, @ Chi, Detroit
Of these games, I am most worried about the 3 away games. Of course, we have to play well to win the others (except the Detroit game), but these 3 concern me the most. I think this next game in New Orleans is especially important. If we can take down Brees and Bush and co it would make coming home for two tough, but very winnable games easier. Carolina is solid, but they’ve played a fairly weak schedule and Delhomme has been erratic this year – I am confident we can win this one at home. Houston has Sage Rosenfels (and hopefully still will by then) who may be the least clutch QB ever. At Jax could be tough and at Chicago is always tough. Detroit is hideous. So, I can see us going at least 4-2 and maybe even doing better than that. I believe 4-2 may end up being sufficient for the playoffs. I will say this, if Chicago loses this weekend to St. Louis, they are done.
Factors going forward:
- Will Kyle Orton work diligently to get his QB rating back in the 70s where it belongs?
- Will Matt Forte hit a rookie wall?
- Will Ryan Grant pick up steam like he did in the 2nd half of last year and run wild?
- Will Mike McCarthy stay focused himself? I noticed last weekend, MM was pumped up and even yelling at the officials early in the game – he wanted it. Not sure he’s been that way in all the previous games.
- Will the Williams duo be suspended (and as some are speculating, possibly Allen too for dirty play)
- Will AP be able to remain injury free for the remainder of the season?
- Will national writers continue to be mysteriously duped into thinking Gus Frerotte is a quality QB (Kevin Seifert, ESPN’s NFC North blogger – a former Star Tribune reporter, says “Frerotte is the most experienced — if not the most careful — quarterback in the division and isn’t fazed by big-game pressure.” Not sure what he means by “careful” but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean 11 picks in 9 games, a sub-60% completion percentage, fumbling/getting sacked a lot a 77 QB rating. Not sure either why Seifert would say Frerotte’s not fazed by big games – he was not terrible in New Orleans but that’s about it.
STEVE ADDS: I think Seifert was probably saying that Frerotte is not the most careful, rather than suggesting that he is careful. And perhaps he meant that Frerotte isn’t fazed by big-game pressure because, a) his vast experience includes very few big-games, because he sucks, or, b) he is so consistently bad in big games that there is little pressure on him to do well. Either way, we’ve warned our readers about Seifert’s reporting in the past. I don’t think it’s fair to judge the guy’s entire body of work by one mistake, but it was the really the only story going at the time and it was a rather significant mistake to make.