The NFL is finally here! It is arguably my favorite league. Fantasy football has taken my love of the NFL to new heights over the past several years. I think many of you can say that, too! Hopefully, the Steelers-Titans game last night got everyone in the mood for NFL action this weekend. What a physical game that was!
In looking at the NFL schedule, I see intriguing games like Miami at Atlanta, Philadelphia at Carolina, and Washington at New York. However, the most important game of the weekend takes place in Green Bay as the Packers welcome long time nemesis Chicago to Lambeau Field.
The Chicago Bears come into the 2009 season with renewed hope and excitement. Those uplifting feelings are due to the fact that quarterback Jay Cutler will be taking the snaps. The quarterback position has been a merry-go-round the last few seasons with Rex Grossman, Brian Griese, and Kyle Orton playing hot potato with the position. Now, the Bears – and Bears fans – hope they have found a franchise quarterback in Cutler. Bears fans are some of the most passionate in the league, and you can bet the bullseye is squarely on the chest of Mr. Cutler.
Green Bay also comes into the season with renewed hope and excitement. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers quietly had a solid season in his first year starting, replacing that Favre guy. He finished the year with over 4,000 passing yards and 28 touchdowns with a 93.8 passer rating. (In fact, he was my number one pick on my fantasy team, so I hope he has a big year!) The Packers have tried to fix their problems on defense, and if you put a lot of stock into what happens in the preseason, then you feel good about how the defense looks at this point. Renowned defensive coordinator Dom Capers was hired to turn things around, and with him comes his patented brand of the 3-4 defense.
This is the best game because of the ramifications within the division. I see the Vikings, Bears, and Packers battling it out all season for NFC North supremacy. And, this is an intense rivalry. If the Bears were able to steal a game at Lambeau, it would be huge in terms of getting back on track and making a push to get back to the playoffs. The Packers need to win to hold serve and get a quality win at home against a division rival. In this division, you are going to have to win your games at home in order to contend for the division title. It is a Sunday night game on national television, too, and it is huge for either team to send a message to the rest of the league in saying, “Hey, we may have been down last year, but this is a new year and we are back.”
This game sets the tone for the rest of the season. Now strap on those pads, buckle those chin straps, and let’s place some football!!!