Pursuit of Perfection: Will the Vikings or Packers Be “Perfect” in 2011?

[Editor’s note: Drew and Amanda often exchange Facebook messages, tweets, and emails that include lots of Packers-Vikings trash talk. This post is an email thread between the two in which Drew does his best to jinx the undefeated Packers and Amanda tries to hold back her laughter while discussing the winless Vikings.]

DREW LANGE:

During an exchange we had this Tuesday morning, you briefly mentioned the Packers not losing a game all season. Naturally, me as a Vikings fan saw this as an opportunity to jinx the 2011 Green Bay Packers by comparing them to the last team to go through the regular season undefeated, the 2007 New England Patriots.

On paper the ’07 Patriots and ’10 Packers are very similar teams: high powered, spread passing offense, insanely accurate Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, 3-4 defensive schemes, and clearly the best team in the league.

The ’07 Patriots had the highest scoring offense in NFL history at 589 points, scoring 148 in the first four weeks. Guess how many the Packers have through four weeks. 148 points. Dead even.
Compare Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers through four games.

  • Brady: 1,118 yards, 13 TD, 2 INT, 79% completion
  • Rodgers: 1,325 yards, 12 TD, 1 INT, 73 % completion

Do you see the similarities?! They are the same team! Brady even had Randy Moss, who put up the greatest statistical season ever for a wide receiver. Rodgers has to throw to some guy named Jordy. The Packers are going 16-0!

AMANDA LAWSON:

In our exchange yesterday morning, we discussed which is more boring: winning all the time or losing all the time. I, of course, think that losing would be the worse of the two. But only one thing can absolutely top that–an 0-16 season. (Let the reality sink in…)

What truly concerns me is your lack of acknowledging that the 2011 Minnesota Vikings (currently 0-4) are starting a trek down a path the 2008 Detroit Lions (0-16) traveled not too long ago. Naturally, you think “No way in HELL!” I mean the ’08 Lions had….mmm…right. And the Vikings currently have top players in the league like Adrian Peterson, Percy Harvin, and Jared Allen. Plus you picked up well known Donovan McNabb, who HAS to be better than your previous quarterback. Of course, McNabb has proven to be on the same playing level as John Kitna. At least Kitna could throw over 39 yards in the Lions’ first game back in 2008.

It took some research to remind myself how HORRIBLE the 2008 Lions actually were (my heart goes out to those fans). The stats show that the ’08 Lions were way worse. The real issue at hand is the new trend the Vikings have started. It’s called “Losing the Lead”. Also known as “Let’s Watch Our Opponent DOMINATE” or “Meh, It’s Sunday” Syndrome.

The first game, the Vikings were just outplayed. It didn’t seem like it was that big of a deal. Brush it off. Weeks 2, 3 and 4 will surely be a different story. What team honestly loses a lead better than the Vikings? (It looks like the Cowboys might give them a run for their money, but they are not on the same level as the Vikings.) Let’s just review weeks 2, 3 and 4.

Week 2 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: By the end of the half, the score was 17-0 Vikings. That’s right; it looked like they were going to have their first win of the season. Oh but wait! Not so fast, the Bucs come back after half time and score 10 points in the 3rd quarter and 14 in the 4th while the Vikings sit idly by as if they are the ones at home on the couch. Final Score: 24-20 Tampa Bay

Week 3 vs. Detriot Lions: The Lions came into the game looking much better than previous seasons (and a hell of a lot better than the ’08 Lions). However, by the end of the 2nd quarter, they trail the Vikings by 20 points. Looks like they are the same old Lions we once knew. FAKE OUT! After halftime, the Lions take that 0-20 score and rip the field up. I guess the Vikings did score a field goal in the 3rd quarter. Clap…clap…clap. But the Lions put up 26 points to win the game 26-23.

Week 4 vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Now this wasn’t quite the shocker that the Week 2 and 3 losses were. Oh wait YES IT WAS. This was the game the Vikings would supposedly get it right. I mean it’s the Chiefs (who were also winless until week 4). Now the Vikings may have not been way ahead, but this just shows that the “Losing the Lead” disease has gone onto a more severe stage. A stage known as “Incapable of Beating Really Bad Teams”…Syndrome. Oh yes, the Vikings lost 17-22.

The progression of the Vikings crapiness is what leads me to believe they are heading down a path quite familiar to the ’08 Detriot Lions.

There is little hope for fans.

0-16…it will haunt you for seasons to come.

DREW:

First of all, I would like to be on the record saying that at this point I would rather have John Kitna as the starting Vikings QB than Donovan McNabb. I don’t even mean ’08 Lions version, I’ll take ’11 Cowboys backup quarterback version. John Kitna is greatly underrated. Just saying that kind of scares me. Knowing that the 0-16 Detroit Lions had a more competent quarterback than this year’s Vikings scares me. I mean you said it, who throws for 39 yards in a game? That’s pathetic.

But let’s be honest, it is waaayyyyy easier to go undefeated than to go 0-16. Every team has a few off weeks per year. The odds of them having 16 off weeks in a row? Not likely.

And I’m sure I know what you’re thinking right now; well if everyone has off weeks then the Packers are bound to have one and lose right? Not necessarily. It is entirely possible that they could have an off week at the exact same time as their opponent and still come away with a victory. Or their off week could just come against the Vikings and they would still win by 21 points.

The Packers are far more similar to the ’07 Patriots than the Vikings are to the ’08 Lions. Plus the Vikings have Adrian Peterson; the Lions had Kevin Smith and Rudi Johnson. The Lions also had a much tougher schedule than the Vikings do. Detroit only played four games out of 16 against opponents who finished the season under .500, and six of their games were against playoff qualifying teams. At most, the Vikings will play only three playoff teams.

I will throw you a bone however.

The ’07 Patriots were a far more balanced team than this year’s Packers. Through four games the Patriots ran the ball 141 times compared to 120 pass attempts. The Packers so far this year have run the ball 105 times and thrown 142 passes. The Patriots were also more consistent. It took until Week 9 for New England to score under 30 points. Green Bay scored (only) 27 in Week 3 against Chicago.
So maybe the Packers aren’t the dominating team that the ’07 Patriots were through four weeks, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Green Bay is by far the best looking team in the league. We can really only hope Aaron Rodgers throws the ball too many times and his arm falls off in Week 13 against the Giants. Otherwise, they aren’t going to lose.

AMANDA:

First off, I’d like to point out that even if Aaron Rodgers threw so many times that his arm falls off, I’m 99% sure he’s ambidextrous, and the result of loss of arm would be irrelevant to his statistics. (We ARE talking about Aaron Rodgers here.)

Either way, the odds of a team going 0-16 are much much more likely. And the 2011 Vikings have only proved my point. Like you mentioned earlier,

The Lions also had a much tougher schedule than the Vikings do. Detroit only played four games out of 16 against opponents who finished the season under .500, and six of their games were against playoff qualifying teams. At most, the Vikings will play only three playoff teams.

donovan-mcnabb-vikingsIf the Vikings only play crap teams that they should beat but actually choke to, how can they NOT be as bad or worse than the ’08 Lions?! I mean at least the Lions knew they were up against some of the toughest teams in the league and could use that as an excuse. What’s the Vikings’ excuse?! McNabb sucks?! You need a new coach (I believe you used that one last year)?! Maybe the Vikings should have foreseen this unfortunate season and fired more than Chilly last year.

I am a firm believer that when teams are closer in skill level, they play off of eachother’s success (a majority of the time, not all). However, the Vikings can’t even seem to play at the same level as the Kansas City Chiefs who, I think most would agree, do not have the talent that the Vikings possess. Obviously 0-16 is written all over this team’s season.Besides, the Packers have both the St. Louis Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs on their schedule. Not saying they can’t do it. But they look tough.

While we may disagree Drew, I think we can agree on these three items:

  1. We obviously should have started this conversation weeks ago to really analyze the situation to full detail.
  2. Mug night rocks!
  3. Jay Cutler Dominates.

DREW:

  1. Jay Cutler will always dominate.
  2. We all know the best ambidextrous quarterback ever was Warren Moon’s brother.
  3. Every night should be mug night.
  4. We’ll see where we are at on Monday.


About Drew Lange

Drew is a student at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. He is a life long Vikings fan and distracts himself from their futility by watching a lot of TV and listening to a lot of music, even though his parents don't understand the appeal. Follow on twitter (@drewlange) or send an email to d.lange9@gmail.com

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