A National Treasure

I've been watching the new Ken Burn's documentary on the National Parks system lately. Stunning work, right up there with his finest epic, The Civil War. I'd surely recommend it as Must-See Rabbit Ear Television. Although I really enjoy the history and the personal stories and the profiles of those who have helped protect these amazing, wild American places, my favorite part of the program is the cinematography. As I said, it is simply stunning.

We here in the Midwest don't have a National Park nearby, although I'm sure you'll agree our National Forests are truly some-a-thing to behold. And the Apostles are pretty splendid as well, in all their National Sea-Shore-ish Glory.

Even if we don't have a Yellowstone or a Denali or the Yosemite Valley full of granite and giant red-trees pointing to the moon-orb, we do have National Treasures, and one of them happens to be the event lined up for Monday evening as autumn reaches down to fully embrace the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota.

This particular matchup between the Packers and the Vikings promises grandeur and wonder and awe, and if you have a buddy (or a cousin) with cable television programming, your admission to the spectacle is free. Who could ask for anything more?

Regardless of what you may think of Old Whats-His-Name, this game is going to be some-thing special. It will probably set viewing records across the Unites States and beyond. Folks, this is a National Treasure that transcends space, and perhaps, time.

One one side of the Mississippi we have the old Sequoia, Number 4, who just keeps on growing taller and taller no matter how many lightening bolts strike his canopy, no matter how many droughts strangle his roots. And on the Wisconsin side, we have the White Pine coming into his prime, stuck beneath the shade but growing strongly week by week.

But enough with the glossy, googly-eyed anticipation! This is, after-all, a football game, and once the kick-off has been kicked, it will be up to the players to decide.

The odds-makers say the Vikings are the favorites, as they should be. The defending division champions, playing at home, early in the season with an old rascal at the reigns, most every nod goes their way. I have to say I'm not terribly optimistic about this game for the Packers. I just don't think our offensive line will allow it to go in our favor. They are not good. Or at least they have not been good, yet. Simple as that.

Then again, motivation does strange things to the human-folk. I drove my pick-it-up truck down to the drive-in for a burger and cheese today, and the young lady who brought me my order saw my Packers shirt and yelled out like a wild bird: "Ohhh, we're gonna crush 'em on Monday!!!" Then she threw my burger through my window and flew away before I could respond with a "Huzzah" or a "Ha-Cha-Cha!" Seems everyone is excited about this game, and if a young lady at the burger-shed is screaming at any-one she sees wearing Packers apparel, maybe there is hope for Allen Barbre.

I don't want to ignore what happened last week, or seem aloof to the talents of Old Whats-His-Name, but I really think the key will be stopping the run and then sending in the crazy blitzes on passing downs. There is a lot of folks out there that think Dom Capers has been savings some of his more sinister and sassy blitzes for this game, and I happen to agree with them. I think we'll see far more complexity in our pass rush, and by golly, I think we'll get to the old man and rough him up a bit. You never want to wish injury on some-one, but I really want one of these young bucks on the defense to remind the old man what a real hard hit feels like. I want them to remind him that it's a long, long season. I want them to water the seed of doubt we all know resides in the drafty room upstairs.

Even if we rattle the Vikings offense on their home turf, and I think we will, I still don't know how we're going to put up enough points to win. The good news is that we started getting that timing back at the end of the Ram-Horn game, and who knows, maybe the offensive line will pick themselves up and start walloping! These are all world-class athletes out there, and the difference between success and looking stupid is a finer line than you'd think. I was bowling awful on Thursday and suddenly it just snapped into place and the pocket opened up. Hopefully McCarthy can get them bang-tails to open their eyes and create a decent pocket for Ronnie Rodgers. He may not be the tallest tree in the forest, he may not have all the rings, but if given enough time he can win this game for us.

Well, I can never pick against the Pack so I'll pick this one as close as possible. If things go right and we limit mistakes, the Green and Gold could very well leap to the front of the tough NFC North by the time the curtain closes on this National Treasure.

Mark it: Packers 21, Vikings 20.

Have a great weekend, dear readers,