By Doug Halberstadt
During this time of year in Wisconsin, opening day of deer hunting season is usually the biggest red-letter and most anticipated day on most sports fans’ calendars. This coming Sunday (Nov. 1) may be even bigger. It marks the return of Brett Favre to Lambeau Field. Favre will lead the Minnesota Vikings into Green Bay for his first return game as the quarterback for a team other than the Packers.
Favre and the Vikings beat the Packers in Minnesota back on Monday night, Oct. 5. Now, less than a full month later, it is time for the long-awaited Favre “homecoming.” The once-beloved No. 4 will now look like a trophy buck in the sights of the Packers’ defense. I’m still picking the Vikings to win this game.
In the other NFC North games, I’m taking the Bears to beat the Cleveland Browns at Soldier Field, and I like the Detroit Lions to win at home against the St. Louis Rams.
Houston should come away with a road win as they travel to New York to take on the Buffalo Bills. Seattle has to go on the road to face the Cowboys in Dallas. I look for Dallas to make it two in a row in their new stadium.
The Indianapolis Colts will look to remain one of three unbeaten teams in the NFL when they host the San Francisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Peyton Manning is playing some of the best football of his professional career, and, in spite of the improved play of San Francisco, he should lead his team to another victory.
As a result of their tough loss last week to the New Orleans Saints, Miami will be traveling to New York with a large chip on their shoulder. I look for them to bounce back with a win over the Jets.
Denver is one of the other teams that will be looking to stay undefeated. This week, they’ll have to face Ray Lewis and the staunch defense of the Baltimore Ravens. I think this is where Kyle Orton’s dream season turns into the nightmare on Ravens Street. I’m taking the Ravens at home in the mild upset.
San Diego should have no problem at home against Oakland. I’m predicting Jeff Fisher and the Tennessee Titans will pick up their first win of the year when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Philadelphia is at home against the N.Y. G-men. I’m taking Philly to hand Eli Manning and his teammates their second loss in a row. Arizona returns to the desert to host Carolina. Kurt Warner and the rest of the Cardinals are coming off a huge road win over the Giants and should have the momentum to carry them through with a home win over the Panthers.
In the Monday night game, the final undefeated team, the New Orleans Saints, host the Atlanta Falcons. There is no way Drew Brees and the Saints will lose to the dirty birds in a nationally-televised game in front of their home fans. If my predictions are correct, only the Saints and the Colts will remain undefeated after this week’s games.
Last week, I finished 9-4 if Philadelphia won the Monday night game against Washington. If the Redskins pulled the upset, I dropped to 8-5. My season record will either be 72-31 or 71-32. It all rests on the wings of the Eagles.
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the October 28 – November 3, 2009