The Sports Ramble is the weekly sports blog of Erik Ritland. The St. Paul, Minnesota journalist and musician is the founder of Rambling On. Learn more about us on Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, or our website.
Recapping a strange week in the NFC North.
Big Surprise: Vikings Win
Okay, so it's not a surprise to your average super fan, but the Vikings easy handling of the seemingly decent Oakland Raiders (and in Oakland) wasn't expected by slightly less partial fans and analysts. Then again, what the hell do we know? Nothing is predictable this year. The Panthers and Patriots, both seen as above average teams coming into 2015, are dominating. The Raiders, Rams, Vikings, and other teams are far outkicking their projected coverage. This year you might as well be a super fan. Outcomes have been irrational and many teams could make the playoffs - or fall off entirely.
That being said, the Raiders played like garbage on Sunday. The Vikings took advantage, which they haven't always done in the past, so they've obviously turned some sort of corner with Zimmer. They're on top of the NFC North and are catching the Packers as they're slumping. They'll definitely make the playoffs and they even, dare I say, have the talent to finish ahead of the Packers.
Bigger Surprise: Packers Lose
At this point most of us have seen the myriad of jokes about how before Sunday the Lions hadn't beaten the Packers in Lambeau since 1991. Justin Beiber wasn't born, the Fresh Prince was the #1 TV show, whatever. The only thing worse than a tired joke is one that wasn't any funny in the first place.
What can I say, sour grapes taste delicious.
Somehow on Sunday Aaron Rodgers looked ordinary. The entire team around him looked far worse. Their offensive line is below average, their wide receivers can't gain separation from defensive backs, their running game is non-existent, and their defense can barely stop anything. I can't help but think that their chances to beat the Vikings - who are better than they are at every position except quarterback - are pretty slim.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling Onfeatures commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He was also Lead Staff Writer for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him viaemail, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.