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Brandon Veale column: We regret the errors

So I said in September that the Packers would go 13-4 and the Vikings would go 7-10. Oops.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Amari Rodgers (8) looks for a pass interference call after he had a pass broken up by Detroit Lions safety C.J. Moore (38) (not pictured) late in the fourth quarter at Ford Field in Detroit on Sunday.
Lon Horwedel / USA Today Sports
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In 1939, the New York Times passed judgement on a new broadcast medium, saying, "The problem with television is that the people must sit and keep their eyes glued on a screen; the average American family hasn’t time for it."

Seeing as the words I'm typing are appearing on one of five different screens in this room, I'm going to go out on a limb and say things didn't turn out as planned for television.

Brandon Veale.jpg
Brandon Veale

Because it is not enough for you, the reader, to know the present, we are often asked to anticipate the future. So, newspaper people have been making predictions since the dawn of time. Some of them have been right on the nose.

“I came in with Halley’s comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it," Mark Twain said to his biographer in 1909. "It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t. The Almighty said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.'”

Halley's Comet came back on April 20, 1920. Twain died on April 21.

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Turns out I am no Mark Twain.

I am shocked to report that none of you have reminded me that I predicted on Sept. 5 that the Packers would go 13-4 and win the NFC North at a trot, while the Vikings would struggle under new coach Kevin O'Connell and finish 7-10.

This does not appear to be the case. The Packers are 3-6 after losing to the Lions in Detroit on Sunday, while the Vikings would have to lose their nine remaining games in succession to go 7-10. It's the Vikings, so it could happen, if not for the fact that they have to play the Packers again.

I'll start with the topic the majority of the readers want to hear about first: The Packers' demise.

In my defense, there was a lot of right in my wrongness. The Packers wide receiving corps has been "perfectly anonymous," in large part. Romeo Doubs, Randall Cobb, Christian Watson and the remnants of Sammy Watkins have, or in the case of Doubs will, miss significant time due to injuries. The Packers tried to expand the playbook by throwing a tackle-eligible pass on fourth down to David Bakhtiari. It got intercepted, one of several red-zone disasters that made me oddly thankful that Sunday's proceedings from Ford Field were not available on local broadcast television.

I suggested Green Bay may need to rely on defense at times, and they are sixth in the NFL in yards allowed per game, mostly because the offense's inability to score points or sustain anything has invited the opposition to grind them into tiny bits, as reflected by their No. 26 ranking against the run.

Because I am a Packers fan, I will support my argument, as we do, by citing the Packers' legendary history. This reminds me of the 2005 campaign, which just happened to come off a run of three consecutive division crowns, featured a 1-7 start, injuries to nearly every major contributor except Brett Favre and featured the brief legend of Samkon Gado, fifth-string running back and future otolaryngologist. I guess I'll need to spend time later this month being thankful for a chance to break up the string of painful playoff exits.

Even with a new coach, the Vikings have a way to go.

Meanwhile, I suggested that the Vikings' "offense will need some time to bed in and the defense is still a significant problem."

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The thing is, I haven't been totally wrong. Minnesota is actually averaging fewer yards per game than the Packers right now and is only ninth in points per game.

It remains to be seen if Minnesota can keep up a string of winning six consecutive one-possession games starting next weekend against a very good Buffalo team, but it doesn't really matter, since a home playoff game and the NFC North championship are basically in the bag before the end of the state's firearms deer season.

While we're at it, I might as well mention that "I'm surprisingly high on the Detroit Lions," and "many 8-9 teams have been built on less" is not working out either, but that's my own fault for not listening to DNT executive editor Rick Lubbers and literally every Lions fan ever.

At least the Bears still act predictably.

If MLB doesn't have to start on time, I don't either.

Earlier this year, I predicted that the New York Yankees would finish fourth in the American League East and the Los Angeles Dodgers would be the World Series champions, so if I am on a "reverse heater" of sorts, right now, let me conclude by attempting to manifest a few other predictions.

After Ohio State beats Michigan later this month and I get over being one off picking the winning Powerball numbers, my Corvette will break down when I drive to the Vikings' Super Bowl parade on a 78-degree day in February.

There, that should do it.

Brandon Veale is the sports editor of the News Tribune. He can be reached at bveale@duluthnews.com.

Brandon has been sports editor of the News Tribune since August 2021.
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