Sidney Rice to make his 2010 debut on Sunday?

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 20: Sidney Rice #18 of the Minnesota Vikings against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on December 20, 2009 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

The Vikings apparently have their answer.

Just hours after numbnut Brad Childress reveled that the Vikings threatened receiver Sidney Rice with injured reserve if he didn’t play this week, NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reports that Rice is “almost certain” to lace ‘em up against the Packers on Sunday.

Rice had been stalling about whether or not he would play because he becomes a free agent at the end of the year and doesn’t want to risk further injury. He’s missed the past 10 weeks after undergoing hip surgery in the offseason and if he winds up suffering another injury, it could wind up costing him millions on the open market next year.

But the Vikings need him to play now, which is where the aforementioned threat came in. They’ve been saving a spot on their 53-man roster and they’ve grown impatient wondering whether or not he’ll play. The ball has been in Rice’s court for the past two weeks and per reports, he’s looked healthy in practice.

What this means for the Vikings is simple: Brett Favre now has his deep threat back. But that doesn’t mean Rice will be effective right out of the gates. Don’t forget that he hasn’t played since Minnesota lost to New Orleans in the NFC Championship Game last year. He’s been able to practice, but obviously that’s not the same as playing in a real game. The defenders that he’ll be seeing on Sunday already have nine games under their belts and he still has to get up to game speed. It’s great for the Vikings that he’ll play, but it’s a little unrealistic to think that he’ll be the player he was last year when he hasn’t seen game action in nearly 10 months.

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T.G.I. Friday’s NFL Weekend Preview – Week 11

“This series is brought to you by T.G.I. Friday’s, where every Sunday means Food, Fun & Football! Hut, hut, hut!”

The Scores Report has teamed up with T.G.I Friday’s to promote the action in Week 11 of the NFL. Here’s a look at Sunday’s top games.

The Top-5 Games of Week 11:

1. Giants (6-3) @ Eagles (6-3), 8:20PM ET
It’s time to find out whether or not Michael Vick is for real or if his video game-like stats are the by-product of the defenses he’s faced. Of the four teams that he’s started and finished against (the Lions, Jaguars, Colts and Redskins), none of the four has a defense ranked in the top 15. That doesn’t mean Vick hasn’t been as good as advertised (on the contrary – he’s been phenomenal), but he’ll get his first true test this Sunday against an angry, aggressive Giants’ defense that was embarrassed by the Cowboys on their home turf last Sunday. This has all the makings of a true NFC East showdown and with it being shown on primetime, one that shouldn’t disappoint.

2. Colts (6-3) @ Patriots (7-2), 4:15PM ET
One of the best rivalries of the past decade gets renewed this Sunday in Foxboro. The Colts are incredibly banged up and are coming off a rare victory in which Peyton Manning didn’t throw a single touchdown pass. The Patriots, on the other hand, blew out the Steelers in Pittsburgh and are looking to make a statement that they’re the team to beat now in the AFC. Last year, the Patriots led by 13 with 2:30 remaining but the Colts came back to win 35-34 amidst Bill Belichick’s decision to go for it on 4th and 2 from his own 28-yard line. The call backfired and for roughly 97 days following that play, the media discussed whether or not it was a good decision. How will this year’s chapter of Manning vs. Brady end?

3. Packers (6-3) @ Vikings (3-6), 1:00PM ET
This game has lost some luster this season thanks to the Vikings’ poor play, which includes Brett Favre’s penchant for turnovers. The only thing interesting about Minnesota these days is watching the circus act that is Brad Childress and his decision-making. That said, this could be Brett’s last chance to stick it to his former team and you know Lord Favre will make the most of the opportunity. With the Bears’ win over the Dolphins’ practice squad on Thursday night, the Packers need a win in order to keep pace with Chicago in the NFC North. Battling an assortment of injuries, Green Bay has managed to win three in a row and is fresh coming off its bye. Can the Pack get one more and hand their former quarterback another loss? Or will it be Favre’s last moment to shine?

4. Raiders (5-4) @ Steelers (6-3), 1:00PM ET
Who would have thought that this would be a top-5 game of any week, nevertheless Week 11? Even though they’re tied for first in the AFC West, the Raiders still have a lot to prove. For starters, only one of their five wins this year came on the road and only two of their wins (Chiefs and Seahawks) came against winning teams. That said, they’re finding ways to win and in the NFL, that’s the only thing that matters. They’re also 3-0 against the AFC West this year, which includes wins over the Chargers and Chiefs – two teams they’ll be competing with down the stretch. For the Steelers, they were soundly beaten by the Patriots last week and now have to play a team that has given them all kinds of trouble over the years. Oakland marched into Pittsburgh last year and beat the Steelers, so you know the Raiders won’t have any fears playing at Heinz Field. This game will be interesting to watch unfold. Even if the Raiders lose, as long as they can hang with the Steelers they’ll have confidence heading down the stretch.

5. Seahawks (5-4) @ Saints (6-3), 4:05PM ET
There were a couple of games that could have been used for this spot, most notably the Falcons-Rams contest in St. Louis. But this is a matchup between a) two teams with winning records and b) two teams that are still in a state of flux. The Saints are getting healthy again, which should make NFC teams queasy, while the Seahawks own sole possession of the NFC West but nobody quite knows what to make of Pete Carroll’s squad yet. This game may not tell us a whole lot because New Orleans could roll. But if Seattle hangs tough or – gasp! – actually beats the Saints, then the NFC playoff picture will get more muddled than it already is.

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Favre brilliant for Vikings in win over Packers

Through all the offseason hoopla, the fickleness and the nauseating coverage of his every move, Brett Favre reminded people on Monday night why he’s a legend.

Favre completed 24 of 31 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns in the Vikings’ 30-23 win over the Packers in game that lived up to the hype. On a night where Green Bay did an excellent job containing Adrian Peterson (25 carries, 55 yards, 1 TD), Favre stepped up and delivered one of those games where you couldn’t help but shake your head in amazement about a guy his age making the plays he does.

One of the biggest questions coming into this season was whether or not Favre could step up and make enough plays in the passing game when an opponent shut down Peterson. Tonight, Brett answered that question.

Every time Minnesota faced a third and long, Favre stepped up and made a play. Granted, he faced zero pressure from Green Bay, but that shouldn’t take away from some of the bullets that he was firing into his receivers’ hands. The guy is about to turn 40 in five days and he’s still playing like he’s 25.

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How many sacks for Jared Allen tonight?

I’m setting the over/under on the number of sacks Vikings’ defensive end Jared Allen will have on Aaron Rodgers tonight at 2.5.

Any takers?

Allen is due for a monster night as Green Bay left tackle Chad Clifton is expected to miss his second game tonight following an ankle injury he suffered in a Week 2 loss to the Bengals.

The Packers’ offensive line has resembled a revolving door this season, allowing 12 sacks in the first three games. In their loss to Cincinnati, Green Bay made defensive end Antwan Odom look like a cross between Reggie White and Kevin Greene as he brought down Rodgers five times.

Rodgers is a fine quarterback, but his offensive line is going to get him killed if they don’t start protecting him. Considering Ryan Grant won’t find much running room against the Williams Wall tonight, it would be in Green Bay’s best interest to max-protect Rodgers the entire night. The Giants use a similar method on a weekly basis with Eli Manning and he seems to do just fine.

The Packers need to help Daryn Colledge out, because he’ll see the brunt of the work against Allen. Lining up a tight end to Allen’s side would make sense, although Green Bay might also need to set up a military-based obstacle course in between him and Rodgers just to be safe.

I’m taking the over tonight. I think Allen will eventually take this game over, especially if the Packers can’t get Grant going early. It could be a very long night for Rodgers.

Favre’s wet dream is mere hours away

The moment Brett Favre has been waiting for since Ted Thompson crapped in his cereal over 12 months ago is vastly approaching.

The Vikings host the Packers tonight at the Metrodome and Brett will no doubt be fired up to try to stick it to Thompson, as he so amply put it when the GM traded him to the Jets last year. (The fact that Favre put Thompson in a bad position with his fickle changing of the mind is still lost on Brett, but that’s a story for another time.)

The question becomes, will Brett beat Thompson’s Packers tonight?

Like most weeks, the Vikings will try to establish the run with Adrian Peterson in hopes of opening things up in the passing game. The Packers have a solid secondary, so Brad Childress would be foolish to take the ball out of Peterson’s hands early in the game and start forcing the action with Favre in the passing game. It would behoove Childress not to get wrapped up in the Favre-vs-Green Bay death match and just keep things simple with AP.

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