NFC North mid-week programming note

As you might have guessed, I'm border-hopping this evening to ensure I'm in place at Lambeau Field long before Thursday night's regular-season opener between the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers.

It won't mark the end of my Week 1 travels, but I'll keep you guessing on that one until Friday. My only hint: I'll be at an outdoor game Sunday afternoon. You won't get anything more out of me than that.

My plan is to blog all day Thursday and then give you a feel for the pregame scene before jumping into our NFL Countdown Live chat. It should be a festive day, start to finish.

In the meantime, feel free to review this handy string of our Kickoff'11 posts on this game. Also, if you haven't already, check out Elizabeth Merrill's enterprise piece on what is known in Green Bay as the "D-word."

Opinions vary about what makes a true NFL dynasty. The Steelers teams of the 1970s won four titles in six years, but that was before salary caps and free agency took away team continuity. The Packers of the '60s (five titles), the San Francisco 49ers of the '80s (four), and the Dallas Cowboys of the '90s (three) also come to mind.

But former NFL coach Dick Vermeil, who took two different teams to the Super Bowl, said a dynasty doesn't have to be a franchise that cranks out championships; rather, one that is consistently in the playoffs. Vermeil, by the way, does not exactly live in Thompson's carefully worded world.

Vermeil said with the Packers coaching staff and most personnel intact, the franchise is poised, right now, to at least be part of the dynasty discussion.

"I think Green Bay is going to have to screw it up not to go back [to the Super Bowl]," Vermeil said. "It's what they're capable of. That's all right if it's pressure. That's what you get paid to do."

Barring major news, I'll be back with you Thursday morning.