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For Packers, Win More Important Than Favre Subplot

Posted Oct 19, 2010

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - For many Green Bay Packers fans, Sunday night's game against Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings will be yet another chance for revenge.

For most everyone else watching, the game will be a much-hyped - Favreageddon 3! - case study of a star quarterback performing in the glare of scandal and national television.

The game isn't nearly as emotional or personal for Packers players, who probably are more annoyed by questions about Favre than by Favre himself. Off to a shaky 3-3 start, they have bigger issues to worry about.

Still, linebacker Desmond Bishop admits he sick of watching Favre celebrate at the Packers' expense.

``I think that's the main thing that serves as a spark,'' Bishop said. ``Not so much that it's Favre, but that he came and beat us in our house and he beat us there. We're definitely looking for some get-back.''

Favre led the Vikings to two victories over the rival Packers last season, and looked good doing it. He showed off the precise, powerful arm and big-play mentality that thrilled Lambeau Field fans for years, without a hint of the trademark recklessness that drove them bonkers.

He saved that for the NFC Championship game, when he threw an interception against New Orleans that likely cost Minnesota a trip to the Super Bowl - eliciting plenty of schaden-Favre across the state of Wisconsin.

But for all his success as a Viking last season, Favre hasn't looked like the same player this year. Teammates had to beg him to play, he just turned 41 and his throwing elbow is bothering him as opposing defenses make punishing the passer a top priority.

The book on defending Favre since the playoff loss to the Saints? If you can beat him up, you can beat him.

His image also is taking a pounding. He's under scrutiny for allegations that he sent lewd photos and suggestive messages to a female employee of the New York Jets in 2008. The woman, Jenn Sterger, has not commented on the allegations, which were posted on the Deadspin.com website.

Favre was expected to meet with an NFL official Tuesday regarding the matter.

If Favre can avoid the Green Bay pass rush as well as he has dodged questions about the scandal so far, the Vikings just might beat the Packers again.

``I'm a little bit reluctant to say I'm excited to go back to Green Bay,'' Favre said after the Vikings' victory over Dallas on Sunday. ``It's a challenge that hopefully we'll live up to, and I'll let that other stuff take care of itself.''

Several Packers players weren't even on the roster when Favre and the team went through a messy divorce before the 2008 season. And aside from veterans such as Donald Driver, younger Packers players who were around before 2008 weren't necessarily close with Favre, who had his own private dressing room away from the locker room.

So players will try to approach Sunday as just another game, even though it didn't turn out that way last year.

``Even though we came in as players and treated it as a regular week, it still had something in the atmosphere,'' Packers cornerback Tramon Williams said. ``It's something that you can't explain but you know it's there. You know it's something big.''

But maybe not as big this time.

``It's been done already,'' Williams said. ``It's still going to be big but I don't know if it's going to be like last year.''

Besides, the Packers have issues of their own to work out.

After coming into the season with Super Bowl expectations, Green Bay has been hit hard by injuries and is coming off back-to-back overtime losses. A banged-up defense is managing to keep the Packers in games, but the offense is stuck in a surprising funk.

``No disrespect to those guys, obviously they've had their own struggles, but we're having ours,'' wide receiver Greg Jennings said, referring to the Vikings. ``We're not concerned about them. We have to focus on us and get us better. If we can fix in-house problems, then really whoever lines up against us it really doesn't matter.''

Minnesota is in worse shape after a 2-3 start. But with Chicago leading the NFC North at 4-2 despite significant flaws, the Vikings and Packers feel the division still is up for grabs.

Packers defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins said it is too early to start talking about must-win games.

``It's definitely not make or break, but it's really important,'' he said. ``It's something that we want and we need.''

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