NFL Preview: Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers Print
Sunday, 07 October 2007 11:00
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Prime Time Black & Blue

Quarterbacks like the Green Bay Packers' Brett Favre are hard to come by - just ask the Chicago Bears.

Fresh off a record-setting performance, Favre will try to keep his team undefeated Sunday when the Packers host a Bears team desperate for an answer at quarterback.

Favre moved past Dan Marino to become the NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes in last week's 23-16 win over Minnesota, connecting on No. 421 to Greg Jennings in the first quarter. Favre, who also threw his 422nd TD pass to James Jones in the fourth, was pleased with the record, but said he was more excited about leading his team to its first 4-0 start since 1998.

The Packers, along with Dallas, remained one of two undefeated NFC teams. Green Bay has won eight straight, the second-longest winning streak in the NFL behind Indianapolis, which has won nine in a row.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Green Bay -3 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 40.5 total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 84% of bets for this game have been placed on Green Bay -3 (View NFL Football bet percentages).

"I'm so glad we won the game. There was so much emphasis on this record and not the game itself," said Favre, who went 32-for-45 for 344 yards. "Everyone's like, 'What are you going to do? Are you going to have a big celebration?' Put yourself in my shoes. I want to help this team win. I do not want us to get blindsided by this record and what we're actually here for."

Still, it's hard to overlook Favre's individual accomplishments. Two weeks earlier, he broke John Elway's mark for victories when he led the Packers to a 35-13 win over the New York Giants.

The soon-to-be 38-year-old Favre also holds the marks for career completions and consecutive starts by a QB, a streak that hit 241 on Sunday and moved him past former Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff into second place on the list for all players.

Late in the second quarter against the Vikings, Favre broke another record he shared with Marino by throwing his 8,359th pass. He's also within 2,656 passing yards of tying Marino's mark of 61,361.

Favre, who has thrown 119 passes without an interception, remained three picks away from topping George Blanda for first place all-time.

"He cares about the record, but it's not the most important thing," defensive end Aaron Kampman said. "He cares about winning. That's when you know you have a special teammate."

Favre is the focus of Green Bay's offense, which throws 68 percent of the time and ranks last in the league with 54.3 rushing yards per game. None of the Packers' top four running backs - Vernand Morency, Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson and DeShawn Wynn - have rushed for 100 yards total.

"Our quarterback is making excellent decisions, spreading the ball around to 10 different receivers (against the Vikings)," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We're doing a lot of positive things in the passing game."

That's a claim the Bears can only dream of making.

Fed up with Rex Grossman, who threw six interceptions and one touchdown pass in the first three games, Chicago switched to veteran Brian Griese for last weekend's game against Detroit. Griese, however, didn't provide much of an upgrade - he was 34-of-52 for 286 yards and two touchdowns, but threw three interceptions, one of which was returned for a score.

"Kind of a broken record," coach Lovie Smith said.

The Bears led 13-3 after three quarters, but allowed the Lions to score a league-record 34 points in the fourth. Banged-up Chicago was without Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs (hamstring) and the entire secondary that started the season opener.

Despite the ugly outcome, Smith said Monday he's sticking with Griese.

"It's about how we're going to respond," Griese said. "We've got a big test coming up next week. For me personally, I wouldn't want to have it any other way for us to get things back on track."

The Bears also continued to have problems running the ball, as Cedric Benson managed only 50 yards on 15 carries. As a result, Chicago's 52 pass attempts tied for third most in team history.

The Bears rank an uncharacteristic 27th in the league with 82.8 rushing yards per game.

"When I say we're a running team, (that) we get off the bus running, we need to run the ball more," Smith told the Bears' official Web site. "We got away from it a little bit, and now when you're 1-3, the first thing you do is look to get back to what you believe in."

To get his team going, Smith said he is going to try to get dynamic playmakers Devin Hester and Greg Olsen more involved in the offense. In just his second season, Hester scored his seventh career touchdown on a kick or punt return Sunday, running a kickoff back 97 yards in the fourth quarter.

"I know I've said that before," Smith told the Bears' site. "But it's becoming more and more obvious that we can't just talk about it, we have to do it. I'll just say that you'll see Devin Hester more on the offensive side of the ball."

Chicago, the defending NFC champion, is off to a disappointing start, but is taking solace in the fact that the 2005 team went 11-5 and made the playoffs despite opening 1-3.

"Our season is not over," linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "But we have to get better. We stink right now."

The Bears have won four of the last six meetings between the teams, including three straight at Lambeau Field.

By: Staci Richards - theSpread.com - Email Us

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