|NFL Football Week 14: Raiders at Packers Preview, Matchup, Picks & Odds|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Wednesday, 05 December 2007 15:56|
Try to Stop Him
Brett Favre's NFL-record streak of consecutive starts doesn't appear to be in jeopardy after all.
Oddsmakers from Bodog have made Green Bay –10.5 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday's game, the over/under has been set at 42 total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 54% of bets for this game have been placed on Green Bay –10.5 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
Favre bruised his right elbow and aggravated a left shoulder separation he first injured 15 years ago when he was sacked in the second quarter of Green Bay's 37-27 loss at Dallas on Nov. 29. He left the game and didn't return, but feels well enough to start Sunday and extend the streak that began in 1992.
I expect to play," said Favre, who was 5-for-14 for 56 yards with two interceptions and a career-low 8.9 passer rating versus the Cowboys. "There's been times where I was injured where it was more of a question if I would play than in this particular case."
Favre suffered an injury to the same elbow last season, and said he doesn't think his recent injury is as severe as that one.
``It's about where I thought it would be, I guess. Still sore, but I was encouraged today even though I didn't do a great deal,'' Favre, who needs 450 yards to surpass Dan Marino's mark of 61,361 and become the league's all-time passing leader, said Wednesday.
The Packers (10-2) had their six-game winning streak snapped last week, and the three-time MVP appears all but certain to try and help Green Bay secure its first playoff berth since 2004 on Sunday.
The Packers can clinch their first NFC North title in three seasons with a win Sunday or a Detroit loss or tie against Dallas. Green Bay can also clinch a playoff berth with an Arizona loss or tie versus Seattle.
The Packers can secure a first-round bye with wins in three of their final four contests.
During his 16-year run in Green Bay, Favre has failed to finish just seven games because of injury since his streak began, and he started every game that followed those.
"He's a gamer. He's got the streak alive,'' said backup Aaron Rodgers, who was 18-for-26 for 201 yards with a touchdown in replacing Favre against Dallas. "So, you just get used to not taking any reps in practice and still preparing to play but knowing you're probably not going to get in.''
Rodgers may not be taking reps in practice this week for another reason. Favre's expected availability became even more important Wednesday, when coach Mike McCarthy announced that Rodgers hurt his hamstring Tuesday and could be out a week or two.
The Packers had only two quarterbacks last week, but signed Craig Nall, a former Favre backup who left the Packers as a free agent after the 2005 season, over the weekend to provide depth. Nall is cramming to learn McCarthy's offense and took the majority of snaps in practice Wednesday.
Favre has thrown for 3,412 yards with 22 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season. He had thrown 13 TDs and two interceptions in his previous five contests prior to facing the Cowboys.
He'll also look to improve to 4-0 versus the Raiders in the teams' first meeting since Dec. 22, 2003, the day after his father died of a heart attack. Favre threw for 399 yards and four scores in an emotional 41-7 win at Oakland.
Favre might not have to work too hard Sunday if running back Ryan Grant continues to run well.
Grant rushed for 94 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries versus Dallas. He's scored three TDs in his last two contests and is averaging 100.5 rushing yards in his last four games, giving the Packers the effective ground game that eluded them for a good portion of the season.
The Packers defense hopes to rebound after allowing season highs in points and total yards (414) against Dallas.
Green Bay could have cornerback Charles Woodson in the lineup for his first game against Oakland, where he spent his first eight NFL seasons before joining the Packers in 2006. Woodson missed last week's game with a toe injury.
"We're going to make the right decision, but I would think he'd want to play this week," Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy said.
While Favre appears set to start, Oakland coach Lane Kiffin has not decided how he will split his team's quarterback duties Sunday. The Raiders are trying to win three in a row for the first time since winning five straight from Nov. 11-Dec. 8, 2002.
In Oakland's 34-20 win over Denver last Sunday, starter Josh McCown threw for 141 yards and three touchdowns, but sat for a time as No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell made his long-anticipated debut.
Russell entered early in the second quarter and was in on 16 plays, finishing 4-for-7 for 56 yards.
Both players are likely to see time Sunday.
"I want (Russell) to have a great career, and if that starts (Sunday), so be it,'' said McCown, who's 2-4 as a starter this season. "Because he's the guy. He's the future here. For me, it does me no good to be bitter, and it does this team no good."
Another solid effort from running back Justin Fargas would help take the pressure off either quarterback. Fargas ran for 146 yards and a touchdown versus Denver to top the 100-yard mark for the second straight week. He's rushed for 863 yards this season and is averaging 106.0 in his last five contests since becoming a starter.
The Raiders have lost their last four meetings with Green Bay since a 20-0 road win Sept. 13, 1987.
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