Giants QB Eli Manning might miss first game; Favre rolls on Print
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Thursday, 13 September 2007 13:21
NFL Headline News

 EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -While the Green Bay Packers have been guessing whether quarterback Eli Manning will be playing against them this weekend, the New York Giants have never had a doubt about whom they will be facing.
It's been a given in Green Bay since the third game of the 1992 season. Play the Packers and you go against Brett Favre.
Favre will start his 239th straight game and play in his 241st consecutive overall on Sunday when the Packers (1-0) play the Giants (0-1) in what could be New York's first game without Manning as its starter since the middle of the 2004 season.
Manning, who bruised his right shoulder against Dallas in a 45-35 loss, hasn't practiced this week. His playing status is expected to be a game-time decision.
Jared Lorenzen, who grew up idolizing Favre, will make his first NFL start if Manning can't go.
If Manning doesn't play, it also will end the NFL's fourth-longest active streak for consecutive regular-season starts by a quarterback at 40. That's 199 less than Favre's current run, or more than 12 seasons worth of action.
``People say, 'What is the secret?''' Favre said of NFL's third-longest streak for consecutive starts. ``Well, there is no secret. I think there are several factors, luck being a big part of that, maybe the biggest factor. If you play long enough, you figure at some point something is going to keep you out of the game: flu, sprained ankle, broken bone, whatever.''
Fortunately for the Packers, Favre has avoided the major injury or he has had the mental toughness to play through injuries, including a broken thumb on his throwing hand, that might have sidelined others.
``I think probably the thing that impresses me the most throughout it is that I have played in every game, but I have played at a high enough level and have competed at a level week in and week out where I have never been questioned,'' Favre said. ``I know that I can look in the mirror every time that I have played and say I gave it my all. I played with passion - maybe didn't play great every time, but played with passion - and was competitive.''
With Manning having one of his best games as a pro, and the Giants offense was very competitive in the season opener. He threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns, including three to Plaxico Burress.
While he has had limited work, Manning said he would be ready to go if the doctors cleared him. If not, ``J-Load'' gets the call.
Lorenzen has little experience other than preseason. He had two quarterback sneaks in the 2006 season and threw three passes on the Giants' final series against Dallas.
``Jared will be fine,'' Manning said. ``He knows what he is doing. He has been here long enough. But we will see how it goes on Sunday.''
Green Bay defensive end Aaron Kampman said the Packers are preparing for the Giants' offense, not a particular quarterback.
``Everyone has a flavor, but you can't adjust an offense that much based off of one guy,'' Kampman said. ``That's a flavor. It's not an entire system or an entire schematic thing. It's more of a flavor of a guy.''
Lorenzen expects the Giants to establish their running back with Derrick Ward filling in for the injured Brandon Jacobs (knee) and to spread the ball out among Burress, Amani Toomer and tight end Jeremy Shockey.
Green Bay might be a little handicapped in the secondary with cornerback Al Harris playing with a hyperextended right elbow.
``I hope I get every pass,'' Harris said when asked if he might be a target for the Giants' quarterback.
Favre and the offense struggled in a 16-13 win over the Eagles last weekend. The offense was limited to 215 yards and 10 first downs. Green Bay got 10 points off Eagles' turnovers on punt returns.
Playing the Giants might wake up the Packers' offense. New York gave up a league-worst 478 yards in its loss to the Cowboys.
``We can't talk about wins, but we can guarantee a better defensive performance,'' Giants middle linebacker Antonio Pierce said. ``We can't do anything but get better than last week, hopefully.''
Favre should be familiar with the Giants' defense, which is run by former Eagles assistant Steve Spagnuolo. New York might be a little short-handed with defensive end Osi Umenyiora's status uncertain because of a knee injury sustained in the first quarter last week.
If the Packers win, it will give them their first 2-0 start since they opened the 2001 season with three straight victories. It would also allow Favre to surpass John Elway for all-time wins by a quarterback at 149.
``I think you know how I feel about being labeled with the wins and losses,'' Favre said. ``But if they're going to do it, I'm glad I have a lot more wins than losses. But yeah, that means a lot.''

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