x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Favre facing fans' fury

Usually a homecoming is a reason for celebration but there will not be one in Green Bay today unless the fellow coming home leaves battered and beaten.

Quarterback Brett Favre's Minnesota Vikings (6-1) are looking to beat the Packers (4-2) for the second time this season, but, either way, the main talking point will be Favre who spent 16 years with the Packers.
Quarterback Brett Favre's Minnesota Vikings (6-1) are looking to beat the Packers (4-2) for the second time this season, but, either way, the main talking point will be Favre who spent 16 years with the Packers.

Usually a homecoming is a reason for celebration but there will not be one in Green Bay today unless the fellow coming home leaves battered and beaten. For 16 years, Brett Favre led the Packers from quarterback, twice taking them to the Super Bowl and being named the NFL's Most Valuable Player three times.

After a management-forced exit two years ago, he returns to Lambeau Field in the colours of the Packers' most hated rivals and is sure to face the fury of the fans. Favre's Minnesota Vikings (6-1) are looking to beat the Packers (4-2) for the second time this season, but no matter what happens the story will be Favre. Television broadcasters have installed an extra camera to isolate his every move. The Packers would love to do the same but Minnesota bring more to worry about than a 40-year-old QB.

With him comes the NFL's leading rusher Adrian Peterson (687 yards). Despite having the league's third best defence and the second rated passer in Aaron Rodgers, the Packers will need similar help because this is the kind of high-profile game Favre thrives on. The undefeated Denver Broncos (6-0) visit the Baltimore Ravens (3-3) in a game that will answer many questions about both. Even though their defence has allowed only 11 points a game and Kyle Orton is 27-12 as a starting quarterback in the NFL, many believe the Broncos are a mirage.

Baltimore have lost three games in a row and they cannot afford another mistake, and that kind of desperation, when coupled with a solid offence and aggressive defence, usually triumphs. The suddenly sputtering New York Giants (5-2) travel to face division rivals Philadelphia Eagles (4-2). The Giants have lost consecutive games since their quarterback Eli Manning injured a foot and that does not bode well against an Eagles team that have begun to make big plays on a regular basis.

The New York Jets (4-3) know what they want to do to the Miami Dolphins (2-4) and Miami want to do the same - run the ball. The one that succeeds survives because neither wants to see the game decided by their young quarterbacks, the Jets' rookie Mark Sanchez (six touchdowns, 10 interceptions) or Miami's Chad Henne (two interceptions returned for touchdowns last weekend). The Arizona Cardinals (4-2) could well decide the fate of the struggling Carolina Panthers (2-4) quarterback Jake Delhomme.

Delhomme has thrown 13 interceptions and only four touchdowns this season and returns to where his troubles began. A year ago the Cardinals intercepted him five times in the play-offs. Now he returns with the Cardinals on a three-game winning streak. The soap opera continues for the winless Tennessee Titans (0-6) after inserting Vince Young at quarterback after a year's absence to face the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) at the insistence of owner Bud Adams. He will replace Kerry Collins, who has been ineffective, as the starter. If this is Young's last chance it starts in a bad place.

Around the rest of the league, the hot Houston Texans (4-3) take on the Buffalo Bills (3-4), who have won their last two games but no one expects that to continue. The hopeless Cleveland Browns (1-6) are just what the struggling Chicago Bears (3-3) need after losing two in a row. The Seattle Seahawks (2-4) face Dallas (4-2) with the Cowboys having a chance to be in a three-way tie with the Giants and Eagles in the NFC East if they win.

In a battle of ineptitude the winless St Louis Rams (0-7) face the Detroit Lions (1-5). Indianapolis (6-0) face San Francisco (3-3) with the Colts QB Peyton Manning averaging 313.3 passing yards a game and their defence allowing only 12.8 points a game - not a good combination for the 49ers. The Oakland Raiders (2-5) play the San Diego Chargers (3-3) having decided to again start JaMarcus Russell at quarterback despite his eight interceptions, five fumbles and only two TD passes.

On Monday the New Orleans Saints (6-0) face their NFC South rivals the Atlanta Falcons (4-2). rborges@thenational.ae