When it comes to Brett Favre, there is no middle ground. True cheeseheads would line up to hand over their first born to keep him under center for their beloved Green Bay Packers, while haters have been calling for No. 4’s head for years.
Personally, I wouldn’t even slow down if I came across Favre’s pickup with the hood up on the side of the highway. I wrote him off more times than I can count before adopting the old “if you can’t say anything nice…” policy a while ago. More than anything, I just got tired of the hate mail.
With Favre, the same things that have made him so successful are also his tragic flaws. He has always driven his coaches crazy, throwing deep balls into triple coverage instead of checking down to his safety-valve receiver, scrambling around the pocket like a bowlegged moose on an adrenaline rush. Sometimes he’s lucky he doesn’t get pulled off the field kicking and screaming, sometimes he pulls it off.
That’s my NFL arch nemesis and he’s not changing for anybody. Just ask the guy.
But as much as that stubborn, good ol’ boy mindset has had me begging for the backup over the past few seasons, now Brett has me backing off.
This Sunday in Minnesota, the 37-year-old will probably break Dan Marino’s record of 420 career touchdown passes. Then he’ll climb up behind a table full of microphones to thank everyone outside of the Dali Lama, give his aw-shucks grin and say that he’s just happy his Packers are at the top of division.
We get used to this kind of thing from Favre and maybe that’s why we were (or at least I was) quick to try to push him to the side over the past couple of years. You get tired of the same mistakes, the same shtick every week.
He’s the same guy he was 17 years ago; he has his three-pick days and his three-touchdown days. When he has talent to work with, like this year, he can shred the best defenses in the league, but when the gunslinger tries to win a game by himself he usually ends up with a bullet in his foot.
Maybe there’s even something admirable in that, but it’s the state of the quarterback position itself in this league that has me raising the white flag over the beef I had with Brett.
There’s a chance that as many as a half-dozen teams could start a different quarterback this week than they did last week. Meanwhile, all Brett Favre is going to do is add on to his record streak of 240 consecutive starts for the Green Bay Packers while taking a crack at the all-time passing touchdown record. Just another day at the office.
Even a hater like me has to tip his hat to that.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Arizona Cardinals – Cardinals +6
As bad as Matt Leinart was last week (9-of-20, 53 yards) against Baltimore, the Cardinals were a few terrible calls away from beating the Ravens outright.
Ken Whisenhunt’s a smart guy. After he brought veteran quarterback Kurt Warner in to clean up Leinart’s mess, he told reporters they’d better get used to that kind of thing. He’ll keep starting Leinart, but won’t hesitate to yank him if he looks like he’s in over his head. Maybe Whisenhunt’s learned a thing or two from what Lovie Smith went though with Rex Grossman in Chicago.
I like this Cardinals club no matter who’s taking the snaps. Arizona has covered three straight pointspreads and won’t be off the wagering radar for much longer.
Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins – Raiders +4 ½
When Daunte Culpepper signed with the Raiders after Miami kicked him out of Dolphin Stadium, you know he made a beeline to the team schedule and put a fat, red circle around Sunday Sept. 30.
With Josh McCown nursing with a broken toe, Culpepper will likely get his first start and he probably won’t even have to deal with Zach Thomas chasing him around all day. Plus, after sharing the same locker room with these guys, Culpepper knows what to expect from this defense.
Mix inside information with a healthy pile of revenge and you’ve got an underdog pick worth a wager.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills – Bills +3 ½
Honestly, I really don’t like much about the Buffalo Bills, but in keeping with the new quarterback theme in what looks to be a bad week for underdogs, they looked better with rookie quarterback Trent Edwards last week.
I think Edwards might be able to finally get Lee Evans involved in the offense after spending a week working with the No. 1 offense, which would really open up the running game for Marshawn Lynch.
Plus, New York’s defense might be even worse than Buffalo’s – if that’s possible.
Last week's record: 1-2
Season record: 4-6