Five To Watch: All Eyes on Favre and Huard

There is little doubt amongst most NFL experts that the two biggest surprises of the 2007 season are Sunday's combatants in Kansas City. The Chiefs host the Green Bay Packers in a game of division leaders. When the season began, not many people felt this game would have any meaning, but it does, and it could be a classic battle.

Before the season began this was the game I wanted to just sit back and watch as a fan. Don't get me wrong, the view from the press box is stellar, and I wouldn't trade with anyone in the stands, but on Sunday in front of what could be one of the loudest crowds in recent memory, this game features everything you can ask for as an NFL fan.

On one side you have arguably one of the top five quarterbacks to ever play the game. Brett Favre is the best pure gunslinger the NFL has ever seen. When he pulls the gun out of his holster and fires the pigskin, it arrives at the intended target so quickly, only Superman can react.

If you're a wide receiver on the other end of one of his rockets, all you can do is have your hands ready and hope you don't break your fingers. Through 17 NFL seasons, Favre hasn't made any bones about the way he throws it. In fact, that's his trademark, because in his mind either his guy catches it or no one does.

That's served him well over the years and it's the primary reason why the Packers defeated the Broncos last week and are 6-1, leading the NFC North Division.

The opposite is true in Kansas City. Huard, who has an arm no one will compare with Favre's, hasn't carried the Chiefs this year, but he has his team atop the AFC West all the same. It's especially impressive when you consider the beating he's taken over the first seven games.

But he's not complaining and shows no signs of backing down against Favre. With the NFC national spotlight on the Chiefs Sunday, Huard has an opportunity to show he can deliver the goods and keep his team rolling and in control of the division.

This is a big game for both quarterbacks. Until this year's sudden discovery of the fountain of youth, Favre had been ordinary over the last several seasons. Games like the one Favre struggled through two weeks ago against the Redskins, a 17-14 win in which several of his deep passes fell short, were common. The media wondered – had Favre's golden arm fallen off?

In Kansas City, the media hasn't been kind to Huard. He's received similar press despite the fact he rolled out victories on the road at San Diego and Oakland and made big plays against the Vikings and Bengals.

This game has numerous stories but most, if not all of them, will be ignored. The Colts and Patriots will draw most of the attention this weekend, but everyone expected Indianapolis and New England to be where they now stand. Almost nobody felt the two teams playing at Arrowhead Sunday would warrant Fox's top broadcast team.

The Packers need to win to keep the Detroit Lions at bay, and the Chiefs need to win in order to hold back the Chargers, who have a lay-up against the Vikings.

Either way, the headlines after this game will likely favor Favre, and not Huard, even if he has a better game. Common sense suggests it could be a day for Packers fan to reminisce over, but sometimes the underdog rules the day. And that means a big day for Huard.

Five To Watch:

1. FB Kris Wilson - He's struggled all season long and sooner or later the coaching staff will have to give the legend - Boomer Grigsby - a shot, at least in short- yardage or goal-line situations. The Chiefs have a golden opportunity to confuse defenses if they put Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson in the backfield at the same time, but yards will be hard to come by if they don't have a thumper. This might be Wilson's last chance to prove he can play fullback. Eight games is enough. Will there be a ninth?

2. CB Ty Law Not many have noticed, but since Law was torched against the Jacksonville Jaguars, he's played better. Part of that change is because defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has played more pure Cover 2 schemes in recent weeks. He's routinely set one of the young safeties behind Law, allowing him to play tighter coverage at the line of scrimmage. This week he'll be tested deep going up against Donald Driver and Greg Jennings. He can't play soft against those guys, especially if Favre is under pressure.

3. DE Jared Allen The AFC Defensive player of the month has an opportunity to let the NFC know he's the best defensive end in either conference. Since Allen has returned from his suspension the Chiefs are 4-1. That's no coincidence. He's the biggest reason why this defense is better in 2007 than it was a year ago. Thursday he talked about the importance of his relationship with his head coach and how it's motivated him to play as hard as he can. More than likely, he'd have done that anyway, but Herm Edwards' influence can't be ignored. That relationship could serve two purposes in the future – one, on the field, where Allen leads the NFL in sacks, and off the field, as an important voice in getting Allen a new contract.

4. TE Tony Gonzalez - Like Favre, he's a future Hall of Famer, and games like this generally bring out the best in Gonzalez. It's hard for me to fathom that someday fans won't see #88 on the field. Father time will eventually catch up to him, but until then let's enjoy every second he's on the field. He could have a monster game against an aggressive Green Bay secondary that's been victimized by tight ends this year.

5. The 12th Man - Last week in Denver the Packers played in front of a raucous capacity crowd. Broncos fans did everything in their power to will the home team to victory, but it didn't work. Sunday in Kansas City, the fans need to raise the decibel level. They need to stay up on their feet the entire game, and if it's close, they need to be even louder in the fourth quarter or overtime if need be. Thus far in 2007 the home crowd has been sitting on their hands at times. They all need to understand they can play a role in Kansas City's drive for a division title.

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