Lions Notebook: Can Lions Handle Favre?

The Lions make most quarterbacks look like Hall of Famers. So what's going to happen Sunday at Minnesota when they face a future Hall of Famer in Brett Favre? News and notes inside ...

The Lions make most quarterbacks look like Hall of Famers. They have allowed opponents to complete 71.7 percent of their passes, worst in the NFL. They have allowed 19 touchdown passes, second-worst in the league. They have allowed opponents to post a 107.3 passer rating, worst in the league.

So what's going to happen Sunday at Minnesota when they face a future Hall of Famer?

Brett Favre's numbers are as lofty as the Lions are low. He has completed 68.4 percent of his passes, fourth in the NFL. He has thrown 16 touchdowns, tied for third. He has posted a 106.0 passer rating, second by one tenth of a point behind New Orleans' Drew Brees.

Oh, and he has thrown only three interceptions, putting him on pace for the lowest total of his career by far.

"You've got to deal with No. 4," Lions defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham said. "I think all those people that said what they said about him should be called on the carpet right about now, because I see the Brett Favre of 2007, which was one of his great years of his career."

Favre is more dangerous than he was the last time the Lions faced him on Sept. 20. At that time, he had been with the Vikings for only a month. He was still getting his legs under him and still getting comfortable with his new teammates.

In a 27-13 Vikings victory, he completed 23 of 27 passes and threw two touchdowns. But his longest pass was only 13 yards, and his yardage total was only 155.

"When we played them early in the season, he was a little bit more game-managing," Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. "They were running the ball effectively, like they do. They weren't leaning a whole lot on Brett Favre.

"But every game they've added a little bit more, they've done a little bit more and put a little more on his shoulders. He has put the team on his shoulders a couple times, and he has some good weapons around him to do that."

From the beginning, Favre could hand off to running back Adrian Peterson, the NFL's leading rusher last year. Now he has developed chemistry with tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and young wide receivers Sidney Rice and Percy Harvin.

In his last game Favre returned to Lambeau Field, where he starred for 16 years with the Packers, and threw four touchdowns in a 38-26 victory Nov. 1. Cunningham laughed when he watched film of how Favre schooled one of his former teammates.

"He walked up to the ball and pumped Al Harris, and the receiver took off straight down the field," Cunningham said. "Al Harris thought it was going to be a quick pass. He pulled it down and threw a touchdown pass and made Al look bad.

"God bless Al Harris. He's a good corner. But Brett Favre knew him. There's no doubt. He knew Al Harris and what he would do, and he took advantage of him, and that's what Brett Favre does. He studies the game real hard, and he knows what he can do and what he can't do.

"I would just like him to throw a ball or two to our side. He had a history of that. But right now he's in a rhythm."

PLAYER NOTEBOOK:

  • LB Larry Foote did not practice Wednesday or Thursday because of a knee injury, but he probably will play Sunday at Minnesota. His backup, Jordon Dizon, said Foote was just resting the knee.
  • LB Ernie Sims did not practice Wednesday or Thursday because of a hamstring injury. He will not play Sunday, and it is unknown when he might return. He said he has a Grade 2 tear.
  • DE Dewayne White was listed as limited Thursday after sitting out Wednesday because of a toe injury. He has been nursing a hamstring injury, but the toe injury apparently is new.
  • DT Joe Cohen was listed as limited Wednesday and Thursday because of an ankle injury. His status is unclear.
  • LB Jordon Dizon was listed as limited Wednesday and Thursday because of a neck injury, but he likely will be available Sunday. He was healthy enough to practice in nickel situations.
  • FB Jerome Felton practiced fully Thursday after being listed as limited Wednesday because of an ankle injury. He has been inactive for two straight games.
  • DE Jason Hunter practiced fully Thursday after being listed as limited Wednesday because of a knee injury. He returned Sunday at Seattle after missing two games with an ankle injury but aggravated the ankle and knee.
  • DT Grady Jackson was listed as limited Wednesday and did not practice Thursday because of a knee injury. He did not play Sunday at Seattle, but not because of his knee. He likely will be available Sunday.
  • QB Matthew Stafford was listed as limited Wednesday and Thursday because of a knee injury. The knee is still bothering him, but he has played with it for two straight games and there is no reason to think he won't play with it again.
  • WR Calvin Johnson practiced fully Wednesday and Thursday but was listed on the injury report with a knee problem. He returned from a two-game absence Sunday but caught only two passes for 27 yards.

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