Favre's kryptonite just ahead

Each of the last two weeks Brett Favre threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns. After a slow start against the Bears in the opener, Favre looked like he had discovered his old self. However, when the Packers take the field Monday in Philadelphia, Favre will likely discover another thing – Philadelphia is his kryptonite.

Since 2000, Favre has played the Eagles five times, lost five times and has looked more like Ryan Leaf than a future Hall of Famer. In these five games, Favre has thrown four touchdown passes and nine interceptions, in addition to accumulating just 780 yards.

For his career, Favre has a 54.3 completion percentage and 65.2 passer rating against the Eagles and those are his lowest marks in those categories against any NFC opponent.

Favre, 4-7 all-time against Philadelphia, was named the NFC Offensive player of the week this week. History suggests Favre won't make it three quality games in a row.

The Eagles have taken over where Tampa Bay left off. Before the NFL realigned the divisions, Buccaneers defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin always troubled Favre and the Packers. By way of blitzing and having great defensive talent, Favre never got in a groove and normally finished the game looking like he was a punching bag when Mike Tyson was at his best.

Now the Eagles and their coordinator Jim Johnson are the new thorn in Favre's side. The Eagles, who are tied for the NFL lead with 16 sacks, have good defensive personnel, have multiple blitzes that always work against the Packers, and the Packers' offensive line is inexperienced inside, which is a "red flag" for the Packers.

"His whole philosophy is 11 defensive players versus the quarterback," said Packers cornerback Al Harris, who played under Johnson before joining the Packers in 2003. "You can see it in his scheme."

On paper, this sets up as a nightmarish game for the Packers, who may switch their rookie guards around again. Jason Spitz, who is coming off an injury, might replace rookie Tony Moll at right guard and start with rookie guard Daryn Colledge. This could be the third different starting duo of guards for the Packers in four games.

Not good when the defense is from Philadelphia.

With the Packers shuffling the interior of their offensive line more often than a dealer shuffles in a casino, Favre will need to go to many three-step drops to avoid being hit like a baseball gets hit by Albert Pujols.

Another problem will be crowd noise. The Packers have "piped" in noise this week during practice to prepare the offense for the loud Eagles crowd.

The noise poses a problem for Favre if he wants to audible, and for the players hearing the snap count. No question, left tackle Chad Clifton, known for false starts, will jump at least once and then come slow off the ball after that.

The offensive line knows there's more to Monday's game than dealing with the defensive personnel.

"Basically, communication and recognition is the big challenge," center Scott Wells said. "Being on the road again, being able to see those things and communicate those things with the crowd noise will be huge."

How the Packers' offense deals with the Eagles' defense will carry a huge impact on who wins Monday.

However, even though the Eagles pose a problem, so does the road. The Packers beat a bottom-feeder last week at Detroit, but the Packers are still just 2-7 in their last nine road games, with the other road win coming at Atlanta.

A helpful way to record a win away from Lambeau Field is for the offense to take the crowd out of the game. That means scoring often, scoring early and keeping a suspect defense on the sideline.

That means Favre must continue to play the way he has the last two weeks. Unfortunately, he's relying on an offensive line which has struggled this season in its consistency and Monday might be going up against its biggest test in 2006.

Doug Ritchay

Editor's note: Doug Ritchay is a longtime sportswriter and former Packers beat writer for the Green Bay News-Chronicle. E-mail at dritchay@sbcglobal.net.

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