Early favorite to win division

Behind Favre, Packers have taken inside track to win NFC North

The 2007 Green Bay Packers are off to a rousing 3-0 start. But this week starts the NFC North part of the schedule as the Packers take on the Vikings in Minnesota this Sunday. Believe it or not, Green Bay has won 3 out of the last 4 games at the Humpty Dome. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome used to be a house of horrors for Brett Favre and the Packers, but not any more.

The Packers in 2006 were 5-1 vs. NFC North opponents, including a 3-0 road record. But then Favre has always played pretty well against the NFC North. Favre does have his toughest time against the Vikings as he is only 15-14 career against the Vikes. He also lost a playoff game to the Vikings at Lambeau Field in January 2005. But the Packers swept last year at home and away against the Vikings.

Favre has had better success against the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears. Favre is 21-9 in his career vs. the Lions, including a perfect home record. Meanwhile, Favre is 22-8 vs. the Bears, including an outstanding 12-2 record at Soldier Field. Overall, Favre has a 58-31 record vs. the NFC North.

In 2007, Favre is clearly the best quarterback in the division. The 1-2 Vikings certainly have problems at the position as the inconsistent second-year starter Tavaris Jackson has been hampered by a groin injury. In place of Jackson is journeyman Kelly Holcomb. Either way, Jackson has thrown five interceptions to just one touchdown, while Holcomb has thrown for just 165 yards and no touchdowns in his one start. Jackson is the 16th rated QB in the NFC.

Rex Grossman of the Bears has already been benched for Brian Griese after 'leading' Chicago to a 1-2 record thus far. Grossman has thrown just one TD pass to six interceptions and was the 15th rated QB in the NFC. Griese has thrown 104 touchdown passes over his career compared to 80 interceptions. The Packers play the Bears next Sunday night at Lambeau Field.

Jon Kitna of the 2-1 Lions has had a pretty good 2007 season. Kitna is the fourth ranked quarterback in the NFC, and he has thrown six touchdown passes compared with four interceptions. Kitna also leads the NFC with 980 passing yards. However, Kitna has been inconsistent throughout his career with just 135 TD passes compared to 130 interceptions. Plus, Kitna suffered a concussion in game two of the season. and that is always a red flag for quarterbacks.

Favre meanwhile is off to great start in 2007. Favre is 2nd only to Kitna in passing yardage with 861 yards and Favre has also put up six touchdown passes to just two interceptions. Favre is 7th in the NFC in QB ratings, while he is tied for second in TD passes.

Speaking of TD passes, Favre was able to tie Dan Marino's NFL mark of 420 career touchdown passes by throwing three touchdown passes against the Chargers last week. Favre's next TD pass will give him the sole lead as the NFL's greatest TD pass thrower. The record should be broken this Sunday, as Favre should throw a lot against a very good run defense by Minnesota.

Ironically, Favre will also claim the second spot all-time in consecutive starts in NFL history by starting his 241st consecutive game, which will pass former Viking Mick Tinglehoff. Favre will then only be looking at another former Viking, Jim Marshall, who had 270 consecutive starts, which is alone on the mountain top in terms of consecutive starts in the NFL.

So Sunday could pretty historic for Favre. He could claim the NFL all-time TD pass record. He is starting his 241st game which will place him alone at second all-time. He could also get his 151st career win, which is also the all-time best in the NFL. Wins have always meant more to Favre than records. Especially in the NFC North. And a win this Sunday will help the 2007 Green Bay Packers get another step closer in controlling the division.

Bob Fox is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at greenbaybob@hotmail.com.

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