INSIDE SLANTIf the Bills raise their game Sunday, Jim Mora expects the Falcons to follow suit. The second-year Atlanta head coach was surprised that his team was so flat in getting outscored 21-0 in the second quarter last week at Seattle.
"They took it up a notch, and we didn't go with them ... which is very uncharacteristic of us," Mora said Wednesday. "We need to jump on people. When you go on the road and you jump on someone quick, you can really change the environment because the crowd is taken out of it. When you let someone hang around, the crowd gets going."
The Falcons had a 4-1 record in away games through Week 11 last year. They were clearly outplayed and out-schemed in a 27-0 loss at Tampa Bay two weeks later, but dropping consecutive road games in Weeks 16-17 was less consequential.
Atlanta had already wrapped up the NFC South, a first-round bye and a home game in the divisional round of the playoffs when it lost at New Orleans and Seattle last season. So it's safe to say a vast majority of the same players and coaches learned how to handle different situations.
They earned ugly slugfest victories at San Francisco and New York. Winning at Carolina in Week 4 was more convincing, and a surprisingly dominant defeat of the Broncos in Week 8 was the best road performance, by far.
Regarding the status of quarterback Michael Vick, Mora and his staff are convinced they can win if backup Matt Schaub makes his second career start. Unlike Vick, who must be to move effectively to win, Schaub might give the passing attack a boost.
At 6-foot-5, Schaub is five inches taller than Vick, so he would see Michael Jenkins, Brian Finneran and Roddy White better downfield and could lead his targets more accurately on long balls. Seattle became the latest opponent to make the Falcons look one-dimensional by jamming the box with seven and sometimes eight defenders to limit the damage that Vick, Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett deal in the running game.
Whoever starts at quarterback needs to give the receivers adequate time to run their routes and anticipate whenever somebody looks on the verge of beating the coverage by several steps. If and when the Falcons establish even a semblance of a vertical threat, opponents will have to worry about more than stopping the run.
"You've seen us stretch a defense a little bit more, and get behind a defense a little bit more," Mora said of the offense's work in the first two weeks. "That's what we expect out of Michael and Roddy.
"We're seeing it. Now we have to take the next step. We have to find a way to catch the ball and complete the ball, like we did against Philadelphia and turn the big play. But we're capable of it, and it's apparent we're capable of it."
SERIES HISTORY: 9th meeting. The series is tied, 4-4, with Buffalo holding a 3-1 advantage at home. The Falcons had fading hopes of making the playoffs in 2001 when they won the last game against Buffalo, 33-30 at the Georgia Dome. Chris Chandler set a single-game franchise record with 431 passing yards and Jay Feely kicked a 52-yard field goal with no remaining. Atlanta lost the final two games, though a silver lining emerged when Michael Vick stole the show as he replaced the injured Chandler the following week in Miami. The Bills won 23-17 when the teams last met in Buffalo as Jim Kelly passed for 272 yards and two TDs and Darick Holmes rushed for 100 yards on Nov. 12, 1995.
NOTES, QUOTES--NT Chad Lavalais, with seven career starts, has been an integral part of the interior rotation since the former LSU standout arrived as a fifth-round draft pick last year. Not until last week, however, did Lavalais record his first sack.
--Since the 1970 merger, the Falcons have a 17-41-1 road record against AFC teams. Their only single-season record over .500 in the last 25 years came in 1997 when they went 2-0.
--The second-largest road crowd to see Atlanta play came on Nov. 22, 1992 in Buffalo, when the Bills won 41-14. Buffalo scored four TDs in the first quarter and led 38-0 before the Falcons made a dent. "It was almost like they studied our game plan," former Atlanta linebacker Darion Conner said after the shellacking. "We'd call a blitz and they'd hit us in the right gap every time."
--Head coach Jim Mora is 3-1 with the Falcons following a regular-season loss. The lone defeat came last Jan. 2 at Seattle with Atlanta already assured of the NFC South title, a bye in the first round of the playoffs and a home game in the divisional round.
--Rookie P Michael Koenen ranks 16th with a 37.2 net average, but his three touchbacks rank third. Koenen should improve as the season goes on, considering that the Falcons have allowed an average of just 5.4 yards on punt returns since Joe DeCamillis took charge of special teams in 1997. Miami is No. 2 over that same time span with a 7.1 average.
--Of WR Brian Finneran's seven catches, four have gone for first downs and one for a touchdown. He has 135 receptions since the start of 2001. Of that total, 69.6 percent have given the Falcons a first down.
--The full-time promotion of QB Michael Vick in 2002, along with the arrival of RBs Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett and the return of position coach Ollie Wilson has helped Atlanta rush for 7,304 yards over the last four seasons. Only Denver, with 7,396, has more.
BY THE NUMBERS: 9-11-1 is Michael Vick's career record on the road, including 1-2 in postseason. The Falcons have lost their last five games away from the Georgia Dome if you include last season's NFC championship.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "They saw me grabbling my hamstring and pulled me out. I wasn't upset about it. (Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp) said he didn't want it to get any worse than what it was. We were already in a good position to score. Maybe that was selfish going back in there. I don't know. I don't know." -- QB Michael Vick on tweaking his left hamstring last week at Seattle.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNELMichael Vick has a cannon of a left arm, but he often overthrows targets, particularly on deep routes. Because Vick is almost always on the move, he tends to lead with the wrong foot and throw across his body. His left hamstring injury is serious enough that Vick could miss his second start in the last four regular-season games.
Matt Schaub hasn't played enough for the second-year veteran to show any substantial tendencies in reading defenses, but he seems to have a decent skills set and enough size (6-5, 237) to withstand punishment and hit his receivers in stride.
The Falcons must defend the edge better than they did against Seattle, particularly on sweeps that let Shaun Alexander avoid middle linebacker Ed Hartwell and gain substantial yards outside the hashmarks as tackles and pulling guards rubbed out safety Bryan Scott.
The free-agent signing Monday of cornerback Chris Cash means that Christian Morton has instant competition for the nickel job. Both will play a lot against the Bills, though Cash's experience could lead to more snaps if he is successful at Buffalo.
PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES--WR Brian Finneran will make just his second start since the end of 2003. Dez White is unlikely to dress because of a strained hamstring and a sore knee.
--WR Roddy White moves up as the No. 3 receiver and could move into the starting lineup, replacing Finneran, with a breakout game.
--RB T.J. Duckett has two TDs, but he's averaging just 2.8 yards per carry, 1.4 under his career mark entering the season.
--RDE Brady Smith returns to the lineup this week after a cramped quadriceps caused him to miss the Seattle game.
--RCB Jason Webster, despite playing in just 11 regular-season games since he signed with the Falcons in March 2004, has a team-high 11 passes defensed.
GAME PLAN: Teams that love to blitz are trouble for the Falcons, so whoever starts at quarterback -- Michael Vick or Matt Schaub -- needs to work from shotgun formations or hit a few quick screens or slants from a one-step drop to keep the Bills from crowding the line.
Rod Coleman grew easily frustrated last week, and he seemed to struggle with matchups with Brady Smith sidelined and Patrick Kerney switching to the right side. Coleman needs to remember to make himself vertical as much as possible, to raise his arms when Bills quarterback J.P. Losman releases the ball. Coleman was too caught up in trying to beat double-teams and forgot how effective he is in breaking up passes.
The Falcons don't traditionally generate much passing offense against veteran safeties, and Buffalo's tandem of Lawyer Milloy-Troy Vincent could give Atlanta's inexperienced deep threats, Michael Jenkins and Roddy White, fits with effective zones. Milloy had thumb surgery Wednesday, so he's unlikely to be 100 percent.
MATCHUPS TO WATCHFalcons LT Kevin Shaffer vs. Bills RE Aaron Schobel: Perhaps the scariest part of this matchup isn't so much how Shaffer handles Schobel, but the effect that Takeo Spikes has to blitz from either side or to close open space quickly. Shaffer will have his hands full with Schobel, so the scheme has to provide some support if Spikes comes flying off the edge.
Falcons TE Alge Crumpler vs. Bills MLB London Fletcher: Crumpler is always faster than linebackers perceive, particularly those who haven't faced him much. Coordinator Greg Knapp seemingly forgot about Crumpler in the first half last week, and soon as he called some plays to involve the two-time Pro Bowl selection, Atlanta started to move the chains.
Falcons LCB DeAngelo Hall vs. Bills WR Eric Moulds: Yes, Terrell Owens caught seven passes for 112 yards and Darrell Jackson finished with 144 yards on eight receptions, but Hall is doing what's asked of him. Moulds has been a premier receiver throughout his career, but Hall gets the upper hand because J.P. Losman doesn't compare to Donovan McNabb or Matt Hasselbeck.
INJURY IMPACT: WR Dez White is still hampered by a strained hamstring and a sore knee. DE Brady Smith returns to the lineup after a quadriceps injury caused him to miss the Seattle game.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
INSIDE SLANTNow that they have their "home" opener out of their system, the Saints would do well to focus on the remainder of the season.
The Saints will go into Sunday's matchup with the Minnesota Vikings with a huge chip on their shoulder following Monday night's 27-10 loss to the New York Giants in Giants Stadium.
While they tried to put on a brave face when the NFL office moved the home game from the hurricane-ravaged Superdome to the Meadowlands, the Saints were still angry the day after falling to the Giants.
But in the words of Miami Dolphins coach Nick Saban, who used the phrase many times when he was at LSU, "it's time to move on."
No one, however, had to tell coach Jim Haslett that. He and his team know they have to put it behind them quickly because of the short week even though the Vikings are winless after two games.
While their next opponent is 0-2, the Saints remember the beating they took from the Vikings last October in a nationally televised game in the Superdome. Minnesota rolled up 605 total yards, a single-game record total against a New Orleans defense in the then-38-year history of the franchise, and claimed a 38-31 win.
The Saints were coming off an emotional 23-20 season-opening victory at Carolina and a week of trying to settle more permanently into San Antonio while preparing to play the Giants.
"This was a hard week from the standpoint that we moved into our fourth complex and guys were out trying to find homes this week, guys were trying to get their cars this week and get their families in here this week," Haslett said. "It was a long week and that with the buildup of the game and what it meant just made it a hard week.
"Hopefully we are over that now and we can move on. It was a great learning experience for this team. We just didn't play well on the field and didn't handle the situation very well. We didn't take care of the opportunities we had yesterday also, and the Giants played well. Give them credit, they played a great game."
The biggest problem against the Giants was turnovers, but penalties were a close second. Six turnovers led to 17 points for the Giants and 13 penalties for 92 yards also stung the Saints, who gave away numerous scoring chances - including having a 29-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright.
Haslett said all that couldn't be blamed on the circumstances, extraordinary as they were. And he knows he has to get his team ready for 14 more games - including 11 away from their temporary headquarters in San Antonio. The rugged slate includes Sunday's game in the Metrodome.
"This team kind of lives day-to-day right now," Haslett said. "We practice day-to-day, we work day-to-day, then we get on a plane and fly to the next place. That is kind of what we do.
"I don't think anybody has ever traveled to 13 games. Hopefully we will handle it a little better than (Monday) because we didn't handle it very well."
SERIES HISTORY: 24th meeting. The Vikings lead the series, 16-7, winning the last two games in the Superdome in 2002 and '04. The Vikings also are 2-0 against the Saints in post-season play. Minnesota won the most recent meeting of the two teams, 38-31, on Oct. 17 of last season.
NOTES, QUOTES--As if a 27-10 loss to the New York Giants on Monday night wasn't bad enough, the Saints took a major hit when wide receiver Michael Lewis was lost for the season after injuring his left knee on a kickoff return.
Lewis, an All-Pro in 2002 when he set an NFL record with 2,432 combined kick return yards tore the medial collateral (MCL) and posterior collateral (PCL) ligaments and will have surgery next week. Lewis' foot got caught in the turf at Giants Stadium and the knee buckled with no one touching him.
"He has the all-time record for total return yards in a season, so it is a shame it happened to him," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "It was unfortunate, but we have guys who can pick up the slack and we won't miss a beat. But it is a shame because I feel sorry for Michael."
With Lewis out, wide receiver Donte Stallworth becomes the primary punt returner with Az-Zahir Hakim maybe getting a shot when he gets over a hamstring injury. Running back Aaron Stecker will return kickoffs.
--Four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn reached a personal milestone in the contest with the Giants, and he did it in style. His fourth catch of the night, a 21-yard touchdown grab in the second quarter, gave him 500 receptions for his 10-year NFL career.
Horn had nine receptions in the game and now has 505 for his career, with 452 of them coming since joining the Saints as an unrestricted free agent in 2000.
--Shortly after Horn recorded his 500th career reception, second-year wide receiver Devery Henderson caught his first NFL pass -- a 13-yarder from Aaron Brooks.
Henderson, a second-round draft pick in 2004, was active for only two games and played in one last season. He added two more catches in the second half and finished the game with three receptions for 42 yards.
--Horn caught nine passes for 143 yards against the Giants and Donte Stallworth added eight receptions for a career-high 141 yards -- giving the Saints dual 100-yard receivers for only the fourth time in club history.
The last time it happened was on Dec. 3, 2000 when Horn had 170 yards and Robert Wilson added 122 yards against the Denver Broncos in the Superdome.
Horn now has 25 100-yard receiving games in five-plus seasons with the Saints.
--The Saints had six turnovers on three fumbles and three interceptions in Monday night's 27-10 loss to the Giants, which ended their five-game winning streak dating to last season.
In a four-game winning streak to end the 2004 season that helped them finish 8-8, the Saints had a total of five turnovers (four interceptions and one fumble).
--Since they were officially the home team in Monday night's game with the Giants, the Saints now have an 18-23 record at "home" since Jim Haslett took over as coach in 2000. They are 25-16 on the road.
BY THE NUMBERS: 1 - Sack by the Saints' defense in their first two games. The Saints, who had 37 sacks last season, are tied for last in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders and Baltimore Ravens.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We didn't focus well, the penalties were our fault. The turnovers were just bad decisions, we just have to hold on to the ball. What we do out on the field doesn't make a difference with what happens in the week leading up to it because we practiced well. We did things right in practice, we just didn't do them right in the game." - Saints coach Jim Haslett on his team's poor performance against the New York Giants.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNELThe Saints' offense ranks seventh in total yards after two games with 356.5 yards per game, but stats don't always show the entire picture.
That's where the Saints' running game comes in. While they are in the league's top 10 in total yards, their off-season plan of running the ball more effectively has not panned out so far.
They rank 21st in rushing with 86.5 yards per game, which can be directly attributed to playing the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants the first two weeks. So trying to get the running game up to speed against the Minnesota Vikings, who have allowed 156.5 yards on the ground the first two weeks, will a key to their success Sunday.
PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES--WR/KR Michael Lewis tore the medial collateral (MCL) and posterior collateral (PCL) ligaments in his left knee during Monday night's game with the New York Giants and was placed on injured reserve Wednesday.
Saints coach Jim Haslett said Lewis, a five-year veteran, will have surgery next week when the swelling in the knee goes down.
--RCB Fakhir Brown, who was a late scratch for the game with the Giants, has a knee injury and is day-to-day for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.
Brown collided with defensive end Darren Howard in practice last Saturday and the knee swelled up on him that night.
--RCB Jason Craft, who started Monday's game in place of Fakhir Brown, struggled in pass coverage as the Giants picked on him time after time. He is questionable for Sunday's game with the Vikings.
--RCB Fred Thomas will get the start if Fakhir Brown and Jason Craft are unable to play Sunday against the Vikings.
--WR Az-Zahir Hakim was inactive for the Giants' game because of a pulled right hamstring that he re-injured in the season opener. He is listed as questionable for Sunday.
--LDE Charles Grant has a toe injury and is questionable for Sunday's game with the Vikings.
--FS Dwight Smith has been bothered by a toe injury and is listed as questionable for Sunday.
--DT Brian Young was listed as questionable for Sunday's game with a foot injury.
--SLB James Allen, who was inactive for Monday's game with the Giants, is questionable for the Vikings with a knee problem that sidelined him for all of training camp.
--TE Shad Meier, who had a setback in late August after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee earlier in the month, was inactive against the Giants and is questionable for this week's game.
--MLB Alfred Fincher, who had surgery on a broken right hand on Aug. 27, was inactive for the second straight week and is questionable for the game with the Vikings.
GAME PLAN: With the Vikings struggling on offense, the Saints' defense has to come up with ways to make that continue. The Saints, who have been hammered by the Vikings' offense in the past, have done a much better job in the first two games than they did last year and rank 16th in total yards allowed. But keeping the Vikings in check, especially with a dangerous Daunte Culpepper lurking, will be the key. Stopping the run early in the game will allow them to play more man-to-man coverages, which they're much more comfortable doing.
MATCHUPS TO WATCHSaints RB Deuce McAllister vs. Vikings' front seven. McAllister has had trouble getting on track in the first two games, rushing for a total of 111 yards. So he has to be excited to go against a Vikings' defense that has been gashed for 156.5 yards per game on the ground so far.
Saints secondary vs. Vikings QB Daunte Culpepper. The Saints have injury problems with cornerback Fakhir Brown (knee) and free safety Dwight Smith (toe) listed as questionable. That could be just what the doctor ordered for Culpepper, who's thrown eight interceptions and no touchdowns and has a 41.1 passer rating in the first two games.
Saints WR Joe Horn vs. Vikings CB Fred Smoot. Two of the NFL's top trash-talkers could line up against each other on more than a few occasions in this one. Horn, a four-time Pro Bowler has caught 14 passes for 109 yards in the first two games and is coming off a monster performance against the New York Giants in which he had nine receptions for 143 yards.
INJURY IMPACT: The Saints finished Monday's game against the Giants with only three healthy wide receivers -- Joe Horn, Donte Stallworth and Devery Henderson -- after Michael Lewis sustained a left knee injury on a kickoff return with 6:31 left in the game.
Lewis has been placed on injured reserve, which means that Az-Zahir Hakim, who missed the Giants' game with a hamstring injury, or Henderson, a second-year pro, will be the third receiver at Minnesota. Nate Poole, who was with the Saints in training camp, was signed to take Lewis' spot on the 63-man roster.
Lewis' injury also severely impacts the kick return and kick coverage units. Stallworth will likely return punts against the Vikings, while Aaron Stecker will be the main kickoff return man. As one of the fastest players on the team, Lewis is also valued for his skills on the punt and kickoff teams.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
INSIDE SLANTThe last time the Bucs beat the Packers in Wisconsin, Vinny Testaverde was the quarterback, George H. Bush was in the White House and Culture Club had a hit record.
The year was 1989, and just to emphasize that point, coach Jon Gruden had sheets with that date posted all over the Bucs locker room this week.
"That's a reminder that Boy George was at the top of the charts," Gruden said. "Jiminy Christmas, 1989 is a long time. That's what we're up against. We haven't won there forever. I don't even know where I was in 1989. I'm tired of breaking these negative trends around here, but that's what we're up against. Green Bay is going to have no mercy. They're 0-2, they've got a lot of pride and good players, they're well-coached. It's going to be a heck of a game."
The Bucs are off to a surprising 2-0 start, thanks largely to sensational rookie running back Cadillac Williams, who leads the NFL in rushing with 276 yards and two touchdowns.
Williams has enabled the Bucs to control the football and the clock, giving much rest to a Tampa Bay defense that is ranked No. 1 overall and first against the run.
But none of that may matter much when the Bucs play the Packers at Lambeau Field Sunday at 1 p.m. (EDT).
Tampa Bay has lost 13 straight games against the Packers outside of the state of Florida.
The Packers may be 0-2, but it would be a mistake not to consider the mystique that Lambeau Field holds.
"The mystique is when they play well and other teams don't," DT Anthony McFarland said. "It's a tough place to play, obviously, because most of the time, you have to travel a long way to get up there and play. But it's the kind of thing I said about home-field advantage. When you're out there playing well, your home field can be an advantage. If you're playing bad, I don't care where you play, it doesn't matter. It's the same way when you get up there. If they play well and you don't, then the mystique is mystified, I guess."
The Bucs expect the Packers defense, which is allowing just 78.5 rushing yards per game, to load up and try to stop Cadillac. But that will only provide some play-action opportunities for Bucs QB Brian Griese with receivers Michael Clayton, Joey Galloway and TE Alex Smith.
"As Derrick Brooks was telling me earlier in the year, most teams haven't seen me so they really don't know what I can do," Williams said. "Now they've seen a little bit, so I'm sure their focus now coming in is going to be to stop the run. That might change things up a bit. But the way our offensive line is playing and the way Brian Griese is handling things, I don't think it'll change much."
SERIES HISTORY: 49th meeting. Packers lead the series 29-18-1. The Bucs have won four of the past seven meetings, but haven't won in Wisconsin since 1989.
NOTES, QUOTES--LB Shelton Quarles was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his 10-tackle, one sack performance in a 16-3 win over Buffalo last Sunday. Quarles became the first player in club history to record a touchdown and safety in his career. His 4-yard sack of Bills QB J.P. Losman resulted in the ninth safety in club history.
"This award is a tribute to not just myself, but to my teammates, because without them doing their jobs, I wouldn't be able to do mine," Quarles said.
--C John Wade deserves a lot of credit for being the centerpiece of a mostly inexperienced offensive line.
"It helps, I can't tell you how much it helps," QB Brian Griese said of Wade. "He's the one that makes all the calls and a lot of our protections and a lot of our blocking schemes. We have two, three, maybe four plays called in the huddle. So John is really having to react to what I'm doing as far as changing plays and then he's changing protections."
--The Bucs have great respect for Packers QB Brett Favre, but they also fear RB Ahman Green.
"The last time we played them, I think they had 190 yards rushing," Brooks said. "So we're going to have our hands full trying to stop Ahman Green and their O-line. Then it'll come back to Favre throwing the ball up. We've got to do a good job because they're good in the run and in the pass. Like I said, we're going to have our hands full."
BY THE NUMBERS: Cadillac Williams' 276 rushing yards in two games is the fifth-most by a rookie, trailing only Alan Ameche, Ottis Anderson, William Andrews and Billy Sims.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "That's how I've been playing this game my whole life. Getting an injury here or there - it's football." - RB Cadillac Williams on his left foot injury.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNELPLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES
--QB Brian Griese has completed 17 of 20 pass attempts for 241 yards and one touchdown on third down. The Bucs are converting 48.4 percent on third down, the sixth-best in the NFL.
--RB Michael Pittman took most of the snaps at RB in Wednesday's practice with starter Cadillac Williams limited with a strained muscle in his left foot.
--RB Cadillac Williams, who has a strained muscle in his left foot, was limited in practice Wednesday and probable for Sunday's game at Green Bay.
--G Matt Stinchcomb, who has been inactive the first two games, is questionable for Sunday's game at Green Bay.
--DT Ellis Wyms has played both DT and DE this season as part of the Bucs' rotation.
GAME PLAN: Coach Jon Gruden finally has what he has tried to achieve for three previous seasons in Tampa Bay - balance on offense.
RB Cadillac Williams gives the Bucs an identity and a player to build the entire attack around.
As teams begin to gamble on defense to stop the run, they will become vulnerable to the play-action pass. And Gruden is just waiting for the right coverage to spring WR Joey Galloway deep.
"So far, we've only played two games," Gruden said. "We've always sought balance, and right now we've been able to achieve balance, but we've got to sustain that for a long time. We've got a long way to go. We made plenty of mistakes against Buffalo. We'd like to improve in all areas, but we're off to a pretty good start and balance is a goal, yes."
Defensively, the Bucs lead the NFL in overall defense and are first against the run. Credit the return of DT Anthony McFarland and the play of free agent nose tackle Chris Hovan.
"Everybody is just trying to make some plays, just trying to get off the ball," McFarland said. "We're putting a big emphasis on that - upfield pressure defense. That's what we're trying to do. We haven't quite gotten to where we need to be yet, but we'll get there."
MATCHUPS TO WATCH--Packers DE Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila vs. Bucs LT Anthony Davis. KGB is among the best pass rushers in the NFL, and Davis, making his third NFL start, faces his biggest test of the season.
--Packers RB Ahman Green vs. Bucs run defense. Tampa Bay ranks first overall and against the run, allowing just 40 rushing yards per game. But Green is no stranger to the Bucs. Green is averaging 4 yards per carry.
--Packers QB Brett Favre vs. Bucs secondary. Tampa Bay enjoys playing Favre because he will give the defense several chances to produce turnovers. That said, the future Hall of Fame QB knows how to attack the Bucs from the days of the old NFC Central.
INJURY IMPACT: RB Cadillac Williams is probable with a strained muscle in his left foot. He was limited in practice Wednesday. G Matt Stinchcomb (lower back), who has been inactive for the first two games, is questionable for Sunday's contest at Green Bay.