The League

David Larimer
Two-time defending Gameday pick-em champion

David Larimer

An assistant NFL editor at the The Washington Post

Minnesota at Green Bay, Week One

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Monday, 7 p.m.

Let's set the over-under on how many times Brett Favre's name is mentioned during the "Monday Night Football" telecast at 30.

Though the new Jets quarterback will be nowhere near Lambeau Field, his ghost will linger at his longtime haunt. He is the biggest story of a game on which he has no bearing. How patient will Packers fans--thousands of whom will surely come to the game decked out in their No. 4 jerseys in tribute to the franchise icon who was traded away last month--be with Favre's successor, Aaron Rodgers? Ditto Minnesota fans with Tarvaris Jackson, who had the Vikings (not to mention Favre himself) gotten their way and acquired the future Hall of Famer, would be holding a clipboard.

The protracted offseason of saga over whether or not Favre would remain retired, then what team he would play for, has also ratcheted up the intensity on what was already a traditionally strong rivalry. Minnesota had already made a rush to wrest NFC North supremacy from Green Bay, picking up wide receiver Bernard Berrian and adding pass rusher Jared Allen and safety Madieu Williams to an already sound defense. But subsequent conversations between Favre--who at the time was pondering whether he would come out of retirement, and where he might land--and his close friend, Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, led the Packers to file tampering charges against the Vikings. Both teams remain tight-lipped about the fallout, but neither is doing much to hide hard feelings.

As for those quarterbacks expected to play, Jackson is not fully recovered from a sprained knee suffered Aug. 16, but said he will start. If he can't go, the Vikings have a serviceable backup in Gus Frerotte. Not so the Packers. Rodgers is not only inexperienced, having spent his whole career waiting for his turn after Favre, he has appeared prone to injury in the few games he has played. Should he be injured, his backups, rookies Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm, couldn't be any greener. Healthy or not, Rodgers faces the unenviable task of chasing a ghost.

By David Larimer  |  September 5, 2008; 3:16 PM ET  | Category:  Week 1 Previews Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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