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Eagles @ Packers - A tale of 2 QBs

Update [2007-9-6 19:42:31 by BleedGreen]: Quote of the week goes to Sav Rocca, when asked about whether he'd seen anything like Cheeseheads. "We don't really wear anything on our heads at games," he said, without the least trace of judgment in his voice. "Oh, well, good luck to them. If they're happy putting cheese on their heads, good on 'em."

A Tale of 2 QBs
Barring injury, Brett Favre will break George Blanda's NFL record of 277 picks. Probably the most famous of the picks to Eagles fans was his INT to Dawkins in overtime of the 4th & 26 game. Donovan McNabb however, has the second-lowest interception rate in history. Is it because one is a "gunslinger" and the other is a more heady player? By the way, in addition to setting the record for INTs this year, Favre is probably going to set the all time record for wins.

Domo had some interesting stats comparing the effectiveness of the two.

Favre has averaged an interception every 30.1 attempts. The Eagles' Donovan McNabb has averaged one every 45.3

While McNabb has thrown touchdown passes almost as frequently as Favre (one in every 21.4 attempts compared to Favre's one in every 19.9) in his career, he seldom takes the chances that Favre does

Stats would tell you that McNabb is just a better player. The problem is, one has a ring and the other doesn't. Interestingly enough, Packers coach Mike McCarthy is trying to get the guy with the ring to play more like the guy without one.

It's probably too late to teach an old dog like Favre new tricks. But that's exactly what Packers coach Mike McCarthy is trying to do.

He went to Favre earlier this summer and asked him to change his quarterbacking style. Less risk-taking, more respect for the football. Less gunslinger, more accountant.

He told him the Packers had an improving young defense that should be able to keep them in ballgames this season if they don't give away the football as much as they did last year, when they finished with the third-most turnovers (33) in the NFC. He told Favre he wanted him to "manage" the game more and try to win it singlehandedly less.

"I don't need him to play like a wild stallion anymore," McCarthy told reporters last month. "We're not built that way. Brett needs to go out and have his best year statistically that he's had in quite some time. [High] completion percentage, low interceptions."

So what Favre are we going to see? Frankly, the "gunslinger" has always played directly into the hands of the Eagles attacking defense. The Eagles have beaten Favre and the Pack 5 of 6 times in the Reid era, with a win in each of the last 4 years. A more disciplined Favre and a reliance on their defense could spell trouble for the Eagles. The Packers defense is that good. DE Aaron Kampman led NFC with 15.5 sacks last year on his way to the pro bowl. A.J. Hawk led the Pack with 155 tackles in his rookie year. Their secondary is looking improved and Andy Reid said of their front four & secondary, "That front four, I would compare to anyone in the league right now. Corners as fine as a man cover players you will find in the league."

That said, Favre is going to forced to make some place thanks to a mini crisis the Pack face in the running game. Ahman Green has left in free agency and 3 of their current backs are on the injury report. Rookie RB Brandon Jackson(Concussion), backup Vernand Morency(Knee) & RB Ryan Grant(Hamstring) all had only limited participation in practice. Jackson, who was the presumed starter reportedly will be cleared to play.

As for the Eagles, there is one guy that all Packers fans fear. Donovan McNabb, who has been something of a "Packers Killer" according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Of all the quarterbacks who have suited up against Green Bay, McNabb has the third-highest passer rating (99.9) in the regular season behind Joe Montana (105.7) and Phil Simms (101.5). McNabb's tally doesn't even include the divisional playoff game on Jan. 11, 2004, which is permanently burned into the minds of Packers fans as the "fourth-and-26 game."

Since losing his first game against the Packers, McNabb has won four straight starts against them. In his past two games, he has accounted for nine touchdowns (seven passing, two rushing).

It was especially ugly in 2004...

The Packers couldn't use youth as an excuse in 2004, a season in which they went 10-6 and won the NFC North. McNabb abused them nevertheless as he completed a franchise-record 14 passes to open the game and went on to set career highs with 464 yards passing and five touchdowns in the Eagles' 47-17 victory in Philadelphia.

If the Eagles formidable offensive line can keep the pressure off McNabb from the equally formidable Packers front four, #5 should enjoy another big day in Green Bay. Combine that with the Pack's beat up run game against the Eagles suspect run defense and it's understandable why the Eagles are favored in this game. That said, it's never easy to go and win in Lambeau. The Packers are second all time in kickoff weekend wins.