Packers need to keep heat off Rodgers


Brett Favre will get the press.

Aaron Rodgers will get the pressure.

That’s how it’s looking for Sunday’s game, when Minnesota plays at Green Bay and Favre makes his first return to Lambeau Field.

When these teams played at the Metrodome in Week 4, Favre played brilliantly, throwing for 271 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Vikings to a 30-23 victory.


Although Rodgers also looked exceptional, throwing for 384 yards and two touchdowns, he was harassed all night. The Vikings sacked him eight times -- including once in the end zone for a safety -- intercepted one of his passes, and forced a fumble.

So you can believe the Packers are just as concerned about the Vikings’ front four as they are the Vikings’ No. 4.

Lost causes

When the Lions play host to the Rams, the game could pit the NFL’s first 0-16 team and its next one.


With a loss, the Rams would be halfway there at 0-8. Their next obviously winnable game wouldn’t come until Week 14, when St. Louis plays at Tennessee.

Detroit is bad -- no surprise -- but the Lions aren’t the worst team in the league. They’re arguably better than the Chiefs, Browns, Raiders, Redskins, Buccaneers and, yes, the Rams.

Road scholars

The Bills have won two in a row, their first consecutive victories in more than a year, and both of those wins came on the road. Sunday, they play host to the suddenly efficient Texans in Buffalo.


The home crowd might not recognize its team, which has intercepted nine passes the last two weeks. The last time the Bills played at Ralph Wilson Stadium, they stumbled to a 6-3 loss to Cleveland and committed 13 penalties, including nine false starts.

Run of the place

After going 39 games without allowing a 100-yard rusher, Baltimore has allowed two in two games: Cincinnati’s Cedric Benson and Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson. Sunday, the Ravens will face Denver’s Knowshon Moreno, the leading rookie rusher.

It’s not as if Moreno is trampling everyone, though. He’s averaging 63.5 yards rushing a game, respectable but not remarkable, and has yet to run for 100. The Ravens, who have lost three in a row (by a total of 11 points), should be more worried about their 23rd-ranked pass defense.


Vexing Rex

The last time they played the New York Jets, the Dolphins ran all over them, using the wildcat to roll up 151 yards on the ground.

After the 31-27 loss, Jets Coach Rex Ryan was understandably steamed, saying: “I used to see all those gimmicks when I was coaching back in college. I’ve been a part of some bad performances before on defense, just not this bad.”

So you can bet Ryan will be thinking up his own defensive schemes to skin the ‘cat Sunday. But his team will have to do it without Pro Bowl defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, out for the season, and that won’t be easy.


Bolting upward

For once this season, the Chargers put together a complete game and put away an opponent early, pummeling one-win Kansas City, 37-7.

This week, another layup. The Chargers play host to Oakland, a team they have beaten 12 consecutive times (although they only squeaked past the Raiders in their season opener).

San Diego, already three games behind Denver in the AFC West, had better get some momentum now, because it has tough games the following three weeks: at the New York Giants, Philadelphia, and at the Broncos.