Quarterback Brett Favre, traditionally productive on opening day, Sunday will be in quest of a ninth victory in 11 opening day assignments - and his third in a row.
Favre won his first two "kickoff" contests, 36-6 over the then-Los Angeles Rams at Milwaukee County Stadium in 1993, and 16-10, over the Minnesota Vikings in Lambeau Field in 1994 before slipping against the now-St. Louis Rams, 17-14, on opening day in 1995.
The NFL's three-time MVP then went on a four-game winning streak, escorting the Packers past Tampa Bay, 34-3, in 1996, over the Chicago Bears in 1997, 38-34, the Detroit Lions in 1998, 38-19, and the Oakland Raiders, in 1999, 28-24.
The New York Jets ended Favre's skein in 2000, 20-16, but he rebounded in 2001, leading the Green and Gold to a 28-6 win over Detroit, and followed by presiding at a 37-34 overtime decision of the Falcons last September.
THE BEST OF BRETT: From the statistical perspective, Favre enjoyed his most productive opening day performance in 1999. He completed 28 of 47 passes for 333 yards - the latter total a career opening-day high, and 4 touchdowns on that occasion (Sept. 12).
Based upon the passer ratings, Favre had his best opening day to date in the Super Bowl year of 1996, when he forged an imposing 141.5 reading, completing 20 of 27 passes for 247 yards and 4 touchdowns - without an interception - in a 34-3 victory over the Buccaneers in Tampa.
THE FAVRE STREAKS: The 33-year-old field general, closing in on the team's consecutive-game record, Sunday will be making his 174th consecutive regular season start, extending his NFL record for quarterbacks, and playing in his 176th straight game. Favre is thus nearing the club record, for the latter category - 187 by Forrest Gregg, a mark he obviously could surpass before the season has run its course.
The 13-year veteran, currently fifth on the team's list for most games played, is only 5 games back of the retired LeRoy Butler, who ranks fourth with 181. Bart Starr leads with 196, followed by Ray Nitschke, 190, and Gregg with 187.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR FROM FAVRE IN '03:
- Has 42,285 passing yards and needs 756 to pass Dan Fouts (43,040) for fifth place all-time. Dan Marino is the all-time leader with 61,361 yards.
- Has passed for 3,000 yards in a season 11 times. He needs 3,000 yards in 2003 to tie John Elway (12) for second-most all-time. Marino is the all-time leader with 13 3,000-yard passing seasons.
- Has thrown 314 touchdown passes and needs 29 to pass Frank Tarkenton for second all-time. Marino leads with 420.
- Has led the NFL in touchdown passes three times and can tie Johnny Unitas, Len Dawson and Steve Young (4) for most seasons leading the league in touchdown passes.
- Has thrown for 20 touchdowns in nine consecutive seasons and can tie Marino (10) for the most all-time.
- Has 111 career victories and needs 11 to pass Joe Montana (117) and Tarkenton (125) for third place all-time. The leader is Elway with 148.
- Has completed 3,652 passes and needs 337 completions to pass Tarkenton (3,686) and Warren Moon (3,988) for third place all-time. The all-time leader is Marino with 4,967.
- Has 5,993 pass attempts and needs 475 to pass Tarkenton (6,467) in fourth place all-time. Marino is the leader with 8,358.