During his career Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre has dominated his team's archrival, the Chicago Bears.
The 15-year-veteran owns an 11-1 record in Soldier Field, but on Sunday he will command a 2-9 team into the hostile environment of the 8-3 NFC North division leaders.
"I'm sure Bears fans across the country don't feel sorry for the Packers," Favre said. "We've been on top for a long time."
Favre could not pinpoint a reason for his mastery of the Bears. But he knows must avoid throwing costly interceptions for his success to continue. The Bears have forced 16 -- tied for third best in the NFL -- while Favre has thrown an NFL-leading 19.
"You have to be protective of the ball, which I haven't done," Favre said.
Last Sunday the Packers trailed by six against the Philadelphia Eagles with 59 seconds to play. His hot read, Donald Driver, ran a take-off stop and comeback route. Instead of going to Driver, Favre heaved a desperation pass to Robert Ferguson, who the Eagles had double-teamed with a third man coming over the top. Roderick Hood intercepted the pass, and the Eagles won the game.
"He was trying to make plays. That's all he's trying to do," offensive coordinator Tom Rossley said. "Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't."
While that go-for-broke strategy has worked for before (he completed 22-of 30 passes for 399 and four touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders in 2003 by making similarly gutsy throws), the Bears could make him pay. Favre compared the NFL's No. 1-ranked defense to the Super Bowl XXXVII-winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense.
"They don't give up the big play," he said. "There are 11 guys around the ball."
Favre, whose possible end-of-the-year retirement continues to serve as sports talk show fodder, has not determined if he will be making his last trip to Soldier Field.
"I haven't made any decisions, haven't thought about it really," he said. "If this it, fine, I'm going to try and enjoy it as much as possible and just make that decision at the end of the season."
Favre can reflect back to 2001 as he approaches Sunday's game. The Bears finished 13-3 that year, but the Packers swept them. Chicago, however, did win the division.
"They got the last laugh," he said.
Because any chance of winning the division for a fourth consecutive season has been eliminated, the Packers will not receive the last laugh this year. It has not been decided, however, which team will have the more jovial postgame locker room.
"In this rivalry anything can happen," Favre said.
Quick Hits: Head Coach Mike Sherman said tight end Bubba Franks has not suffered any residual effects beyond a slight headache after injuring his neck during Sunday's game. The Packers have listed him as questionable. Franks did not practice on Wednesday but could play on Friday. "We'll take it day-to-day," Sherman said. ... Grey Ruegamer again will see some action at right guard in place of William Whitticker during Sunday's game. "Ruegamer deserves that opportunity right now," Sherman said. ... Following the Detroit Lions' firing of head coach Steve Mariucci, Sherman left a message on his answering machine, sending his regards. Mariucci served as the Packers' quarterback coach from 1992 to 1995. Favre remains close to Mariucci and also called him.