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JETS - PACKERS PREVIEW
By Dan Powell
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
December 1st, 2006
The ageless Brett Favre makes his 253rd consecutive start on Sunday agains the Jets at Lambeau field.
The ageless Brett Favre makes his 253rd consecutive start on Sunday agains the Jets at Lambeau field.
After the Jets wrap up their work week on Friday, it will be time to get on a plane and fly to frozen Green Bay. The team will be looking to improve to 7-5 with a win at historic Lambeau Field. With little margin for error, the game is likely a must-win if they plan on keeping their playoff hopes alive.

Although the Packers sit at just 4-7, any team with Brett Favre at quarterback. In a league of parity, Favre has transcended the game for much of the last 15 years. Jets quarterback Chad Pennington even went as far to admit he had a small case of hero-worship for the gunslinger.

“He plays the game like every play is his last play, and he plays at full speed ahead,” Pennington said of the man he called “the last of the Mohicans,” referring to the fact Favre is the last quarterback of his generation left. “He doesn’t blink, he doesn’t play with hesitancy. I think there’s a lot to be said for those characteristics and how that’s made him successful.”

Pennington has not been to bad himself, though. He had a huge game last week, leading the team to an important victory over the Texans despite the absence of any sort of running game. He should be able to do such again as the Packers enter Sunday’s game ranked 29th in the NFL in defending the pass.

The Jets cannot rely as heavily on the passing game as they did in Week 12. Between the fact that the Pack will likely be well prepared for Pennington and the Jets receivers and the forecasted 29 degree weather for Sunday’s game, someone in the Jets backfield will have to get things started. Whether or not head coach Eric Mangini does indeed decide to switch to a two-man rotation of rookie Leon Washington and Cedric Houston with Kevan Barlow as the odd-man-out, Gang Green is going to need to find a way to get yards on the ground.

That means the Jets will need to find rookie middle linebacker A.J. Hawk. Hawk, who played with Jets kicker Mike Nugent, center Nick Mangold, and linebacker Anthony Schlegel at Ohio State, has been nothing short of spectacular in his rookie campaign. The 22-year-old is tied for fifth in the NFL with 97 tackles this season and has recorded double-digits in tackles three times, including last week when he had 14 tackles against the Seattle Seahawks.

One of the Jets rookie will be facing a challenge of his own as left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson will have to find a way to stop pass-rushing sensation Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. Though the San Diego State alum has just five sacks this year, he may be the fastest defensive end Ferguson will face this year with the possible exception of the Colts’ Dwight Freeney.

It will not be a day at the beach at the other end of the offensive line either, where right tackle Anthony Clement must keep the Packers other defensive end, Aaron Kampman, off of Pennington. Kampman is second in the NFL with 10 sacks on the season, trailing only Julius Peppers of the Carolina Panthers.

Still, the Jets must find a way to win this Sunday. With the Bengals beating the Ravens on Thursday, this week just got much more important for Gang Green. If New York can improve to 7-5, they will be very much alive in the hunt for an AFC wild card spot. If they lose, playoff aspirations will be dwindling, as the Jets must overcome Cinci, Jacksonville, and either the Chiefs or Broncos.

INSIDER TIDBITS

-Though Centerville, Ohio is more than 500 miles from Green Bay, the small town will be front and center at Lambeau Field on Sunday as three alumni from Centerville High take the field. Nugent, Mangold, and Hawk all played their high school football at Centerville. While Nugent remembered Hawk as somewhat quiet and reserved, he said the rookie is probably the best athlete he has ever seen in person.

“He’s one of those guys, if you give him a task to do, he’s not just going to be good at it, he’s going to be great at it,” Nugent said of his high school and college teammate. “Whether it’s football or baseball or basketball, he’s just an outstanding athlete.”

-Though Favre is still dealing with the effects of the elbow injury that caused him to lose feeling in two fingers on his throwing hand two weeks ago, he played last week in Green Bay’s loss to Seattle and is expected to make his 253rd consecutive start against the Jets this week.

-The Jets defense could end up causing a lot of turnovers this week. Favre’s reputation as a gunslinger comes with his downside, as seen last week when it looked like the veteran was trying to score 11 points on one play. He often puts the ball up for grabs, resulting in as many interceptions as big plays.

Things do not get much more secure for the Packers when they run the ball either. Running back Ahman Green has had fumbling problems his entire career though he has cut down this year, putting the ball on the ground just three times thus far.

MEET NY JETS STARS ON LONG ISLAND!

Don’t miss exclusive live appearances by NY Jets stars coming up next week at Last Licks in Massapequa, Long Island.

Tuesday December 5th, 6:30-8PM
WR Jerricho Cotchery
RB Leon Washington

Tuesday December 12th, 6:30-8PM
TE Chris Baker
DE Shaun Ellis
DT Bobby Hamilton

For more information or to reserve a spot, call Last Licks at 516-541-6326 or log on to their website by CLICKING HERE.

INJURY REPORT

New York Jets
-FB B.J. Askew (Foot): Questionable
-CB David Barrett (Hip): Questionable
-WR Tim Dwight (Thigh): Questionable
-RB Cedric Houston (Knee): Questionable
-DL Rashad Moore (Hand): Questionable
-DB Eric Smith (Foot): Questionable
-LB Bryan Thomas (Shoulder): Questionable
-RB Kevan Barlow (Calf): Probable
-LB Matt Chatham (Foot): Probable
-WR Jerricho Cotchery (Chest): Probable
-CB Andre Dyson (Neck): Probable
-OL Pete Kendall (Knee): Probable
-WR Justin McCareins (Foot): Probable
-QB Chad Pennington (Calf): Probable
-DL Dewayne Robertson (Foot): Probable

Green Bay Packers
-S Nick Collins (Hamstring): Doubtful
-T Mark Tauscher (Groin): Doubtful
-LB Ben Taylor (Hamstring): Doubtful
-LB Nick Barnett (Hand): Questionable
-TE David Martin (Ribs): Questionable
-RB P.J. Pope (Hamstring): Questionable
-T Chad Clifton (Hamstring): Probable
-QB Brett Favre (R Elbow): Probable
-RB Ahman Green (Knee): Probable
-DT Cullen Jenkins (Illness): Probable
-CB Charles Woodson (Shoulder): Probable

Game time is at 1:00PM on Sunday, local TV on CBS 2 and local radio on 1050 ESPN radio and WCRN 104.3 on Long Island. Be sure to check back to JetsInsider.com after the game for a complete recap!