New York (2-1) at Green Bay (1-2)

Mostly Cloudy Currently: Green Bay, WI
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 1:00 pm EDT Sun Oct 3, 2004
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

If Michael Strahan records a sack of Brett Favre this weekend, no one will be questioning its legitimacy.

That’s because Favre and the Green Bay Packers come into their second home game of the season in desperate need of a victory.

The Packers look to rebound from their second straight loss and climb out of last place in the NFC North when they take on a New York Giants team that has won two in a row.

Favre engaged in a thrilling battle with Indianapolis Colts star quarterback Peyton Manning last week, but couldn’t lead his team to a win as the Colts defeated the Packers 45-31. Favre went 30-of-44 for 358 yards and four touchdowns, but Manning threw for 393 yards and five scores as Indianapolis prevailed in the shootout.

Trailing 35-17 in the third quarter, Favre pulled his team to within 38-31, and Green Bay had the ball and a chance to tie midway through the final period. But on that drive, Colts rookie cornerback Jason David ripped the ball away from Javon Walker after a reception, and Nick Harper recovered the fumble to help preserve the victory.

“From their standpoint, I’m sure they thought they could score every time and so did we,” Favre said.

Walker had the best game of his career, with 11 catches for 198 yards and three TDs, but Green Bay lost again, a week after a stunning 21-10 defeat to Chicago at Lambeau Field.

“That shouldn’t have happened,” Walker said of the turnover. “I should have secured the ball.”

The consecutive defeats leave Green Bay badly needing a win, which wasn’t the situation the last time the teams met. In that game, a 34-25 Packers victory at Giants Stadium on Jan. 6, 2001, Green Bay was already playoff-bound and New York was out of the postseason. The only suspense left was whether Strahan would break the single-season sack record of 22, set by the New York Jets’ Mark Gastineau in 1984.

Needing one to set the mark, Strahan got the sack of Favre he needed, but on a controversial play. With 2:42 left in the fourth quarter, Favre rolled out and went down at the feet of Strahan, who fell on him to give the defensive end a record 22 1/2. The play was questionable because Favre didn’t have a blocker in front of him, the quarterback and Strahan are friendly, and Favre had joked during the week that he might “work out a little side deal” with Strahan.

“I’m sure Michael was confronted with it much more than I was,” Favre said. “One play doesn’t define a player, doesn’t define a team and what Michael Strahan did that year, as well as other years says that. He is an outstanding player.”

With the stakes high this week and Strahan also coming off a big game, however, no one is likely to question either player’s intentions Sunday. Strahan had six tackles, two sacks and two fumble recoveries as the improving Giants beat the Cleveland Browns 27-10 at home last week for their second straight win.

Looking revitalized since a loss in their opener under new coach Tom Coughlin, the Giants won the takeaway battle 3-0 and converted 45 percent of their third downs while limiting Cleveland to 2-of-10.

Kurt Warner was outstanding for the second straight week, going 19-of-27 for 286 yards and no interceptions.

“I think we are starting to believe in ourselves,” said the Giants’ Jeff Feagles, who landed four punts inside the 14-yard line in the first half. “Everybody in this league knows how important confidence is. We’re getting turnovers, we’re not giving the ball up and (we’re) playing sound football. We’re getting on a roll.”

New York will probably have to play its best game of the season to continue that roll. Favre has thrived in Green Bay in his career, going 79-16 there as a starter, and the Giants will also have to worry about a powerful Packers ground attack led by Ahman Green, who’s sixth in the NFL in rushing yards with 314.

Both teams learned this week they would be without key players for the rest of the season. Giants safety Shaun Williams and Packers center Mike Flanagan are both gone for the year due to knee problems.

The Giants and Packers will be meeting at Lambeau for the first time since Sept. 17, 1995, a 14-6 Packers win.

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