- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 14, 2001

OWINGS MILLS, Md. With apologies to Jacksonville's Mark Brunell, Brett Favre is easily the best quarterback the Baltimore Ravens have faced over the past three seasons.
The swashbuckling Favre, a three-time NFL MVP, is injury-free this season and is off to another MVP-type season. And today when the Ravens (3-1) face the Packers at hallowed Lambeau Field, a game some are calling a preview of Super Bowl XXXVI, Baltimore realizes it faces a quarterback who is capable of carving up even its top-rated defense.
"Our defense has not faced a quarterback as good as Brett Favre," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "He is the dominant player in the NFL right now. They are never out of a game with him back there. He's fearless, he's quick, throws lasers and can scramble with the best."
After four games, Favre, the NFL's active leading passer, continues to add to his already gaudy numbers. The 32-year-old Favre is fourth in the NFC with a 93.6 passing rating. He has completed 87 of 133 passes for 1,062 yards with nine touchdowns and six interceptions. Only Kurt Warner (11) has thrown more TD passes this season; Philadelphia's Donovan McNabb also has nine TDs.
Favre, who last season battled tendinitis in his right elbow, but still led the Packers to a 9-7 record and passed for 3,812 yards and 20 touchdowns, is virtually unbeatable in Wisconsin. He has a 61-11 record as a starter in home games, which includes nine games in Milwaukee.
"A Brett Favre versus our defense, that's going to be one of the benchmarks for this team," Billick said. "How did you do against one of the game's great quarterbacks?"
Chris McAlister and Duane Starks, the Ravens young cornerbacks, were still in high school when Favre was working his magic six consecutive playoff berths (1993-98) for the Packers. The duo realize that Favre is going to test them. In fact, Favre, who is on pace to become the first player in NFL history to throw for 3,000 yards in 10 straight seasons, could be the biggest challenge the entire Ravens' defense faces this season.
"He's smart, experienced and he's been there before," Starks said of Favre. "So he knows all the ins and outs of reading a defense and he also knows his receivers."
Bill Schroeder, Green Bay's unsung wide receiver, has been Favre's favorite target this season. Schroeder has four touchdown receptions, good for second in the NFC. Packers tight end Bubba Franks has caught three scoring passes from Favre.
"It's going to be a big challenge," McAlister said. "We've already faced some challenges winning in Denver with Brian Griese. This is going to be another test for us. Like always, our defense is up to the challenge."
The NFC Central-leading Packers (3-1) have more than just Favre on offense. Running back Ahman Green is the NFC's leading rusher (385 yards on 76 carries) and Green Bay's leading receiver (22 receptions). The Ravens defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in 41 straight games the longest current streak in the NFL.
Over the years, wide receiver Antonio Freeman, a Baltimore native, has been Favre's big-play receiver. Freeman has caught 53 TD passes from Favre the most touchdown catches in Packer history.
The game has some intriguing matchups. The Ravens top-rated defense (201.3 yards per game) faces Green Bay's offense (378.8) rated second in the NFC. Green Bay boasts the NFC's top-rated defense (211.8) and will be tested by the Ravens offense (372.8) which is also rated second in its conference. The Ravens are 7-1 in their last eight road games while the Packers are 7-1 in their last eight home games.
"They are as good of a team as we have played this year and they have a great home field advantage," Billick said. "Lambeau is a storied place. This is the top of the mountain historically."

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