GREEN BAY, Wis., Jan. 3 (UPI) -- Quarterbacks will be in the spotlight as usual Saturday when the National Football League playoffs get underway with games at four sites.
One of the signal-callers, Brett Favre of the Packers, is a three-time MVP seeking his third trip to the Super Bowl. One, Peyton Manning, is a three-time Pro Bowler hoping for his first playoff win. Two others, Michael Vick and Chad Pennington, made the postseason in their first years as starters.
Favre and the Green Bay Packers (12-4) withstood a strong challenge by Vick and the Atlanta Falcons (9-6-1) in their season opener. The two will meet again at historic Lambeau Field Saturday night in the NFC wild-card round.
"It's old school against new school with Favre and Vick, and we think it's time for the new era," said Falcons cornerback Ray Buchanan said.
Former division rivals face off in the AFC wild-card game when Manning and the Indianapolis Colts (10-6) visit Pennington and the New York Jets (9-7) Saturday afternoon.
The toughest assignment belongs to Vick, who will be asked to do what's never been done before: beat the Packers in a playoff game at Lambeau Field.
The most pressure is probably on Manning, who needs to win a playoff game to validate his standing as one of the league's elite quarterbacks.
Favre , 33, is the playoff veteran with the Super Bowl ring who thrives in the cold weather. At game time, 8 p.m. Eastern time, the temperature could be below freezing.
If so, that's when Favre has been unbeatable, going 35-0 in his career.
Originally drafted by the Falcons in 1991, Favre was traded to Green Bay a year later for a first-round pick and beat his former team in the playoffs here in 1995, 37-20. A year later, Favre led Green Bay to its first Super Bowl title in 29 years and another trip to the Super Bowl the following season.
A three-time MVP, Favre was runnerup for the award this season after throwing for 3,658 yards and 27 touchdowns, leading the Packers to the NFC North title.
Vick, 22, is the youngest and fastest quarterback in the NFL and led the Falcons to their first playoff berth since 1998 in his first year as a starter. After completing 60 percent of his passes with just two interceptions in his first 11 games, Vick completed just 48 percent with six interceptions in his last five.
The Packers know firsthand about him. They needed overtime to beat the Falcons, 37-34 in the season opener.
Favre completed 25-of-36 for 284 yards and a touchdown, rallying the Packers from a 21-13 halftime deficit.
Vick made a big impression on the Packers, completing 15-of-23 for 209 yards and running for 72 yards and a touchdown.
"All everybody wanted to talk about after the game was how good Vick was and he was unbelievable," said Packers Coach Mike Sherman. "We knew he was capable of making them a playoff team and he did."
Making the playoffs is no longer good enough for Manning, who at age 26 has made the Pro Bowl three times but is 0-2 in the postseason heading into Saturday's game.
"I guess if you were asking me after my 15th or 16th year, I might have a different answer," Manning said when asked of his playoff record. "But here I am, in my fifth year, and we're going to try to do a lot more than just win a playoff game this year."
Manning, the only quarterback to throw for more than 4,000 yards in four consecutive seasons, has been haunted somewhat by what he has not accomplished.
At Tennessee, he was 0-4 against rival Florida. For the Colts, he completed 19-of-42 passes for 227 yards in a home playoff loss to Tennessee three years ago, and threw for just 194 yards in a postseason loss at Miami two years ago.
"I think he's heard this a lot and people are going to say, 'Well, that's the measure of a quarterback in this league," said Colts Coach Tony Dungy. "All the good guys have heard that."
Meanwhile, Pennington hopes to continue a storybook season with a win in his first playoff game. After replacing Vinny Testaverde, Pennington led the Jets to an 8-4 record and an AFC East title.
With the Jets in must-win situations over the last two weeks of the season, Pennington threw for seven touchdowns and beat both reigning Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady and Favre.
"You can't say enough about him," said Jets running back Curtis Martin. "We were in trouble early in the season and he took the baton and ran with it."
Pennington, a first-round pick in 2000, completing nearly 69 percent of his passes, throwing 22 touchdowns with six interceptions for a league-high passer rating of 104.2. He could become the fourth straight quarterback to start training camp as the backup and win a Super Bowl, following Kurt Warner of St. Louis, Trent Dilfer of Baltimore and Brady of New England.
This marks the first time since 1986 both New York teams made the playoffs in the same season.
The New York Giants (10-6), who won their last four games, visit the NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers (10-6) on Sunday afternoon in the wild card round. The Cleveland Browns (9-7) are in the playoffs for the first time since the franchise was reborn in 1999 and will meet longtime division rival Pittsburgh (10-5-1) in the AFC wild card game on Sunday.