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2005 Game By Game Capsules


SUN., SEPT. 11, at DETROIT (3:15 p.m., FOX): This marks the 12th time Green Bay and Detroit have kicked off a season, but only the second in Detroit.

-On Sept. 3, 1978, Green Bay sacked Lions quarterback Greg Landry eight times, got two field goals from Chester Marcol and a 1-yard TD plunge by Barty Smith in a 13-7 win at the Silverdome.

-The teams most recently opened a season in 2001, two days before the Sept. 11 attacks. The first season opener in the series was 1941, less than three months before Pearl Harbor.

-Mike Sherman, whose Detroit speech inspired his players to launch a playoff run after a 1-4 start in 2004, will attempt to improve his 6-1 career record against Steve Mariucci (including 49ers games).

-The league scheduled a late-afternoon kickoff to accomodate a Detroit Tigers game earlier in the day at Comerica Park, across the street from Ford Field.

SUN., SEPT. 18, vs. CLEVELAND (3:15 p.m., CBS): The Packers and Browns play the Lambeau opener, renewing a storied rivalry that includes Jim Brown's last NFL game (the 1965 title contest).

-Previously, the only instance in which Cleveland played the Packers' home opener was 1953, when Paul Brown's club pitched a 27-0 shutout in Milwaukee, also the first meeting in the all-time series.

-In contrast to Cleveland's last regular-season trip to Green Bay in 2001, when snow greeted the Browns, warm weather is a likely setting.

-Rookie head coach Romeo Crennel comes to town. Under Mike Sherman, the Packers are 7-3 against coaches in their first NFL season (wins over Mike Tice's Vikings, Washington's Steve Spurrier and John Fox's Panthers in 2002, Cleveland's Butch Davis in 2001, Chicago's Lovie Smith in 2004 and two wins over Marty Mornhinweg's Lions in 2001; losses to Al Groh's N.Y. Jets in 2000, Tice's Vikings in 2002 and Chicago's Smith in 2004).

SUN., SEPT. 25, vs. TAMPA BAY (12 noon, FOX): The Packers welcome their former NFC Central rival in Tampa Bay's first trip to Green Bay since 2001, and first as a non-divisional opponent.

-The Packers have not lost to Tampa Bay in Wisconsin since 1989. Including the 1997 NFC playoffs, the Packers have won 13 consecutive home games over the Bucs. That's tied for the NFL's longest active home winning streak against a single opponent (including postseason), matched only by the Packers' active 13-game Wisconsin streak against Detroit.

-It's Jon Gruden's first trip to Green Bay since 1999, when Brett Favre led a last-minute comeback to defeat the Raiders, 28-24, in that season's first game.

-Including playoffs, former Packers assistant coaches against the Packers are just 10-28 (.263) since 1997. Gruden, a Packers assistant from 1992-95, is 1-2 as an NFL head coach against Green Bay.

MON., OCT. 3, at CAROLINA (8 p.m., ABC): For the second straight year, and third time in the Panthers' short history, the teams meet on a Monday night in Charlotte.

-In 2004, the Packers registered an emotional prime-time win over the Panthers, then the defending NFC champion, in the season opener.

-Unrestricted free agent guard Mike Wahle, who played a key role in that Packers' 2004 victory, meets his former club.

-Carolina is on Green Bay's regular-season schedule for the eighth time in the last nine years. Counting the 1996 NFC Championship, they've met nine of the last 10 seasons. Since the Panthers launched in 1995, the Packers have seen them every year except '95 and 2003.

-Since 1997, the only non-divisional foe Green Bay has met as often is San Francisco. Including playoffs, the Packers and 49ers have squared off eight times over the last nine years.

SUN., OCT. 9, vs. NEW ORLEANS (12 noon, FOX): While they've made several preseason trips to Wisconsin, including 2004, the Saints haven't played a game that counted here since 1989.

-That Sept. 17, 1989, contest marked one of the most exciting games in Packers history. Down 24-7 at half, the Packers rebounded to beat New Orleans, 35-34. Don Majkowski found Sterling Sharpe on a 3-yard TD pass with 1:26 left and Chris Jacke's PAT provided the winning margin. On the deciding drive, rookie Jeff Query caught a 23-yard pass on fourth-and-17, launching a season-long pattern of dramatic wins.

-The early-fall game ends a 16-year drought, the longest active stretch any NFC team has had to wait to play at Lambeau Field. New England is the only other club who's had to wait longer; its last Green Bay appearance was 1979.

SUN., OCT. 23, at MINNESOTA (12 noon, FOX): Green Bay returns to the site of its most memorable 2004 win, a Christmas Eve clash that clinched the Packers' third consecutive division championship.

-The Packers bid for a third straight win at the Metrodome for the first time since 1983-85, Green Bay's first three games under the Minneapolis roof.

-Mike Sherman now has more wins at Minnesota (3-2) in five trips than Mike Holmgren (1-6) had in seven seasons as Green Bay head coach. Sherman also has more wins against Minnesota (7-4) in five seasons than Holmgren (5-9) had in seven years.

SUN., OCT. 30, at CINCINNATI (12 noon, FOX): Packers, who have several connections to the state of Ohio, make their debut at Paul Brown Stadium.

-It's Green Bay's first trip to the city since 1998, when Fritz Shurmur's defense rattled Neil O'Donnell in a 13-6 win at Cinergy Field.

-Brett Favre will play a regular-season game in his 40th stadium. Of those 40, 15 are either no longer standing or no longer in use by the NFL.

SUN., NOV. 6, vs. PITTSBURGH (3:15 p.m., CBS): The Steelers return to Lambeau Field for the first time in a decade, probably adding a chapter to some of the best games during the Brett Favre era.

-In their last visit, Dec. 24, 1995, the Packers clinched their first of three straight division titles under Holmgren, with a 24-19 win. Green Bay won on a defensive stand in the closing minutes. In another O'Donnell-Shurmur matchup, Green Bay dramatically stopped Pittsburgh on the first three goal-to-go snaps. The Steelers, though, caught a break on fourth down when a defender slipped, but Yancey Thigpen dropped O'Donnell's would-be game-winning touchdown pass.

-The Steelers' previous visit was Sept. 27, 1992, Favre's first career start, and first of 205 consecutive starts, an NFL record among quarterbacks. Since that day, a 17-3 win over rookie head coach Bill Cowher, 183 other quarterbacks have started an NFL game, including the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger.

-In 2001 during the final year of the old NFL scheduling format, Pittsburgh was the only AFC Central team that did not play Green Bay, a quirk the league hoped to avoid in its new scheduling rotation.

SUN., NOV. 13, at ATLANTA (3:15 p.m., FOX): Green Bay makes its first trip to the Georgia Dome in 13 years, ending the Packers' longest active stretch without an appearance in an NFC city.

-The last time the Packers played at Atlanta, Oct. 4, 1992, the Georgia dome was brand new and Favre was 22. Green Bay sustained a 24-10 loss to the coach that had traded Favre the previous February, Jerry Glanville. It marked start No. 2 in his current 205-game starting streak.

-Had Green Bay defeated Minnesota in the 2004 NFC Playoffs, the Packers would have traveled to Atlanta for the Divisional round.

MON., NOV. 21. vs. MINNESOTA (8 p.m., ABC): With memories of Antonio Freeman's incredible overtime catch to defeat the Vikings in 2000, Monday Night Football returns to Green Bay to televise probably the fiercest current rivalry in the NFL.

-In the rain on Nov. 6, 2000, Freeman somehow caught Favre's deflected pass on the ground, after battling Cris Dishman, then got up and turned the play into a 43-yard score.

-It's Minnesota's first trip to Lambeau Field since the Vikings ended Green Bay's 2004 season in the playoffs, 31-17. It's also Minnesota's first trip to Green Bay with former Packers safety Darren Sharper.

SUN., NOV. 27, at PHILADELPHIA (3:15 p.m., FOX): The Packers look to rebound from a pair of tough losses in their intial two trips to Lincoln Financial Field.

-The teams are meeting in Philadelphia for a third straight season because both teams won their divisions last year. Had Green Bay or Philadelphia finished in a different standing (first, second, etc.), the Packers would be traveling to meet a different NFC East foe in 2005.

-Mike Sherman has knocked off the defending NFC champion each of the last two years (wins at Tampa Bay in 2003 and at Carolina in 2004). In fact, Sherman is 6-0 against teams that played in the Super Bowl the previous season.

SUN., DEC. 4, at CHICAGO (12 noon, FOX): The Packers can match the NFL record by winning a 12th consecutive road game against a single opponent:

12, L.A. Rams at San Francisco, 1969-80

San Francisco at L.A./St. Louis Rams 1987-98

11, Green Bay at Chicago Bears, 1994-2004 (current)

10, Miami at Buffalo, 1970-79

Miami at Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts, 1978-87

-While not frequent, this isn't the first time league has waited until December to pit the Packers against the Bears. In 1998, the clubs didn't meet for the first time until Dec. 13, then finished off the season series two weeks later. It also happened in 1983 (Dec. 4, Dec. 18).

SUN., DEC. 11, vs. DETROIT (7:30 p.m., ESPN): ESPN returns to Lambeau Field for another late-season prime-time game that figures to be at least as cold as the network's last trip to Green Bay, in December, 2002, for a Vikings game.

-Take away Green Bay's 1994 playoff win over Detroit, and the Packers' 13 straight regular-season home wins over the Lions ranks tied for first among active NFL streaks (Elias Sports Bureau):

-Longest active streaks, consecutive home wins vs. a single opponent, regular season only:

13, *Dallas over Arizona

13, Green Bay over Detroit

12, *Pittsburgh over San Diego

12, Green Bay over Tampa Bay

11, Washington over Detroit

*-Arizona defeated Dallas at Texas Stadium in 1998 playoffs; San Diego defeated Pittsburgh at Three Rivers Stadium in 1994 playoffs.

MON., DEC. 19, at BALTIMORE (8 p.m., ABC): The Packers debut at M&T Bank Stadium, what figures to be the 41st venue in which Favre will have played a regular-season game.

-It's Green Bay's first trip to the city in exactly 23 years, since a 20-20 tie with the Baltimore Colts at Memorial Stadium, Dec. 19, 1982. A few months before the Colts would draft John Elway, the Packers couldn't hold off a late Baltimore rally, and the Colts scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

-For the second straight season, the Packers play on Mike Sherman's birthday. In 2004, the Packers hosted Jacksonville on Dec. 19, a 28-25 loss.

SUN., DEC. 25, vs. CHICAGO (4 p.m., FOX): In Green Bay's first franchise game on Christmas Day, the Packers host the Bears in an intriguing nationally televised contest.

-It's Lovie Smith's first trip to Lambeau Field since he established beating the Packers as his No. 1 goal, and delivered last Sept. 19.

-The Packers are 19-3 against Chicago since 1994, one of the most successful stretches vs. a single opponent in NFL history.

-Favre looks to throw for a touchdown against Chicago in a 27th straight game, extending his NFL record.

SUN., JAN. 1, vs. SEATTLE (3:15 p.m., FOX): Another frequent opponent of late, the Seahawks make their fourth trip to Green Bay in three seasons (counting preseason and postseason). The clubs met at Lambeau Field in the 2003 regular season and playoffs, and the 2004 preseason.

-Ted Thompson, who has strong ties to both organizations, and built the nucleus of Seattle's roster through the last five drafts, faces his former club for the first time as Packers general manager.

-Favre meets his former coach, Mike Holmgren.

-Green Bay plays its second franchise game on Jan. 1. The Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys at the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 1967, to win the '66 NFL championship.

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