Four Primetime Games Highlight 2008 Schedule

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-The Green Bay Packers' 88th regular-season schedule -- highlighted by three Monday Night Football contests on ESPN and one Sunday night game on NBC -- was released Tuesday by the NFL.

-The Packers will kick off the 2008 season with a nationally televised Monday Night Football contest against the rival Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.

-The Sept. 8 game will be the fourth season opener in club history under the bright lights of Monday night. Green Bay is 3-0 in its previous Monday night openers.

-It will be the 16th consecutive season with an appearance on MNF for the Packers, the NFC's longest active streak.

-Though Head Coach Mike McCarthy has twice coached on MNF with the Packers, it will mark the first Monday night game at Lambeau Field for McCarthy. The Packers' last Monday night home game came in 2005, also against the Vikings.

-The Dallas Cowboys travel to Lambeau Field for a Sunday night showdown in Week 3. It is the third consecutive year the Packers will play in a Sunday night game on NBC, and the second consecutive season they line up against the Cowboys in primetime.

-Green Bay plays its third primetime game in Week 12 when it travels to New Orleans for the first time since 2002. The MNF game marks McCarthy's return to New Orleans for the first time since serving as the Saints' offensive coordinator for five seasons (2000-04).

-The fourth primetime game - and third Monday night contest - comes in Week 16 and showcases the NFL's most historic rivalry: Packers vs. Bears. No two professional football teams have met on the field more than Green Bay and Chicago, and this December contest marks the 177th installment in the series.

-Green Bay last played in four primetime games in 2005, when it also played three Monday Night Football games in addition to one Sunday night contest.

At First Glance

-The Packers last opened against two divisional opponents in 2003, also against Minnesota and Detroit.

-For the first time in team history, the first two games at Lambeau Field will be in primetime.

-The Packers will be tested early, as five of their first eight contests come against playoff teams in '07. They face just one '07 playoff team in their final eight games.

-Green Bay's bye week - which falls in Week 8 - is the latest open date since 2004, when the bye fell in Week 9.

-This season's schedule rotation matches up arguably the strongest division in the AFC, the South, against the NFC North. The AFC South sent three teams to the postseason in '07 (Colts, Jaguars and Titans), and its teams finished a combined 42-22 (.656) last season.

-The Houston Texans will make their franchise debut at Lambeau Field in Week 14.

-December is getting a bit predictable for the Packers. For the fifth straight season, they travel to Chicago and host Detroit.

-Though start times are subject to change due to NFL flexible scheduling, the Packers are slated for 10 noon starts. That's down from a year ago, when they kicked off 13 times (including Thanksgiving) at noon.

Packers Look To Carry Momentum Into '08

-Headed by a strong football operations led by McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson - both of whom received five-year extensions this offseason - the Packers enter 2008 with plenty of momentum.

-Faced with the reality of being the league's youngest team at the outset of the '07 season, the Packers surpassed nearly all expectations last season by reaching the NFC Championship Game. Winners of 17 of their last 20 regular-season games, the Packers return many of their core players from a year ago.

-With a number of veterans having left this offseason, most notably quarterback Brett Favre, Green Bay is almost assured to be among the league's youngest teams again in 2008.

{sportsad300}-20 of 22 starters return, plus a number of young contributors who now seem poised to challenge for starting roles.

-The Packers currently hold eight selections in the NFL Draft later this month, including six picks in the first four rounds. Six of those picks are their own, while they also received Cleveland's second-round pick via trade and were awarded a fourth-round compensatory selection.

-The offseason workout program began March 17, while mini-camps and OTAs will begin later in the spring following the NFL Draft.

Restoring The Lambeau Advantage

-The Packers look to maintain their distinct home-field advantage as they welcome two playoff teams from a year ago - the Cowboys and the Colts - as part of the 2008 home slate.

-The Packers finished 7-1 at Lambeau in 2007, the best home record since the 2002 season, when they won all eight games at Lambeau Field.

-Green Bay heads into the 2008 season winners of 9 of its last 10 regular-season home games, a streak that dates back to '06.

-Since the 1992 season, no team has enjoyed more success at home. A look at the top home W-L records over that period:

Team ( W-L Record) (Pct.)

Green Bay Packers (97-31-0) (.758)

Denver Broncos (95-33-0) (.742)

Pittsburgh Steelers (92-35-1) (.723)

Kansas City Chiefs (92-36-0) (.719)

Minnesota Vikings (86-42-0) (.672)

In Front Of A National Audience

-Some may have guessed that with the retirement of Brett Favre, the Packers would be less likely to play on the national stage.

-Not so, as the TV networks will have them play in front of a national audience six times in 2008. With the advent of flex scheduling, that number can also increase should a late-season game get "flexed" to primetime.

-In addition to the four primetime games, the Packers will face the Seahawks in Week 6 in the FOX national game. The Week 7 matchup at Lambeau Field against the Colts will serve as the CBS national game.

Tops In The Free Agency Era

-The Packers own more NFL championships (12) than any other franchise, but it's not all about past glory for the Green and Gold.

-Talk of unrestricted free agency in the early '90s led many to believe small-town Green Bay would be the first franchise to fold.

-Since the advent of free agency in 1993, the Packers own the best W-L record in the NFL. They have captured seven division titles in that time.

-The Packers have won 10 or more game in nine seasons since 1993.

-A look at the most successful teams in the free-agency era shows eight of the last 11 Super Bowl champions, beginning with Green Bay's '96 title:

Team (W-L Record) (Pct.)

Green Bay Packers (152-88-0) (.633)

New England Patriots (150-90-0) (.625)

Pittsburgh Steelers (148-91-1) (.619)

Denver Broncos (146-94-0) (.608)

Indianapolis Colts (138-102-0) (.575)

Kansas City Chiefs (135-105-0) (.563)

Philadelphia Eagles (132-107-1) (.552)


NFL FLEX SCHEDULING 101

For the third consecutive season, the NFL has built in a primetime "flexible scheduling" element on Sundays in Weeks 11-17.

Implemented to ensure quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks, flex scheduling also gives surprise teams a chance to play their way onto primetime, much like the Packers did in 2006 in Week 17.

What games can be flexed?

Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights.

Can games be switched from 12 p.m. to afternoon starts?

The NFL has commonly moved games between noon CT and 3:15 p.m. CT on Sunday afternoons. The flex practice allows the NFL to employ flexible scheduling to include one of its primetime package of games - on Sunday evenings. All "flex" changes must be announced 12 days prior to kickoff.

Sunday afternoon games, as in the past, can still be moved between noon and 3:05 or 3:15 CT.

So all flex changes will be announced with 12 days of notice?

In Week 17, in order to ensure a Sunday night game with playoff implications, the decision to move the start time may be made on six days' notice.

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