The goal for the Green Bay Packers this week is to accomplish something they've failed to do three times already this season.
Get to .500.
At 4-5, the Packers are looking to even their record on Sunday against the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field. No easy task to be sure, but Head Coach Mike McCarthy noted Wednesday how important the 10th game of this season is.
"Everybody wants to talk about playoffs - I want to talk about getting to 5-5," McCarthy said. "If you get to 5-5, then you can start thinking about the next one, and the one after that. It's very important for our football team to get to 5-5."
The Packers have been unable to get back to the .500 mark since losing their season opener. They lost at home in Week 2 to New Orleans to fall to 0-2. They were 1-2 heading into Week 4 but lost at Philadelphia. Then they were 3-4 but lost at Buffalo two weeks ago.
This will be their first opportunity since the New Orleans game to get back to .500 at home, and McCarthy is hoping the home crowd and atmosphere will provide an edge, especially against a New England team that, despite three home losses in Foxborough, Mass., is unbeaten on the road this season.
"The fans at Lambeau have never disappointed," McCarthy said. "We're going to call on our fan base to step up again like they always do for us, because it's going to take that type of effort from everyone involved to win this football game."
Including receiver Shaun Bodiford and tight end Tory Humphrey, who were put on injured reserve on Wednesday, the Packers have a season-high 16 players on their injury report this week.
The most significant of those is starting offensive tackle Mark Tauscher, who has been downgraded from doubtful to out. McCarthy said his groin injury would need a 10- to 14-day recovery period.
As a result of the team being so banged up, the Packers practiced in shells rather than full pads. Normally on Wednesdays the team is in full pads.
"We had a physical game on Sunday and had a bunch of guys nicked," McCarthy said. "We had a number of guys out of practice today, but hopeful to get most of them back tomorrow."
Of the six players listed as questionable, cornerback Will Blackmon (rib), tight end David Martin (shoulder, quad) and defensive end Mike Montgomery (hamstring) missed at least a portion of practice. The other three questionable players - defensive tackle Johnny Jolly (ankle), fullback Brandon Miree (elbow) and running back Vernand Morency (back) - all practiced. McCarthy noted that Morency is farther along in his recovery than Miree, and that if he's able to play, he will replace Bodiford on kickoff returns.
Listed as probable are running back Ahman Green (knee), cornerback Al Harris (illness), fullback William Henderson (knee), defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins (ankle), receiver Greg Jennings (ankle), cornerback Charles Woodson (knee) and quarterback Brett Favre (ankle). All of them missed at least a portion of practice.
SI.com's Peter King has selected four Packers to his mid-season "All-Rookie Team", the most from any one squad.
Left guard Daryn Colledge, receiver Greg Jennings, linebacker A.J. Hawk, and punter Jon Ryan all made King's list, which included 29 players total.
This week's opponent, the Patriots, had three selections - right tackle Ryan O'Callaghan, kicker Stephen Gostkowski and kick returner Laurence Maroney. The Saints, Bears and Texans also had three selections each. From the Texans, former University of Wisconsin tight end Owen Daniels made the list.
Donald Driver's 82-yard touchdown reception last Sunday at Minnesota was his third career TD pass of 80 or more yards. According to Elias Sports Bureau, that ties a Packers record with three other players - Billy Howton (two in 1952, one '53), Max McGee (1954, '58, '59) and Carroll Dale (1966, '67, '70).
Driver's other 80-yard-plus TD passes came in 2002, an 85-yarder at Chicago on Oct. 7 and an 84-yarder at Minnesota on Nov. 17.
Statistical change on sacks, punt
After a weekly film review at the league office, Elias Sports Bureau has changed the credit on two of the Packers' four sacks and one punt against Minnesota last Sunday.
The sack in the final minute of the second quarter, originally credited to Cullen Jenkins, is now a shared sack between Jenkins and Aaron Kampman. Also, the third-quarter sack credited to A.J. Hawk is now a shared sack between Hawk and Jenkins.
The change for Kampman now gives him 10 sacks this season, making him the eighth player in team history to reach double figures in one season. It also gives Kampman at least a share of a sack in six consecutive games, one shy of the team's longest streak of seven, set by Tony Bennett from Oct. 25 to Dec. 6, 1992.
In addition, the film review changed Jon Ryan's 66-yard punt on the first play of the fourth quarter to a 57-yard punt, lowering his average for the game from 51.3 yards to 50.0.