-MIKE SHERMAN, as both an assistant and head coach, is undefeated (2-0) against the 49ers in regular season competition. He was Green Bay's offensive line coach for the Packers in their 36-22 victory over the Prospectors in 1998 (Nov. 1) and the team's first-year head coach in 2000 when the Green and Gold pulled out a 31-28 win (Oct. 15) on a late Ryan Longwell field goal.
Sherman is 1-1 against the Niners in the postseason. In 1998, when he was an assistant coach, the 49ers shaded the Packers in a Wild Card playoff, 30-27,on Jan. 3, and last Jan. 13, the Packers prevailed in another Wild Card showdown, 25-15.
-QUARTERBACK BRETT FAVRE needs one touchdown pass this afternoon to reach the 25-TD plateau for the seventh time in his career - all seven times in the past nine seasons. With three games remaining to play, he is in position to scale the 30-TD mark for the second year in a row and the seventh season overall.
-WITH RESPECT TO DURABILITY, Favre is making his 171st consecutive start, extending his record for quarterbacks (it also is the longest current streak for any NFL player) and playing in his 173rd straight game, second-longest streak in Packers history (behind Forrest Gregg's 187 straight).
-RUNNING BACK AHMAN GREEN, expected to make his 12th start of the season after sitting out last week's Minnesota game with a knee injury, returns to action needing only 33 rushing yards to scale the 1,000-yard mark for the third consecutive year. He would become only the third running back in Packers history to accomplish the feat. Jim Taylor, the team's all-time rushing leader, had a club-record five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (1960-64) and John Brockington three in a row (1971-73).
-GREEN ALSO IS in a position to move up among the Packers' all-time Top 20 receivers. He goes into action in 20th place with 184 career receptions, just three-behind 19th-ranking Jim Taylor and 4 back of Mark Chmura, 18th with 188 catches.
-SPLIT END DONALD DRIVER also could become a new member of the Packers' 1,000-yard club for receivers. Driver, among the NFL's leaders in average-per-catch (16.0), needs 40 yards to make it "one grand."
-THE PACKERS HAVE FORGED a curious scoring pattern this 2002 season. After posting the modest total of 47 points in the first quarter, they have amassed 128 in the second quarter, by far their strongest period of the season. In contrast, they have been essentially consistent in the second half, recording 93 points in the third quarter and 80 in the fourth.
Oddly enough, by halves, the Packers' point production has been virtually even - 175 points in the first half and 173 in the second.
-DESPITE THE INJURY WOES which have required a major shuffling of personnel, chiefly those that have seen starting tackles Mark Tauscher and Chad Clifton wind up on injured reserve, the Packers' offensive line has held up remarkably well to date.
The realigned group, with Mike Flanagan moved from center to left tackle and Earl Dotson stepping in at right tackle for Tauscher, has permitted only 23 sacks in 13 games, tied (with the New York Giants) for the third-lowest total among the NFC's 16 teams. Detroit leads with 16, followed by the 49ers with 18.
For the record, to date, Tauscher has missed 11 games and Clifton 4.
The O-Line's performance is essentially comparable to that of the mostly healthy '01 group, which ranked third in the league overall, allowing just 22 sacks over the 16-game route.
-SAFETY DARREN SHARPER, who leads the NFL in interception return yardage at the moment (214 yards to 208 for runner-up Rod Woodson of Oakland), has amassed 483 return yards with 26 career interceptions, an average of 18.6 yards per runback.
-LONGWELL'S SECOND NOW: As is widely known, Brett Favre owns the Packers' longest playing streak, 172 games, coming into this afternoon's game. But it may come as a surprise to discover that placekicker Ryan Longwell now ranks second in this category, having played in 93 straight games. Tyrone Williams, previously the runner-up, fell from the list when he sat out last week's game against Minnesota, ending his 108-game streak.
Long snapper Rob Davis is third on the current list, having played in 84 consecutive games, followed by guards Marco Rivera (64) and Mike Wahle (62) and center/left tackle Mike Flanagan (60).
-NEXT WEEK: The Packers wrap up their regular-season home schedule next Sunday (Dec. 22), hosting the Buffalo Bills in Lambeau Field, with kickoff set for 12 noon, CST (Wisconsin time).