Packers-Bears Press Box Notes

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PACKERS-BEARS IN THE WINDY CITY

  • The NFL's oldest rivalry plays out in Chicago today as the Packers and Bears meet on the gridiron for game No. 179 in the all-time series.
  • No two franchises in NFL annals have met more than Green Bay and Chicago, with the most-recent chapter coming down to the final moments of the fourth quarter. Green Bay took the season opener at Lambeau Field, 21-15, thanks to a late 50-yard scoring pass from QB Aaron Rodgers to WR Greg Jennings, then sealed the win with its fourth interception of the night.
  • With its win in the opener, Green Bay narrowed Chicago's lead in the series to a 81-90-6 advantage. A win today would give the Packers their first season sweep since 2003.
  • For the Packers, the late-season trip to Chicago is getting to be routine. Today marks the sixth consecutive year the Packers will play in Chicago in December or later.
  • Though they've lost two consecutive games at Soldier Field, both in frigid conditions, the Packers have still won 12 of the last 16 meetings in the Windy City. All-time at Soldier Field, Green Bay is an even 18-18-0.
  • Today also marks the final division game of 2009 for the Packers, 3-2 in division play thus far, and matches up teams heading in opposite directions. Green Bay has reeled off four consecutive victories, while Chicago has dropped six of its last eight games.
  • The roles are nearly reversed from last December's matchup, when Green Bay entered the game with slim playoff chances and hoped to knock its rival a step back in the playoff picture.

A FIRST FOR MATTHEWS

  • Thanks to his performance against the Ravens on Monday night, LB Clay Matthews was honored as the NFC Defensive Player of the Week, the first such honor of his career. Given his increasingly full stat line, and the Packers' standing as the league's No. 1 overall defense, he could be among the final candidates for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
  • Twice this season (Week 6, 10), Matthews has won Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week.
  • Matthews has seven sacks on the season, most on the Packers and tied with Washington's Brian Orakpo for the lead among all rookies. Matthews' three fumble recoveries also is tops among all rookies.
  • Matthews' father, Clay, was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week twice in his career with the Cleveland Browns (Week 12, 1984 and Week 9, 1991). They are the first father and son to win Player of the Week Awards.

HEATING UP IN DECEMBER

  • The smash-mouth affair versus Baltimore at Lambeau Field last Monday night is what December football in the National Football League is all about. A second-straight game in winter conditions is expected today in Chicago, and there will be no letup on either side in one of professional sports' most storied rivalries.
  • Armed with an incredible home-field advantage, Green Bay has been a consistently successful team this decade as the regular season winds down in December and January. Often times, as will be the case in Chicago, those games are the final determining factors in the race for playoff berths and seeding.
  • The Packers own one of the NFL's best home records since 2000 in regular-season games played in December and January. Now at 19-4 (.826), only New England (18-3, .857) and Denver (16-3, .842) own better home records over that period. Interestingly, each of the top three teams plays outdoors in what is usually cold temperatures.
  • But it's not just about wins at home, as Green Bay has proved to be one of the league's best teams in regular-season games played in December and January since 2000:

Team: W-L in Dec/Jan (Pct.)

New England: 34-8-0 (.810)

Pittsburgh: 32-12-0 (.727)

Green Bay: 31-12-0 (.721)

Philadelphia: 29-13-0 (.690)

Indianapolis: 29-15-0 (.659)

TODAY'S CAPTAINS

  • As per team tradition, the Packers select game captains each week.
  • Today's captains will be RB Ryan Grant (offense), S Nick Collins (defense) and FB Korey Hall (special teams).
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WEARING THE STRIPES

Today's officiating crew includes referee Mike Carey (94), umpire Steve Wilson (29), head linesman George Hayward (54), line judge Tom Barnes (55), field judge Buddy Horton (82), side judge Don Carlsen (39) and back judge Todd Prukop (30).

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

36 NICK COLLINS

  • With 12 interceptions since 2008, ranks tied for second among all NFL players with Baltimore's Ed Reed (12). CB Charles Woodson tops the list with 14.

2 MASON CROSBY

  • For his career, has hit 55-of-60 field goals from 39 yards-and-closer.
  • Has hit 18-of-26 field goals from 40-49 yards.
  • Has hit 7-of-16 field goals from 50-plus yards.

80 DONALD DRIVER

  • Needs 124 yards to reach 1,000 in 2009. His six 1,000-yard campaigns already is a franchise record.
  • Needs 135 receiving yards for 9,000 career. He ranks No. 2 on the franchise's all-time receiving yards list (8,865 career) behind No. 1 James Lofton (9,656).
  • Has a reception in 123 consecutive games, besting the franchise's previous long streak of Sterling Sharpe's 103 (1988-94).
  • At 49 career TD receptions, could join Don Hutson (99), Sharpe (65), Antonio Freeman (57) and Max McGee (50) as Packers with 50-plus receiving TDs.

25 RYAN  GRANT

  • Needs 69 rushing yards to surpass 1,000 in 2009.
  • Has 11 career 100-yard games.
  • When he gets 22 carries or more, the team is 9-1 (10-1 incl. playoffs).

85 GREG JENNINGS

  • His 19 catches of 40-plus yards since 2007 leads all NFL players.

12 AARON RODGERS

  • In 28 career starts, has eclipsed a 100.0-plus passer rating 15 times.
  • Has eight career 300-yard games and eight 3-TD games.

21 CHARLES WOODSON

  • Has 43 career interceptions, 26 in 58 games since coming to Green Bay in 2006. Woodson had 17 interceptions in 106 games with Oakland.
  • Is second in interceptions in the NFL since 2006 with 26 (Asante Samuel - PHI, 27). Woodson's 14 since 2008 leads all NFL players.
  • His six interception-return TDs since 2006 is the most in the league during that span.
  • His five sacks since 2008 lead all NFL defensive backs.
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