TODAY: Faced with their most significant adversity in 14 years, the Packers bid for a key victory against a tough opponent on the road...While the Packers lost two more offensive starters Sunday at Minnesota (RB Ahman Green and WR Robert Ferguson), today they hope to return Pro Bowl center Mike Flanagan...The contest features two of the league's youngest teams. Each club's roster averages 26.3 years...The 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, 14 are either no longer standing or no longer in use by the NFL, including Cinergy Field/Riverfront Stadium.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY -
- Needs six punt returns to surpass No. 5 Johnnie Gray (85) on the Packers' all-time list, Chatman enters with 80.
- With a catch, can extend his streak of games with a reception to 55. The stretch is the fourth longest in Packers history. Next up on the list are Hall of Famer James Lofton (58), current running backs coach Edgar Bennett (60) and all-time leader Sterling Sharpe (103).
- Needs 26 attempts to surpass No. 2 John Elway (7,250). Favre enters with 7,225.
- Needs 171 passing yards to surpass No. 2 John Elway (51,475). Favre enters with 51,305.
- Needs two receptions for 200 career.
- Needs five receptions to surpass No. 2 Ed West (202) on the team's all-time tight ends list. Franks enters with 198.
- On Green Bay's all-time sacks list, needs 2.5 to surpass No. 2 Tim Harris (55). Gbaja-Biamila enters with 53 career sacks, 15.5 shy of Reggie White's franchise record, 68.5.
- Needs five passes defensed for 100 career. Harris, who owns a team-leading 10 on the year, enters with 95.
- Needs four points for 1,000 career. Already Green Bay's all-time leading scorer, Longwell enters with 996.
DROPS SEEM TO BE OUT OF THEIR SYSTEM: Lost in the struggles of the Packers' offense this season, Green Bay targets have dropped only seven of 224 passing attempts (STATS, Inc.). With 150 completions and seven drops, 157 Packers passes have been "catchable." So, Green Bay has dropped only 4.5 percent of catchable passes, a figure that ranks fifth in the league. The league's top "good hands" teams, entering play this weekend (ranked by ratio of drops to catchable passes):
Club: Att-Cmp; Drops-Catchable Att; Drops/Catchable
Indianapolis Colts: 204-139; 4-143; 2.8%
Cincinnati Bengals: 233-164;7-171; 4.1%
St. Louis Rams: 273-180; 8-188; 4.3%
San Diego Chargers: 201-130; 6-136; 4.4%
Green Bay Packers: 224-150; 7-157; 4.5%
TURNOVER MARGIN TURNED OVER: The Packers haven't committed a turnover in nearly a month, since an interception in the second quarter Oct. 3 at Carolina.
-Entering this afternoon, the streak without a giveaway is 155 offensive snaps.
-The Packers today can string together three games without a turnover for the first time in the Mike Sherman era (2000-05).
-Since their last turnover, the Packers have seven takeaways, a plus-seven ratio.
-Brett Favre since that interception, a pass taken away from Robert Ferguson on a promising drive into Carolina territory, has completed 68.4 percent of his passes (65 of 95) for 730 yards and eight touchdowns, a 119.2 passer rating, all without a sack.
-Last week at Minnesota, the Packers lost a contest in which they did not commit a turnover. The last time that happened was Dec. 1, 1997, also a loss at Minnesota. Green Bay had won 22 straight zero-turnover contests, including all 16 under Mike Sherman.
-The Packers also lost a game in which they won the turnover margin, snapping a 26-game winning streak in those tilts. Green Bay is now 36-2 in such games under Sherman (38-2 including playoffs). Their last loss when winning the turnover margin? It also was at Minnesota, Oct. 21, 2001.
STILL A NO-SACK ZONE: Despite losing both starting guards to free agency, and Pro Bowl center Mike Flanagan for most of three games due to injury, the team has done extremely well protecting Brett Favre, who enters the week as the NFL's leading touchdown passer.
-The Packers have not given up a sack over their last 111 passing plays, since their first possession Oct. 3 at Carolina. Green Bay's eight overall sacks allowed ranks third in the league. Only two NFL teams have allowed fewer sacks in 2005: Indianapolis (5) and New England (7). Denver (9), Carolina, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Miami and the N.Y. Giants (all with 10) round out the league's leaders in fewest sacks allowed.
POOL REPORTER: Appointed by the Pro Football Writers, Mark Curnutte of the Cincinnati Enquirer is the primary pool reporter for today's matchup.
NEXT WEEK: Green Bay on Sunday returns to Lambeau Field to host the Pittsburgh Steelers (3:15 p.m. CST; CBS)...Earlier that day (1 p.m. EST; CBS), Cincinnati is at Baltimore.