PACKERS HEAD EAST TO TAKE ON GIANTS
-The Packers kick off the road portion of their 2007 schedule Sunday as they take on the New York Giants. The Giants - not the Packers - were awarded the NFC's final playoff bid last season after four tiebreakers and mere percentage points.
-Green Bay enters the contest 1-0 after a 16-13 victory Sunday over Philadelphia. The Giants fell to the Cowboys, 45-35, on Sunday night. After defeating former Green Bay assistant Andy Reid in Week 1, the team again will face a former Packers assistant coach in Tom Coughlin.
-One of the most impressive accomplishments of Mike McCarthy's first year as head coach was the way his club performed on the road. The Packers finished 5-3 away from home last season, recording the most road wins in franchise history for a coach in his first season.
-The Packers last played at Giants Stadium in 2002. The game was originally scheduled for a Week 2 showdown but was postponed until January because of the Sept. 11 attacks. Today marks the sixth anniversary of that fateful day.
-A win for the Packers would mark the club's best start since 2001, when the team began the season with three consecutive victories.
THE IMPORTANCE OF A QUICK START
-There's no secret that early success increases an NFL team's chance to earn a playoff berth.
-Maintaining the confidence and momentum built during the four-game win streak to close 2006 has been a major focus of the offseason program for Head Coach Mike McCarthy and his team.
-Only defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis (six wins) has a longer winning streak than the Packers, winners of five straight.
-With the victory over the Eagles Sunday, the Packers won their first opener in three years and their opening game at Lambeau Field for the first time in the past five seasons.
-"It's the first step in getting off to a fast start," McCarthy said of the 16-13 victory. "We're 1-0. It's definitely the starting point of our season. We have a lot of work to do, there's no doubt about that, but it's an excellent team win."
-Slow starts have plagued the Packers the past three seasons, only one of which resulted in a postseason appearance (2004). That season, the team started 1-4 but won nine of its last 11 games.
-In 2005, injuries contributed to a 1-7 start while a 1-4 start in 2006 proved too much to overcome.
-A look at how important fast starts have become to eventual playoff success, compiled from 1990-2006:
Record through 4 games (% of teams in playoffs)
- Statistics provided by Elias Sports Bureau
FAVRE, ELWAY STAND ALONE
-Brett Favre and John Elway - opponents in Super Bowl XXXII - stand tied on the all-time quarterback wins list at 148. Favre can set a new NFL standard with a victory Sunday.
-Favre also will start his 239th consecutive game (259 including playoff games) under center for the Packers Sunday, another NFL record among quarterbacks.
WITH THE CALL
-FOX Sports enters its 14th season as an NFL network television partner and will air the contest to a regional audience. Play-by-play man Joe Buck joins color commentator Troy Aikman in the broadcast booth with Pam Oliver serving as the sideline reporter.
-Milwaukee's WTMJ (620 AM), airing Green Bay games since 1929, heads up the 56-station Packers Radio Network, with Wayne Larivee (play-by-play) and two-time Packers Pro Bowler Larry McCarren (color) calling the action. The network covers 47 markets in six states.
-For out-of-town listeners, the broadcast is available to NFL Field Pass subscribers on www.packers.com as well as on Sirius Satellite Radio as part of the network's NFL Sunday Drive.
THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT:
Packers vs. New York Giants:
All-time regular season: 24-21-2
All-time, in New York: 14-15-2
Streaks: The Packers have won three of the last four meetings.
Last meeting, regular season: Oct. 3, 2004, at Lambeau Field; Giants won, 14-7
Last meeting, regular season, at Giants Stadium: Jan. 6, 2001; Packers won, 34-25
All-time postseason: 4-1 (All NFL Championships)
-Dec. 11, 1938, Giants 23-17, Polo Grounds, New York
-Dec. 10, 1939, Packers 27-0, State Fair Park, Milwaukee
-Dec. 17, 1944, Packers 14-7, Polo Grounds, New York
-Dec. 31, 1961, Packers 37-0, City Stadium, Green Bay*
-Dec. 30, 1962, Packers 16-7, Yankee Stadium, New York
*-renamed Lambeau Field, 1965
Mike McCarthy: 9-8-0, .529; second NFL season
Tom Coughlin: 97-90-0, .519; 12th NFL season (fourth Giants)
Head to Head: First meeting
vs. Opponent: McCarthy 0-0 vs. Giants; Coughlin 1-2 vs. Packers
MIKE McCARTHY...Begins second year as the Packers' 14th head coach.
-Was named Packers head coach on Jan. 12, 2006, his first head coaching job after 13 years as an NFL assistant.
-Led the Packers to an 8-8 finish and near playoff berth, losing a tiebreaker with the New York Giants, who also finished 8-8.
-Spent six seasons as an offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints (2000-04) and San Francisco 49ers (2005).
-Began his coaching career as a college assistant at Fort Hays State (1987-88) and at the University of Pittsburgh (1989-92) before breaking into the NFL as a quality control assistant with the Chiefs in 1993.
TOM?COUGHLIN...Begins fourth year as the Giants' 16th head coach.
-In his 12 years as an NFL head coach, has won three division titles and led his team to the playoffs six times.
-Coached nine seasons in Jacksonville as the club's first head coach.
-Spent two seasons as wide receivers coach in Green Bay (1986-87).
-In addition to servings as an assistant with the Packers, has also spent time with the Philadelphia Eagles (1984-85) and the Giants (1988-90) as wide receivers coach.
-Has been a head coach ever since, first serving at Boston College (1991-93) before his stints with the Jaguars and Giants.
THE PACKERS-GIANTS SERIES
-Calvin Coolidge was in the White House when the teams launched their series in 1928.
-Two of the most venerable franchises in professional football history, the teams have combined for 18 championships. Green Bay (12 titles) ranks No. 1 among all NFL franchises, while the Giants (6) rank third.
-With both teams finishing 8-8 in 2006, it took four tiebreakers and percentage points to give the Giants - and not the Packers - the NFC's second Wild Card berth last winter.
-Brooklyn-born Vince Lombardi, formerly an offensive assistant with the Giants before accepting the head coach and general manager position in Green Bay in 1959, led the Packers over the Giants twice in the NFL championship.
-Fierce rivals in the early decades of the NFL, the two teams have played only five times in the past 20 seasons.
In Green Bay, Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin was wide receivers coach for two seasons (1986-87) under Forrest Gregg...Giants secondary coach/cornerbacks Peter Giunta spent five seasons on the Kansas City staff (2001-05) with Packers defensive ends coach Carl Hairston...Current Green Bay wide receivers coach Jimmy Robinson spent six seasons (1998-2003) in the same position with the Giants; a number of Giants receivers, including Amani Toomer, set franchise standards that still stand...Robinson also spent four seasons (1976-79) as a wide receiver for the Giants...Offensive quality control coach Ty Knott served under Coughlin in Jacksonville in 2002 as offensive assistant/quarterbacks coach...Packers running back Ryan Grant was acquired from the Giants in a trade on Sept. 1...Packers cornerback Frank Walker spent four seasons with the Giants (2003-06) before signing as an unrestriced free agent with Green Bay...Safety Charlie Peprah was the Giants' fifth-round pick in 2006 and claimed on waivers by Green Bay before the start of the '06 season...Giants guard Grey Ruegamer played three seasons in Green Bay (2003-05)...Giants defensive end Justin Tuck played collegiately at Notre Dame with Packers wide receiver Carlyle Holiday and running back Ryan Grant...Packers cornerback Will Blackmon and Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka were all-conference performers as teammates at Boston College; the duo also spent time there with Giants guard Chris Snee.
INDIVIDUALLY VS. NEW?YORK?GIANTS
Quarterback Brett Favre is 3-2 in five career starts against the Giants and 2-1 in starts at New York...In the five contests, Favre has completed 89-of-150 attempts for 1,112 yards and seven touchdowns; the most memorable came in 2004, when Favre completed a touchdown pass just three plays after suffering a concussion...Defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila recorded 11/2 career sacks agains the Giants...Formerly a division foe with the Eagles, cornerback Al Harris has made 18 career tackles against the Giants...Cornerback Charles Woodson has 11 career tackles in two games against the Giants, both while he was in Oakland.
LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON
Oct. 3, 2004, at Lambeau Field; Giants won, 14-7.
-The Packers and Giants battled to a scoreless first half, the first at Lambeau in nearly 25 years, before the Giants scored 14 unanswered points to close the contest.
-Brett Favre sustained a concussion in the third quarter when defensive lineman William Joseph knocked him to the ground. Favre's backup Doug Pederson took over the next two plays before Favre waved him back off the field. Favre re-entered the game without medical clearance and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass on fourth down. Doctors did not allow Favre to return.
-Giants running back Tiki Barber scored on a 52-yard run just one minute later to tie the score. Barber finished with 182 rushing yards.
-Quarterback Kurt Warner hit tight end Jeremy Shockey with a 4-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to put the Giants ahead for good.
LAST MEETING, AT GIANTS?STADIUM
Jan. 6, 2002; Packers won 34-25.
-The contest was originally scheduled for Sept. 16, but was postponed until January because of the Sept. 11 attacks.
-Green Bay clinched a home playoff game with a victory and pushed its regular-season record to 12-4.
-Favre threw for 315 yards and two touchdowns and Ahman Green rushed for 101 yards and two scores as the Packers held off a late rally.
-The Packers took a 14-0 lead on their first seven snaps, as Favre hit Bill Schroeder for a 28-yard touchdown and Ahman Green capitalized on a Giants' turnover with a 25-yard run to the end zone.
-Two more second-half scores - again coming on the arm of Favre and feet of Green - ended the scoring for Green Bay.