Packers-Lions Week 12 Dope Sheet

Green Bay renews a Thanksgiving rivalry as it takes on division foe Detroit in the annual holiday contest for the first time since 2003. With a win this past Sunday over the Panthers, the Packers are off to their best start since 1962, when Vince Lombardi led Green Bay to a 10-0 start en route to a 13-1-0 record and the eighth world title in franchise history. - More | Packers-Lions Game Center

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*Two years after he co-founded the Packers with Curly Lambeau, George Calhoun began writing a piece called The Dope Sheet, which served as the official press release and game program from 1921-24.

Honoring Calhoun, the first publicity director, the Packers are running this weekly feature as their release, which is being made available to fans exclusively on Packers.com.

A complete edition of the Dope Sheet will be available each week during the season in PDF format, located in the Packers.com Game Centers.

Here are some highlights from the Packers-Lions Week 12 Dope Sheet:*

PACKERS,LIONS RENEW HOLIDAY TRADITION

GREEN BAY (9-1) at DETROIT (6-4)

-Green Bay renews a Thanksgiving rivalry as it takes on division foe Detroit in the annual holiday contest for the first time since 2003.

-Green Bay comes into the contest winners of 13 of its last 14 games and tied for the NFC's best record.

-With a win this past Sunday over the Panthers, the Packers are off to their best start since 1962, when Vince Lombardi led Green Bay to a 10-0 start en route to a 13-1-0 record and the eighth world title in franchise history. The team also started 10-0 in 1929 and went on to capture its first NFL title under team founder Curly Lambeau.

-The Packers carry a six-game road winning streak into Thursday's contest. A victory would established the third-longest road winning streak in franchise history.

-Green Bay has won seven of its last eight games against NFC North opponents, dating back to last season. Head Coach Mike McCarthy has yet to lose a division game on the road (4-0).

-Thursday's game has playoff implications for both clubs. The Packers own a three-game division lead over Detroit.

-Including a pair of playoff clashes early in quarterback Brett Favre's career, this marks Game No. 156 in the venerable Detroit-Green Bay series. Favre has more career passing yards against the Lions (7,774) than any opponent.

-The Packers have enjoyed recent success against the Lions. Winners of three straight, they have won 11 of the last 13 meetings between the longtime rivals. No other NFL teams have played every year since 1932, when the Packers first met the Lions, then known as the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans.

WITH THE CALL

-FOX Sports enters its 14th season as an NFL network television partner and will air the contest to a national 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 Larrivee (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 (channel 125 WTMJ feed) as part of the network's NFL Sunday Drive.

-Westwood One will air the game across the country. Mark Champion (play-by-play) and Kevin Kiley (analyst) will call the action, while Tommy Tighe hosts the pregame and halftime shows.

GREEN BAY ON THANKSGIVING DAY

-Thursday marks the 32nd Thanksgiving NFL game in Packers history.

-The Packers first played a league game on Thanksgiving in 1923, a 19-0 victory over the Hammond Pros. They last played on Thanksgiving against the Lions in Detroit in 2003, a 22-14 Lions victory.

-Thursday marks 56 years to the day when Green Bay first played at Detroit on Thanksgiving, a 52-35 Detroit victory on Nov. 22, 1951. The two rivals played for 13 consecutive seasons, from 1951-1963, before the league began rotating opponents for the Lions.

-Green Bay's 9-1 record marks its best start since 1962. Incidentally, the Packers headed into Detroit for a Thanksgiving showdown in '62 with a 10-0 record, a game also played on Nov. 22. That day, the Packers suffered their only blemish on the season.

-The Packers next played on the holiday in 1970, when they traveled to Dallas. They also played the Cowboys on Thanksgiving in a 1994 matchup.

-This will mark the third Thanksgiving contest between the Lions and Packers this decade. The Packers won a 29-27 contest against the Lions in 2001 behind two Favre touchdown passes, their last appearance in the Pontiac Silverdome.

-The clubs last met on Thanksgiving in 2003, a 22-14 Lions victory. Green Bay could not overcome five turnovers, and Lions kicker Jason Hanson connected on five field goals, including three in the fourth quarter to seal the victory for Detroit.

DEFENSE BEGINS TO DOMINATE

-Defensive coordinator Bob Sanders and his unit have steadily climbed the league rankings this season, finally playing the dominant football it showed signs of in 2006.

-During the team's four-game win streak to close the 2006 season, the unit climbed from 29th overall to 12th.

-In Week 10 against the Vikings, the defense posted the first shutout since Dec. 10, 2002, a 10-0 victory over Buffalo. The Vikings had previously owned the league's longest active scoring streak at 260 games. Minnesota's 260-game streak without a shutout also was the third-longest in NFL history.

-The defense has allowed 159 points thus far, tied for fifth-lowest in the NFL. Tennessee, which plays Monday night, ranks third with 152 points.

-Its 28 sacks are tied for fifth in the league, paced by the NFL's top sack duo. Defensive end Aaron Kampman, the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for October, has posted nine sacks, tied for third in the NFL. Fellow end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila has tallied eight-and-a-half sacks.

-26 1/2 of those sacks have come courtesy of the defensive line, which forms one of the deepest rotations in all of football. Their ability to pressure the quarterback while rushing just four frees up linebackers Nick Barnett and A.J. Hawk, two of the team's leading tacklers, to make plays.

-Not to be forgotten is perhaps the top cornerback duo in the NFL - Charles Woodson and Al Harris. No cornerback duo is as physical at the line of scrimmage, while Woodson continues to display his knack for the big play with four interceptions and two defensive scores on the season.

-Backed by a stout run defense ranked ninth in the NFL, the defense tends to make its big plays defending the pass. In a streak that dates back to last season, Green Bay has picked off at least one pass in 15 of the last 16 games. During the streak, the unit has 26 interceptions. Woodson has 10 of the interceptions during the streak.

NOBODY'S BETTER AFTER THE CATCH

-The league's No. 2-ranked passing offense has been bolstered by its receivers' ability to run after the catch.

-Big plays have served as a catalyst to the success of the Packers offense. Despite having the league's 30th-ranked rushing attack, the unit still ranks fourth overall thanks in large part to its dominance through the air.

-Wins over San Diego, Denver and Kansas City have all been highlighted by long touchdowns passes by Favre. Not to be overlooked is who he is throwing to, and what they are able to do once the ball is in their hands.

-Led by wide receivers Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, James Jones and tight end Donald Lee, Green Bay has amassed 1,488 yards after the catch, tops in the NFL.

-Behind the Packers at No. 2 is a team with a much more publicized group of receivers - the New England Patriots.

-The big-play ability of the Packers offense shouldn't come as a total surprise. Green Bay finished second in yards after the catch, behind New Orleans, in 2006.

'BIG 5' A NIGHTMARE MATCHUP

-For the second consecutive week, Green Bay displayed its new 'Big 5' formation with receivers Driver, Jennings, Jones, Ruvell Martin and Koren Robinson all split out wide.

-Again the Packers were successful in the formation, converting third downs and setting up scoring plays.

-Their third touchdown on the day was actually a variation of the formation, with the tight end Lee split wide and Favre again with an empty backfield. Lee found space in the middle of the field for a 26-yard scoring play shortly before halftime.

-"It's mismatches versus time (to throw) is what we're playing against," Favre said after the game. "If I was a defensive coordinator, I don't know who you stop or who you go in saying, OK, this is what we (have to prepare for) ... And for us that's a good thing. We have enough diversity to present its own set of problems."

-"It's important because our game is about match-ups," McCarthy said about the formation. "To me that's one of the most important aspects of game-planning. When you get to this point in the season you're looking at the injuries and different packages. Being able to take advantage of that is even more important. I think it's more evident when you watch the way that defenses react to four wide receivers or five wide receivers. There's a lot of respect and cautiousness in the way defenses approach it. I'm sure there will be a time when people challenge us (with) those particular sets, but it's definitely a weapon for us."

IN THE DIVISION

-The Packers under McCarthy have been extremely successful in the NFL's 'black and blue' division and currently boast a three-game lead.

-McCarthy is 7-2 in NFC North games since taking over in Green Bay and has yet to lose on the road in the division (4-0).

-Last season, the Packers finished tied for the NFL's best division record at 5-1, losing only to Chicago in the season opener.

-No other head coach in team annals had a better division mark in his rookie season than McCarthy.

FAVRE ON PACE TO ECLIPSE OWN MVP NUMBERS

-Quarterback Brett Favre compiled a passer rating over 100.0 for the seventh time this season, all seven of which have been in victory.

-Favre compiled a passer rating over 100.0 for the fourth consecutive week. He had three such games in Weeks 2-4.

-This marks the sixth time in his career that Favre had recorded at least three straight games with a passer rating over 100.0. He did it twice in 1995 (Nov. 12 - Dec. 3, 4 games; Dec. 16 - Jan. 6, 4 games) and twice again in 1996 (Sept. 1 - Sept. 15, 3 games; Dec. 22 - Sept. 1, 1997, 5 games). Favre was voted the league's MVP in both seasons.

-The last time he accomplished the feat prior to this season, Favre had five straight games with a passer rating over 100.0 during the team's Super Bowl XXXI run. The streak began with the final regular-season game against Minnesota (Dec. 22, 1996) and culminated in the first regular-season game the following season (vs. Chicago, Sept. 1). It included three playoff victories, most notably a 35-21 victory over New England in the Super Bowl.

-Elias Sports Bureau never intended for the passer rating to reflect efficiency on a game-by-game basis, but rather to measure the effectiveness of a quarterback over an entire season, or an entire career.

-Nonetheless, in games when Favre compiles at least a 100.0 rating, the Packers are 80-7 (.920).

-The Packers are a perfect 43-0 (1.000) at Lambeau Field when Favre hits the century mark. The team is 37-7 (.841) on the road when Favre eclipses the mark.

-What's more, Favre is on pace to set new career highs in a number of statistical categories, including completions, attempts, passing yards and completion percentage.

McCARTHY OFF TO BEST START IN CLUB HISTORY

-Notching his 17th victory in his 26th game since taking over head coaching duties at the offices on Lombardi Avenue, McCarthy has now won more games through his first 26 than any coach in franchise history.

-Mike Sherman had previously topped the list with a 16-10 record to open his coaching career in Green Bay. Vince Lombardi and Mike Holmgren both went 15-11 through their first 26.

THE DOPE ON THIS WEEK'S OPPONENT:

Packers vs. Detroit Lions:

All-time regular season: 82-64-7

All-time, postseason: 2-0

All-time, in Detroit: 33-40-3 (3-2 at Ford Field)

Streaks: The Packers have won three in a row and 11 of the last 13 meetings.

All-time, Thanksgiving: 11-18-2 (5-11-1 at Detroit)

Last meeting, regular season: Dec. 17, 2006, at Lambeau Field; Packers won, 17-9

Last meeting, regular season, at Detroit: Sept. 24, 2006, at Ford Field; Packers won 31-24.

Last meeting, Thanksgiving: Nov. 27, 2003, at Ford Field; Lions won 22-14.

COACHES CAPSULES

Mike McCarthy: 17-9-0, .654; second NFL season

Rod Marinelli: 9-17-0, .346; second NFL season

Head to Head: McCarthy 2-0

vs. Opponent: McCarthy 2-0 vs. Lions; Marinelli 0-2 vs. Packers

MIKE McCARTHY...Is in 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.

-Has won more games (16) in his first 25 contests than any other coach in franchise history.

-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.

ROD MARINELLI...Is in his second year as the Lions' 24th head coach.

-Named Lions head coach on Jan. 19, 2006, after 10 seasons (1996-2005) with Tampa Bay as defensive line coach; additionally was the Bucs' assistant head coach his last four seasons.

-In that 10-year tenure in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers recorded 416 sacks, with 328 1/2 coming courtesy of the defensive line, the most among all NFL defensive lines during that span.

-The Bucs' defensive front four garnered Top 5 rankings in sacks during six of the 10 seasons under Marinelli. That line also played a major role in setting an NFL record for consecutive games with a sack (69) from 1999-2003, a streak ended by the Packers on Nov. 16, 2003.

THE LIONS-PACKERS SERIES

-No other NFL teams have played every year since 1932, when the Packers first met the Lions, then known as the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans.

-Including a pair of playoff clashes early in Brett Favre's career, this week marks Game No. 156 in the venerable Detroit-Green Bay series.

-The Packers have won 16 consecutive contests over Detroit in Wisconsin, including the '94 playoffs. The streak includes seven Lions head coaches: Wayne Fontes (1992-96), Bobby Ross (1997-99), Gary Moeller (2000), Marty Mornhinweg (2001-02), Steve Mariucci (2003-04), Dick Jauron (2005) and Rod Marinelli (2006-Present).

-Before the '03 Thanksgiving loss at Ford Field, the Packers had won six straight over Detroit, the longest series winning streak by either team since the Lions won 11 straight from 1949-54.

-The Packers have scored more points (3,145) against the Lions than any other franchise.

{sportsad300}NOTABLE CONNECTIONS

Packers DE Cullen Jenkins (Belleville), WR Greg Jennings (Kalamazoo) and WR Ruvell Martin (Muskegon) are all Michigan natives...Packers WR Shaun?Bodiford played three games with Detroit in 2006 before he was acquired on waivers by Green Bay...Lions LB Paris Lenon (2002-05) and QB J.T. O'Sullivan (2004) previously played for the Packers...Detroit LB Alex Lewis played at the University of Wisconsin, while CB Tony Beckham played at Wisconsin-Stout...Green Bay DT Colin Cole spent one week on Detroit's 53-man roster in 2003, and all of the 2004 preseason with the Lions...Packers secondary coach Kurt Schottenheimer spent two seasons (2002-03) on staff with the Lions...Packers offensive quality control coach Ty Knott served a minority coaching internship in Detroit in 2001...Detroit receivers coach Kippy Brown was the Packers' running backs coach in 2000...Lions offensive coordinator Mike Martz was DT Ryan Pickett's head coach in St. Louis.

INDIVIDUALLY VS. DETROIT LIONS

Quarterback Brett Favre's career totals of 669 completions, 1,075 attempts and 7,774 yards against Detroit are his highest against any opponent, and his 21 wins rank second, one behind Chicago (22)...Donald Driver matched his career high with 11 receptions against the Lions on Nov. 10, 2002...Aaron Kampman has four career sacks...Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, the franchise leader in sacks, has 5 1/2 sacks against the Lions...Koren Robinson had an 80-yard TD reception on the Vikings' first play from scrimmage at Detroit in 2005 (Dec. 4), the longest TD catch of his career.

LAST MEETING, REGULAR SEASON

Dec. 17, 2006, at Lambeau Field; Packers won 17-9.

-Two rushing touchdowns by Vernand Morency lifted the Packers to a sweep over Detroit in the season series.

-Green Bay overcame four turnovers thanks to a defense that yielded just 142 yards and a 2-for-12 third-down conversion rate.

-The Packers pounded out a 12-play, 78-yard drive that took 6 minutes, 45 seconds off the fourth-quarter clock, culminating in Morency's second TD run of the day, a 21-yard gallop.

-Aaron Kampman and Corey Williams each collected sacks on Detroit's final drive, two of the Packers' six on the day, to seal the victory.

LAST MEETING, at DETROIT

Sept. 29, 2006, at Ford Field; Packers won 31-24.

-Favre completed 25 of 36 passes for 340 yards and three TDs for a season-high 127.1 passer rating. He hit Greg Jennings on a hitch route that the rookie receiver turned into a 75-yard touchdown - the 400th of Favre's career - midway through the first quarter, and the Packers never trailed to record McCarthy's first win as an NFL head coach.

-Jennings registered his first 100-yard game, finishing with three catches for 101 yards. Ahman Green had 131 yards from scrimmage (63 rushing, 68 receiving) and caught a 10-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter.

-Marquand Manuel's 29-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Packers a 14-7 lead, but Detroit responded with a 42-yard TD pass from Jon Kitna to Roy Williams, tying the game at 14 after one stanza.

-After a Green fumble with 54 seconds left gave the Lions one last chance to tie the score, Kitna's Hail Mary to the end zone on the game's final play fell incomplete.

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