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Packers Notebook - Prepping To Go West


If wins could be shopped for like houses, the Green Bay Packers' next two opponents would be three-story mansions at double-wide prices.

On paper, at least.

As can't-miss as games against the bottom-dwelling San Diego Chargers (3-10) and Oakland Raiders (3-10) look within the margins of the NFL standings, they take on a whole new meaning once the three most important factors of real estate are considered: location, location, location.

Still clinging to postseason dreams, but running out of opportunities to secure a playoff spot, making back to back trips to the West Coast is hardly the ideal way for the 7-6 Packers to spend half of their December. But the hazards of the remaining schedule don't have to be the team's undoing.

"I don't see them as pitfalls as much as I see them as challenges," Sherman said Monday of his team's two trips west. "Just like going down to Tampa is a challenge, going to Minnesota is a challenge, this is just another challenge."

It's a challenge Sherman takes seriously, regardless of the fact that San Diego and Oakland are two of just five NFL teams to have been eliminated from playoff contention thus far.

After all, the Chargers are coming off a 14-7 win over the Detroit Lions, and it was only last month that the NFC-North leading Minnesota Vikings dropped two straight in back-to-back trips to play the Chargers and Raiders.

A game behind Minnesota in the race for the division title, the Packers can't afford even one loss at this stage. So, in an effort to take travel exhaustion out of the equation, Sherman has the Packers departing Green Bay for San Diego Friday evening rather than the traditional Saturday afternoon.

The only other time the Packers did that this season, was in preparation for the Tampa trip, which produced the team's first victory in six tries at Raymond James Stadium.

"It worked fairly well," Sherman said of the early departure. "Whenever you go to a city, you worry about the trappings that exist ... (but) the guys did a great job of handling that."

In fact, the Packers may have gotten more out of their accelerated travel schedule than an extra day's rest.

According to Sherman, the added time at the team hotel -- eating together, traveling to practice together, etc. -- served team chemistry, too.

"It's a camaraderie type of thing," Sherman said. "Guys kind of hang out together ... I think it helped us in that way as well."

Sherman has yet to decide whether the Packers will leave a day early for the Oakland trip, but hinted that he's leaning against it, since it's a night game, which by itself creates extra recovery time.

"Let's see how it works this week," Sherman said. "I kind of have that in my back pocket if I want to do that."

Record Watch

Ahman Green finished Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears just 12 yards short of Jim Taylor's single-season rushing record.

But Sherman said Monday that getting Green a few extra carries to push him over the 1,474-yard mark wasn't what he had in mind when he eschewed the punt and went for it on a fourth-and-1 at the Chicago 45-yard line with just over a minute remaining.

"The record had nothing to do with it," Sherman said. "It never even crossed my mind. I didn't know where he was on the record.

"My idea was, I did not want to punt the ball and give them a quick score if they did in fact block the punt."

Green was stopped for no gain on the play.

"We should have gotten the first down," Sherman said. "As I told the team after the game, we call fourth-and-1, we go for it, we've got to make it."

The Packers are 4-of-6 this season when going for it on fourth down.

Injury Update

Defensive backs Michael Hawthorne (hip flexor) and Bhawoh Jue (groin) both left the Chicago game early and could be listed as questionable this week ... Gilbert Brown (knee), Na'il Diggs (bruised ribs), Nick Luchey (ankle) and Marco Rivera (ankle) also got banged up against the Bears, but at this point are expected to play Sunday.

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