TONIGHT: Stung from an 0-3 start and two close losses, the Packers bid for their first win in a rematch of their 2004 Monday night opener...An unofficial division opponent, Carolina plays Green Bay for the ninth time in 10 years. Over the past decade (1996-2005), the only year in which the clubs did not meet was 2003 - and they nearly met that season in the NFC Championship game...Former Packers guard Mike Wahle, who signed as a free agent with the Panthers in March, meets his old teammates for the first time.
NFL'S TOP MONDAY NIGHT RECORD: Mike Sherman said this week that the extra day of rest is vital to his players in preparing physically for a Monday night game. This week, for example, he used Wednesday to rest starters Donald Driver (ankle), Aaron Kampman (thigh), Bubba Franks (knee) and Ahmad Carroll (knee). While Sherman takes more pride in the team's short-week success - its record the week after playing on Monday night - no other NFL team owns a better record on Monday night since he became Packers Head Coach in 2000:
Green Bay: 9-3, .750
Philadelphia: 8-3, .727
Indianapolis: 4-2, .667
N.Y. Jets: 4-2, .667
St. Louis: 9-5, .643
WHAT'S AT STAKE?: The Packers need to go at least 8-5 over their final 13 contests, starting tonight, to keep alive the league's longest active streak of non-losing seasons. Longest stretches in NFL history:
21, Dallas Cowboys, 1965-85
16, San Francisco 49ers, 1983-98
Oakland Raiders, 1965-80
15, Miami Dolphins, 1989-2003
Baltimore Colts, 1957-71
Chicago Bears, 1930-44
14, Green Bay Packers, 1934-47
13, Pittsburgh Steelers, 1972-84
Green Bay Packers (current), 1992-2004
12, Green Bay Packers, 1921-32
STIFF COMPETITION: The Packers tonight face the NFL's leading receiver entering the weekend, Steve Smith (tied for first with 23 catches), one week after taking on the league's leading rusher, Cadillac Williams.
FIRST BLOOD ON THE ROAD: When scoring first in road games, the Packers have won eight in a row and 10 of their last 11.
-The team's only loss during that span was Oct. 19, 2003, a 34-24 defeat at St. Louis.
-Green Bay went 4-0 last season in such road games.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TONIGHT -
-With a catch, can extend his streak of games with a reception to 52. The strech 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).
-With a win would improve his record in this stadium to 5-1. Entering the night, he has won more games at only three other venues: Lambeau Field (76), Soldier Field (11) and Milwaukee County Stadium (7). He also has won four games at the Metrodome and old Tampa Stadium.
-Needs five receptions for 200 career.
-Needs two receptions for 300 career.
-Needs three rushing touchdowns to surpass No. 2 Paul Hornung (50) on the Packers' all-time list. Green enters with 48.
-Needs two overall touchdowns to surpass No. 4 Paul Hornung (62) and six to surpass No. 3 Sterling Sharpe (66) on the team's all-time list. Green enters with 61 in a Packers uniform.
-Needs 14 points to surpass No. 10 Clarke Hinkle (379) and 15 to surpass No. 9 Ted Fritsch (380) all-time in franchise history. Green enters with 366.
-Needs one rushing touchdown for 50 career.
-Needs one 100-yard rushing game for 30 career.
PACKERS REMAIN AMERICA'S TEAM: For the fourth straight season, a Harris poll has dubbed Green Bay the league's most popular football team. The company early last month surveyed 2,242 adults who say they follow pro football, and asked them to name their two favorite football teams. The Dallas Cowboys finished second in the poll.
TURNOVER MARGIN IS THE PACKERS' MEAL TICKET: The giveaway-takeaway ratio has long served as a determining factor in the outcome of football games at any level. But during Mike Sherman's tenure as Packers Head Coach (2000-05), the turnover margin has proved more important to Green Bay than any other NFL club (Elias Sports Bureau).
POOL REPORTER: Darin Gantt of the Rock Hill Herald is the primary pool reporter for tonight's matchup.
NEXT WEEK: Green Bay on Sunday welcomes the well-traveled New Orleans Saints, the second and final noon kickoff at Lambeau Field this season...Later that afternoon, at 4:15 EDT, Carolina is at Arizona.