-THE PACKERS OWN a 2-and-1 record against Carolina in Lambeau Field. They won their first-ever meeting, in the NFC Championship Game played here on Jan. 12, 1996, 30-13, and have split with the Panthers in the regular season at home, dropping a 33-31 decision in 1999 and squeezing out a 17-14 win in their 2002 meeting here.
-HEAVY HITTER: GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman, who has taken the home-field "advantage" to a lofty level, boasts an imposing .875, composite "batting average" as a head coach in Lambeau Field. Under his direction, the Packers have won 28 of 32 games on home turf, the overall record including a 21-3 mark in regular season (the best in the NFL over the past three seasons), 6-0 in preseason and 1-1 in postseason play.
-A WORKING SABBATH: Sunday may be a day off for Packers players but it will be a busy one for Mike Sherman and his coaching and personnel staffs. In addition to preparing for the preseason finale against Tennessee four days later, they will begin to painstakingly move toward final decisions for the NFL's first mandatory roster cut-down, this one to 65 players, which must be made by 3 p.m., Tuesday (Aug. 26).
The final roster reduction for the regular season, to 53 players, will come five days later, Friday, Aug. 31, also by 3 p.m., CDT.
Once the latter process is completed, clubs may establish a Practice Squad of five players after 11 a.m. CDT, Monday, Sept. 1.
-DUAL LEADER: Second-year linebacker Marcus Wilkins comes into tonight's game as the Packers' statistical leader in two categories. He leads in quarterback sacks with 3.0 and he also is out front in special teams tackles with 4 - in addition to being tied with prize rookie Nick Barnett for second place on the defensive unit with 16 total tackles.
-'FIVE' AT A TIME: Running back Herbert "Whisper" Goodman, an impressively productive performer to date, has averaged 5.4 yards for 32 "touches" of the football - 89 yards on 25 rushing attempts, a 3.6-yard average, and 83 yards on 7 pass receptions, an 11.9-yard average.
-THE VISITING PANTHERS lead the NFL in preseason scoring defense, having allowed only 10 points in their two outings to date. They also own the highest margin of points scored to points allowed, 30, based on 40 points scored.
-DOUBLE NUMBERS: With a temporary shortage of jersey numbers, two Packers on offense will share numbers with two Packers on defense for tonight's game. Offensive tackle David Porter and defensive tackle Larry Smith will be wearing the same number, 73, and offensive tackle Reggie Coleman and defensive end/tackle Cullen Jenkins will likewise share a number, 75.
-THE PACKERS' CONTRIBUTION from the proceeds of tonight's game will add to a total in excess of $2.6 million raised for the Shrine's charities over the game's half-century existence. The 2003 contribution "will go to the Chicago unit of the Shrine hospitals for crippled children," according to Robert E. Manske, executive director of the Midwest Shrine Game for Milwaukee's Tripoli Shrine.
The Packers have won 26 of the 53 games played in the Shrine series, launched in 1950, lost 24 and tied 3.
-QUICK QUOTE: Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, after being given a personal tour of renovated Lambeau Field by Packers President Bob Harlan last week, was much impressed. "Stunning," he said. "I think that's the only word for it."
Selig, a member of the Packers' board of directors, was in Green Bay for a quarterly directors' meeting.
-THE 'ANNUAL' ANTHEM: Janine Brass, a former Shrine patient from Rockford, Ill., returns to sing the national anthem prior to tonight's game from her wheelchair for the eighth time in the last nine years. Janine, a music teacher, suffered a spinal cord injury in July of 1983 when she was 11 years old and has been in a wheelchair ever since.
-THE SCHEDULE: Magnetic 2003 Packers schedules are being distributed to fans at the stadium gates tonight, courtesy of Miller Lite.
-CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: The Packers, who squeezed their first three preseason games into an 11-day span (Kansas City Aug. 4, Atlanta Aug. 9 and Cleveland Aug. 15, all on the road) now close out their non-league agenda with a pair of contests in a 5-day span, hosting Carolina tonight and the Tennessee Titans Thursday night (Aug. 28).
-TIME FOR TITANS: Kickoff for the Tennessee contest, designated as the 43rd annual Bishop's Charities Game, is set for 7:05, CDT (Wisconsin time).