PACKERS, SAINTS SQUARE OFF ON MONDAY NIGHT
-Green Bay heads south to New Orleans for an NFC showdown on Monday Night Football. Each club comes into the contest at 5-5 and in the thick of the NFC playoff hunt.
-The Packers forced a three-way tie atop the NFC North behind a 37-3 victory over the Chicago Bears last Sunday. They controlled nearly every aspect of the game against their oldest rivals in what was clearly their most complete performance of the season.
-The Saints defeated the Chiefs 30-20 at Arrowhead Stadium over the weekend but remain in fourth place in the NFC South.
-The Packers lost their first two road games of the month by a combined four points. Despite the small losing streak, they have still won 10 of their last 15 away from home. Green Bay will look to snap that two-game road skid at the Superdome, a venue it has visited just once in the past 12 seasons.
-The Packers and Saints meet for the third time in four seasons. Green Bay holds a 14-6 advantage in the all-time series, which has never been played in prime time.
-Both teams make a return appearance on MNF after playing the Vikings earlier this season in the prime-time slot. The Packers beat the Vikings while the Saints lost at home. Green Bay will appear once more on Monday night in Week 16 at Chicago. The Packers, owners of the NFC's longest MNF appearance streak (1992-2008), have played remarkably even in the Monday night spotlight. Their all-time record in the game stands at 26-25-1.
McCARTHY RETURNS TO BIG EASY
-Head Coach Mike McCarthy returns to the area where he grew his reputation as one of the NFL's most respected offensive minds.
-McCarthy spent five seasons (2000-04) with the Saints as offensive coordinator, guiding the club to the most prolific offensive era in the team's four decades. The team set 10 offensive team records and 25 individual marks with McCarthy as its play caller. Monday night marks his first game in the city since leaving in 2004.
-Not surprisingly, McCarthy's staff in Green Bay has strong ties to the Saints organization. Eight assistant coaches have spent time in New Orleans either as a coach or player.
-New Orleans coach Sean Payton was one of the finalists and interviewed for the Packers head coaching job prior to 2006 season. Both coaches led their new teams to an appearance in the NFC Championship Game.
RETURNS KEEP COMING
-DE Jason Hunter returned a fumble 54 yards for a score against Chicago, Green Bay's ninth return touchdown of the season, a Packers record.
-The fumble return set another franchise record, becoming the seventh defensive touchdown of the season.
-The Packers lead all NFL clubs in return touchdowns (9), defensive touchdowns (7) and interception returns for touchdowns (6).
-CB Will Blackmon has returned two punts for scores. The last Green Bay player with multiple punt returns for touchdowns in a season was WR Desmond Howard, who returned three for scores in 1996.
-Six TDs have come on interceptions returns: three by S Nick Collins, two by CB Charles Woodson, and one from S Aaron Rouse.
-Green Bay has allowed just one return TD this season, a 38-yard fumble return by Tampa Bay.
-With six return TDs by interception thus far, Green Bay ties Vince Lombardi's 1966 championship club for the most in franchise history. Green Bay not only has an eye on its own record books, but with six games left, league records as well.
Team, Season, INT TDs
San Diego, 1961, 9
Seattle, 1998, 8
Seattle, 1984, 7
St. Louis, 1999, 7
THIRD-DOWN SUCCESS FOR RODGERS, BREES
-Coming off a 1-for-11 third-down performance at Minnesota, the Green Bay offense rebounded to convert 7-of-14 third downs against Chicago.
-The Packers now rank 13th in third-down offense, having converted 57-of-136 (41.9%) opportunities. The New Orleans defense ranks 13th on third down, allowing opponents to convert 37.3% (47-of-126).
-Green Bay's third-down defense has allowed 52-of-138 (37.7%), 14th in the NFL, and faces a Saints team ranked No. 4 in the category.
-No NFL signal callers have been stronger on third down than Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. Brees (120.5) is the NFL's top-ranked passer on third down and is the only quarterback to have not thrown an interception on the down. Meanwhile, Rodgers ranks No. 2 on third down with a passer rating of 114.5 (65-of-98, 66.3%, 778 yards).
-Ten of Rodgers' 15 TD passes have come on third down. San Diego's Philip Rivers is the next closest passer with nine TDs on third down.
WEARING THE STRIPES
Today's officiating crew includes referee Walt Coleman (65), umpire Undrey Wash (96), head linesman Paul Weidner (87), line judge Carl Johnson (101), field judge Eddy Powers (38), side judge Rick Patterson (15) and back judge Greg Steed (12).
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
20 ATARI BIGBY
-Has five interceptions in his last nine regular-season games played.
36 NICK COLLINS
-First NFL safety to have three interception return TDs since Kansas City's Lloyd Burruss in 1986.
-Needs one INT TD to match the NFL season record.
-Tied with Herb Adderley (1965) for team single-season record with three interception returns for touchdowns.
-Third in team history with 230 interception return yards, trailing only Darren Sharper (233 in 2002) and Bobby Dillion (244 in 1956).
2 MASON CROSBY
-Needs 12 points for a second consecutive 100-plus point season.
-Has hit 31-of-34 field goals from 39 yards and in.
-Has hit 13-of-18 field goals from 40-49 yards.
-Has hit 6-of-10 field goals from 50-plus yards.
80 DONALD DRIVER
-Has a reception in 105 consecutive games, besting the franchise's previous long streak of Sterling Sharpe's 103 (1988-94).
25 RYAN GRANT
-When he carries the ball 19-or-more times, the Packers are 9-1.
85 GREG JENNINGS
-Has caught a pass in 37 consecutive games.
-Needs 135 receiving yards to notch his first 1,000-yard season.
-Ranks fourth in the NFL in receiving yards (865), first in 20-plus yard catches (15) and first in 40-plus yard catches (six).
74 AARON KAMPMAN
-His 35 sacks since 2006 ranks second among all NFL players (DeMarcus Ware, Dallas, 36.5).