TODAY: Two of the league's cornerstone franchises, with arguably the NFL's richest histories and most passionate fans, clash in the anchor game of CBS' national doubleheader...The Steelers return to Lambeau Field for the first time in a decade. It's also the teams' first meeting in seven years...Dusting off the bleachers, the Packers host a game at Lambeau Field for the first time in 28 days; it's the only Green Bay home game over a 42-day stretch.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY -
-Needs eight tackles for 400 career. Barnett (96 in 2005) is on pace to post 219 this year. The most tackles ever recorded (since 1975) by a Packers player is 180 by Mike Douglass in 1981.
-Needs two punt returns to surpass No. 5 Johnnie Gray (85) on the Packers' all-time list, Chatman enters with 84.
-With a catch, can extend his streak of games with a reception to 56. The stretch 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).
-Needs two TD receptions at Lambeau Field to tie No. 3 Robert Brooks (17) and five to tie No. 2 Sterling Sharpe (20) on the stadium's all-time list. Franks enters with 15 Lambeau Field TD receptions.
-On Green Bay's all-time sacks list, needs 21/2 to surpass No. 2 Tim Harris (55). Gbaja-Biamila enters with 53 career sacks, 151/2 shy of Reggie White's franchise record, 681/2.
-Needs five passes defensed for 100 career. Harris, who owns a team-leading 10 on the year, enters with 95.
-Needs two points for 1,000 career. Already Green Bay's all-time leading scorer, Longwell enters with 998.
NOT YOUR NORMAL 1-6 TEAM: According to Elias Sports Bureau,Green Bay is the first team in NFL history to open a season 1-6 and outscore its opponents (158-139).
A YEAR'S WORTH OF BAD LUCK IN SIX LOSSES: The odds of being struck by lightning twice in a lifetime? One in nine million. The odds of a team being bit by a snake as many times as the Packers have in their first seven games? Probably comparable. The Packers again attempt to stiff-arm the cloud of bad luck that seems to shadow them at every turn this year. That cloud isn't just reserved for them, either. Even the singers who have performed the Packers' last two national anthems - at Minnesota Oct. 23 and at Cincinnati Oct. 30 - have botched the song. A game-by-game capsule of critical bounces that didn't go Green Bay's way in its six losses:
Sept. 11 at Detroit -- 17-3: Penalties wipe out 75 yards in offensive gains, including a 55-yard Brett Favre pass to Javon Walker. That play, in which the Pro Bowl WR tears his ACL and is lost for the year, had the Packers at the Lions' 3-yard line in a 10-3 game, but an official flags Walker for offensive pass interference.
Sept. 18 vs. Cleveland -- 26-24: Inadvertent whistle negates a Packers fumble recovery in Cleveland territory. Instead of potentially taking a lead into halftime, Green Bay gives up a field goal and trails 13-7.
Sept. 26 vs. Tampa Bay -- 17-16: Missed FG and first missed PAT in four years ironically happen in one-point loss. Inadvertent whistle nullifies Brian Griese fumble and likely defensive TD, which would've given Packers a 20-17 lead entering fourth quarter.
Oct. 3 at Carolina -- 32-29: Deflected INT ends promising drive at Panthers 21, leads to 23-7 Carolina lead. Packers lose three starters: LT Chad Clifton, C Mike Flanagan and SLB Na'il Diggs, who sprains his MCL just two months after sustaining the same injury in his other knee. Also, rookie WR Terrence Murphy carted off on stretcher (neck trauma). Deflected fourth-down pass ends valiant comeback bid.
Oct. 23 at Minnesota -- 23-20: Ruptured quadriceps tendon ends season of Pro Bowl RB Ahman Green in second half; Packers can't capitalize on 17-0 halftime lead, miss two FGs and lose a zero-turnover game for first time since 1997.
Oct. 30 at Cincinnati -- 21-14: Five interceptions and - of all things - an intoxicated fan who literally takes the ball out of the Packers' hands with the Bengals admittedly on their heels and out of breath, loom large in close game. Donald Lee loses potential TD pass in the sun with Packers down 14-7; Packers' third-string RB, Tony Fisher, injures ribs.
BEST WISHES, ARNIE: Today marks the last Packers game for Arnie Stapleton as a member of the team's press corps. Stapleton, the state's Associated Press sports editor who has covered the Packers for 12 seasons (1993-98, 2000-05), is moving to Denver to take a similar position. The entire Green Bay organization thanks him for his objective fairness in his coverage during one of the most memorable periods in franchise history.
ANOTHER STARTING RB: If Tony Fisher is inactive today, the Packers in only their eighth game could start a fourth player at running back. Ahman Green (quadriceps tendon) and Najeh Davenport (broken ankle) are both on injured reserve. Fisher sustained a freak rib injury last week at Cincinnati. If ReShard Lee makes his first career start this afternoon, at least history is on his side. The last two RBs to make their first NFL starts in a Packers uniform, Davenport (19-178, TD, vs. St. Louis in 2004) and Fisher (25-96, TD, vs. Minnesota in 2002), averaged 137 yards on the ground. The last time Green Bay started as many as four backs in a season was 1998, when Dorsey Levens (4), Raymont Harris (3), Travis Jervey (5) and Darick Holmes (4) drew starting assignments.
PREGAME/HALFTIME: Country recording artist Katrina Elam will perform our Star Spangled Banner...On the heels of the song, four F-16s from the 115th Fighter Wing of the Wisconsin Air National Guard in Madison will skim the light towers (weather permitting)...At halftime, the Packers will introduce the state's annual Punt, Pass & Kick competitors in all age groups.
POOL REPORTERS: Appointed by the Professional Football Writers of America, Cliff Christl (primary) of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Mike Vandermause (alternate) of the Green Bay Press-Gazette are today's pool reporters.
NEXT WEEK: Green Bay plays its third road game in four weeks, traveling to Atlanta to meet the 5-2 Falcons, a 3:15 p.m. CST kickoff...Pittsburgh gets the Sunday night contest, an 8:30 EST kickoff at home against Cleveland.