TODAY: Green Bay meets the Texans for the first time, and makes its first trip to Houston, where the Packers are 3-0, since 1992...The Packers hope to avoid a third consecutive loss to the AFC, something that hasn't happened since 2000...The Packers look to extend a four-game winning streak, and a six-game winning streak on Sunday Night Football that began in 1996.
TODAY & IN COMING WEEKS -
-Will play in a 201st consecutive game (220 including playoffs) and make his 199th consecutive start (218 including playoffs), 83 more than the next-closest streak on the all-time quarterbacks list, 116 by Ron Jaworski (1977-84).
-Needs two TD passes to reach 20 on the season and surpass Dan Marino's NFL record for most consecutive seasons with at least 20. Marino did it 10 straight years, from 1983-92. Favre's also done it 10 straight years (1994-2003).
-Can extend his streak of games with a TD pass to 35, the NFL's second-longest streak behind Johnny Unitas' 47-game stretch (1956-60), one of the most revered marks in sports history.
-Needs three receptions to surpass No. 4 Rich McGeorge (175) on the team's all-time tight ends list. Franks enters today with 173.
-Needs one touchdown reception to surpass No. 2 Ed West (25) on the team's all-time tight ends list. Franks enters today with 25.
-Needs one-half sack to surpass No. 3 Ezra Johnson (41.5, 1982-87) in Green Bay history. He enters today with 41.5.
-Needs 136 yards rushing to post a fifth 1,000-yard season and tie Jim Taylor's franchise record (both overall and consecutive, Taylor also did it five straight years, 1960-64).
-Needs 51 carries for 1,500 career.
-Needs two rushing TDs for 50 career.
-Needs two overall TDs to tie No. 4 Paul Hornung (62) on the all-time Green Bay list. Green enters today with 60.
-Needs one reception to surpass No. 2 Gerry Ellis (267), and five to surpass No. 1 Dorsey Levens (271) on the Packers' all-time list among backs. Green enters today with 267.
-Needs 62 receiving yards for 2,000 career.
-If Ahman Green gains 136 yards rushing, would break Howard Griffith's NFL record among fullbacks by blocking for a 1,000-yard rusher in a seventh overall season. Griffith blocked for Terrell Davis, Olandis Gary, Mike Anderson, Anthony Johnson and Jerome Bettis.
-Needs to hit his first PAT to tie No. 1 Chris Jacke (134, 1990-94) among the team's all-time streaks. Entering today, Longwell has hit 133 straight, dating to Dec. 23, 2001.
-Needs six field goals for 200 career.
-Can make his 100th career start.
-Needs one touchdown to surpass both Bobby Dillon and Doug Hart (five) for second on the team's defensive TD list. Herb Adderley leads with seven defensive TD. Sharper enters today with five.
-Needs 108 receiving yards for 2,000 career.
-Needs 143 yards to record his first career 1,000-yard season. Would become only the second 1,000-yard receiver in Green Bay under Mike Sherman (also Donald Driver in 2002).
THE FLAG RETURNS TODAY: On Jan. 26, 1997, after the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI, two Houston-area friends began an interesting quarrel that will reach its climax before today's game.
-At a Houston Super Bowl party that day, Patriots fan John McBrine swiped a Packers flag from his friend, Green Bay fan Steve VanderArk.
-McBrine took the banner on a business trip to Russia the next day, and to tease VanderArk, took pictures of it in the country. After learning that McBrine planned to taunt a friend with the picture, the other subjects in the photo offered to take the flag on their trips, and add to the story.
-Over the last seven years, the flag's amazing journey has included a running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, and stops at the Great Wall of China and the pyramids in Egypt. Not only has the flag traveled all over the world, it's also traveled all around the world, literally, on board the U.S. Space Shuttle, the Russian space station Mir and the International Space Station.
-World-famous dignitaries, such as Nelson Mandela, and national recording artists and celebrities on the young Hollywood circuit have posed with the flag.
-Last week, the flag reached Lambeau Field for the first time. This week, the Packers took it with them to Houston, where the journey is expected to end.
-VanderArk, who apparently still does not know exactly what happened to his flag that Super Sunday in 1997, will find out today before the game, when the team will present it back to him, along with McBrine's scrapbook depicting the banner's incredible travels.
LONGEST WINNING STREAKS: The Packers bid for a fifth straight win, which would match their longest 2003 streak (regular season Games 13-16 and a Wild Card playoff win).
-In 2002, the club won seven straight, its longest winning streak within a season since 1963, when it won eight in a row.
-The Packers also look for a third consecutive win on the road. That's happened only twice during Sherman's tenure, once each in 2001 and 2002.
EARLY TRIPS: Mike Sherman opted to depart for Houston one day earlier than the conventional NFL road trip, leaving on Friday.
-This marks the sixth time Sherman has done that (also at Tampa Bay, at San Diego, at Oakland, at Philadelphia in 2003, and at Washington in 2004).
-The Packers are 4-1 on those trips. Their only loss was at Philadelphia in the 2003 NFL playoffs.
HOME POOL REPORTER: Carlton Thompson, Houston Chronicle.
NEXT WEEK: The Packers return to the national prime-time stage, hosting the St. Louis Rams Monday night at Lambeau Field. Houston squares off against Tennessee here at Reliant Stadium.