PACKERS KICK OFF 2008 SEASON IN PRIME TIME
-Green Bay kicks off its 90th season in franchise history - its 88th as a member of the National Football League - as the archrival Minnesota Vikings come to Lambeau Field for a Monday night showdown.
-Green Bay opens the season at home for the third consecutive season. The Packers are 48-36-3 (.569) all-time in season openers. Only Chicago (50) has more all-time wins on opening day than Green Bay.
-For the fourth time in club history, Green Bay opens the season on Monday Night Football. The team is 3-0 in its previous MNF openers.
-Just as it has dealt with the spotlight all offseason, Green Bay kicks off 2008 in front of a national audience. All eyes will be on new Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who will become the first quarterback other than Brett Favre to start a Packers game since Don Majkowski, Sept. 20, 1992.
-Monday night marks the 95th meeting in the all-time series between the clubs. For the sixth time in the series, they will meet in the season opener.
-In a rivalry that has exhibited great parity over the years (Packers 48-45-1, including playoffs), Green Bay could establish the first five-game winning streak in the series in nearly 25 years. The last such streak in the series came during the 1983-85 seasons, when the Packers won five straight.
-Honored by the NFL Alumni and Motorola as 2007 NFL Coach of the year, Mike McCarthy has not lost to the Vikings (4-0) since arriving in Green Bay in 2006.
PLENTY OF OPTIMISM IN GREEN BAY
-Led by McCarthy and Sporting News NFL Executive of the Year Ted Thompson, the Packers enter '08 as one of the league's strongest young teams.
-Winners of 17 of its last 20 regular-season games, Green Bay returns much of its core from a team that reached the NFC Championship Game. In fact, 21 of 22 starters return.
-The Packers will be among the league's youngest teams for a third straight year. But unlike previous years, Green Bay will have experienced NFL players at nearly every position. Only two rookies made their way onto the season-opening two-deep - both on offense.
-There's no doubt the team will be tested early. Five of its first eight games come against playoff teams from a year ago.
A MATCHUP OF YOUNG QUARTERBACKS
-Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been a mainstay in the headlines this offseason as he becomes the first quarterback not named Favre to start under center for Green Bay in nearly 16 years.
-Don Majkowski started for the Packers against the Bengals on Sept. 20, 1992, and 253 games later, Rodgers gets the nod.
-The last Packers quarterback not named Favre to start at Lambeau Field on Monday Night Football? It was Lynn Dickey, who led the club to a 12-9 overtime victory over Tampa Bay on Dec. 12, 1983.
-While Rodgers is slated to start his first game under center, it's not as if he's new to the NFL. Rodgers is entering his fourth year in the NFL - his third in Mike McCarthy's West Coast offense - and is already among the most tenured players in the locker room. Of the 53-man roster, only 10 have been in Green Bay longer than Rodgers.
-In his first preseason as the starter, Rodgers proved to be both accurate (68.5% completion rate) and efficient (103.6 rating).
-On Monday night, the fourth-year pro will be competing against a quarterback equally as young. Third-year Vikings QB Tarvaris Jackson is slated to make his 15th career start on Monday night.
-Among Week 1 starters in the NFC, only Falcons rookie quarterback Matt Ryan is younger than Rodgers and Jackson. A look at the youngest starting quarterbacks in the NFC:
Player, Team, Age
Matt Ryan, Atlanta, 23 (5/17/85)
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, 24 (12/2/83)
Tarvaris Jackson, Minnesota, 25 (4/21/83)
Kyle Orton, Chicago, 25 (11/14/82)
Jason Campbell, Washington, 26 (12/31/81)
-Lambeau Field. Season opener. Rivalry game. Monday Night Football. First game with Aaron Rodgers as the starting quarterback.
-Any single one of these factors would make this game a tough ticket to find. But put them all together, and undoubtedly few tickets will be floating around Lombardi Avenue in the hours before kickoff.
-Monday night will be the 270th consecutive sellout (254 regular season, 16 playoffs) at Lambeau Field, the league's longest-tenured stadium.
WEARING THE STRIPES
-Today's officiating crew includes referee Jeff Triplette (42), umpire Jim Quirk (5), head linesman Steve Stelljes (22), line judge Mike Spanier (90), field judge Boris Cheek (41), side judge Dave Wyant (16) and back judge Steve Freeman (133).
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
80 DONALD DRIVER
-Has a reception in 95 consecutive games, the franchise's second-longest streak behind Sterling Sharpe's 103 (1988-94).
-Stands 54 Lambeau Field receiving yards from surpassing No. 2 Lofton (3,330) and 201 from becoming the stadium's all-time leader ahead of Freeman (3,477). Driver (3,277) is No. 3.
25 RYAN GRANT
-Carries a streak of six consecutive games with a rushing TD into 2008, which ties the second-longest streak in Packers history. Terdell Middleton had a rushing touchdown in six straight games in 1978, and Paul Hornung scored in seven consecutive games in 1960.
-Needs 44 rushing yards to reach 1,000 career.
31 AL HARRIS
-Has played in 172 straight games (160 regular season, 12 playoffs), a streak that began in Philadelphia in 1998. Since coming to Green Bay in '03, has started all 80 regular-season games.
85 GREG JENNINGS
-Has caught a pass in 27 consecutive games.
74 AARON KAMPMAN
-His 271/2 sacks over the past two seasons rank second in the NFL behind Shawne Merriman (291/2).
-Need one sack to surpass No. 4 Ezra Johnson (411/2) on the team's all-time sack list. Kampman (41) enters at No. 5.
12 AARON RODGERS
-Will become the first quarterback other than Brett Favre to start a Packers game since Don Majkowski, Sept. 20, 1992.