TODAY: The Packers and Vikings line up for the 89th time, including their only playoff encounter...Green Bay returns to the site of its most memorable 2004 win, a Christmas Eve clash that clinched the Packers' third consecutive division championship...The Packers will see Darren Sharper on the other side of the line for the first time since he signed as a free agent with the Vikings in March. Sharper, a two-time Pro Bowl safety, spent his first eight seasons (1997-2004) in Green Bay...The Packers have won eight of their last nine following bye weeks. Under Mike Sherman, they've won four in a row. This marks the third straight year the league slated Minnesota as the Packers' first foe out of the bye.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY -
-With a catch, can extend his streak of games with a reception to 54. The strech 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).
- Counting all recorded consecutive-starts streaks, will surpass the No. 4 streak, 210, held by the Raiders' Jim Otto (1960-74). Favre enters having started 210 consecutive games, the league's longest active streak, and longest ever among quarterbacks.
-Needs five receptions for 200 career.
- 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 two rushing touchdowns to match No. 2 Paul Hornung (50) on the Packers' all-time list. Green enters with 48.
- Needs two overall touchdowns to surpass No. 4 Paul Hornung (62) and six to surpass No. 3 Sterling Sharpe (66) on the team's all-time list. Green enters with 61 in a Packers uniform.
- Needs one rushing touchdown for 50 career.
- Needs one 100-yard rushing game for 30 career.
- Needs 12 points for 1,000 career. Already Green Bay's all-time leading scorer, Longwell enters with 988.
OVER THE LAST SIX QUARTERS: The Packers came out of their locker room Oct. 3 at Carolina staring at a 23-7 deficit, having just lost starting center Mike Flanagan, left tackle Chad Clifton and fledging rookie receiver/kickoff returner Terrence Murphy, carted off on a stretcher...Before the third quarter ended, Green Bay lost starting halfback Ahman Green and starting 'Sam' linebacker Na'il Diggs...Green Bay refused to give up, though, and nearly pulled off a come-from-behind win, led by - who else? - Brett Favre.
-Since halftime at Carolina, the Packers have outscored opponents 74-12 and outgained them 520-365, and their patchwork offensive line hasn't allowed a sack in its last 74 passing plays. The Packers' turnover margin is plus-six (no giveaways, six takeaways).
TURNOVER MARGIN: During Mike Sherman's tenure as Packers Head Coach (2000-05), the turnover margin has proved more important to Green Bay than any other NFL club (Elias Sports Bureau):
-Entering the weekend, the NFL's best regular-season records, 2000-05, when winning the turnover ratio:
Green Bay, 36-1, .973
St. Louis, 22-1, .957
Baltimore, 40-2, .952
Pittsburgh, 38-4, .905
Indianapolis, 30-4, .882
-Entering the weekend, the NFL's best regular-season records, 2000-05, when committing one turnover or less:
Green Bay, 38-3, .927
St. Louis, 21-3, .875
Indianapolis, 39-6, .867
Miami, 31-5, .861
New England, 38-9, .809
CONSECUTIVE STARTS: The Jets' six-time Pro Bowl C Kevin Mawae (triceps) will miss his first game since 1994 today at Atlanta. The league's longest streaks, entering Week 7:
210 - Brett Favre, GB
196 - *Will Shields, KC
177 - Kevin Mawae, Sea-NYJ
150 - Derrick Brooks, TB
133 - Jon Runyan, HouO-Ten-Phi
127 - Jamie Sharper, Bal-HouT-Sea
*197 including Friday at Miami
MEMORABLE DEBUT: Packers RB/KR ReShard Lee, signed Oct. 6, made his NFL debut here with the Cowboys on Sept. 12, 2004. He led Dallas in rushing with 35 yards on five carries, including his only TD to date, and returned a kickoff for 62 yards.
FIRST BLOOD ON THE ROAD: When scoring first in road games, the Packers have won eight in a row and 10 of their last 11.
-The team's only loss during that span was Oct. 19, 2003, a 34-24 defeat at St. Louis.
-Green Bay went 4-0 last season in such road games.
POOL REPORTER: Appointed by the Pro Football Writers, Sean Jensen of the Pioneer Press is the primary pool reporter for today's matchup.
NEXT WEEK: Green Bay on Sunday makes its first-ever appearance at Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium, a noon CST kickoff...Also at noon CST, Minnesota is at Carolina.