TODAY: Adding to one of the league's fiercest rivalries, Green Bay and Minnesota square off in a battle that will decide the NFC North. For the ninth time in the last 11 years, one of these clubs will win the division today...The Packers haven't won consecutive road games at Minnesota since 1987-88. They won their last appearance, 30-27, Nov. 2, 2003...Green Bay hasn't defeated the Vikings three straight times since 1996-97, when the Packers went to consecutive Super Bowls...The Packers get their first taste of the Metrodome's new FieldTurf; Green Bay is 3-1 all-time on the surface, which also covers its practice fields...The Packers play a sixth Christmas Eve game; they're 4-1 all-time, including playoffs...This marks the Packers' first Friday game in 55 years.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY & NEXT WEEK -
-Will play in a 206th consecutive game (225 including playoffs) and make his 204th consecutive start (223 including playoffs), 88 more than the next-closest streak on the all-time quarterbacks list, 116 by Ron Jaworski (1977-84).
u Needs 153 yards passing to top No. 3 Warren Moon (49,325) on the all-time list. Favre enters the weekend with 49,173.
-Needs six receptions to surpass No. 3 Mark Chmura (188) on the team's all-time tight ends list. Franks enters the weekend with 183.
-With one-half sack, would reach 10 and extend his franchise record for double-digit sacks in consecutive seasons to four (2001-04). Simeon Rice (12.5 entering the weekend) and Leonard Little (6.0) are the only NFL players who could join Gbaja-Biamila among those with double-digit sacks each year since 2001.
-Needs two rushing TDs for 50 career.
-Needs four rushing TDs to surpass No. 2 Paul Hornung (50) on the all-time Packers list. Green enters the week with 47.
-Needs two overall TDs to tie No. 4 Paul Hornung (62) on the all-time Green Bay list. Green enters the week with 60.
-Needs two passes defensed to match the single-season record held by Doug Evans (27, 1995). Harris' 25 this year already rank second.
-Figures to lead the team in scoring for an eighth season, taking the franchise record from Don Hutson (seven).
-By playing in a 127th consecutive game today, will surpass the No. 10 franchise streak, 126 by Pro Hall of Famer Jim Ringo (1954-63).
-Could become one of four players to lead the team in interceptions at least five seasons: Bobby Dillon (seven), Willie Wood (five) and LeRoy Butler (five). Sharper is currently tied with Herb Adderley (four).
-Needs 288 receiving yards to surpass Robert Brooks' 1995 club record. Walker (81 catches, 1,210 yards) has already this season surpassed his career numbers entering the year (64 catches, 1,035 yards).
-Needs nine catches to become only the third player in team history with 90 in a season (Sterling Sharpe 1989, 1992-94; Robert Brooks 1995).
TO THE MOON AND BEYOND: Brett Favre stands just 153 yards from surpassing No. 3 Warren Moon on the NFL's all-time passing list. Favre earlier this season topped No. 4 Fran Tarkenton.
Dan Marino - 61,361
John Elway - 51,475
Warren Moon - 49,325
Brett Favre - 49,173
Fran Tarkenton - 47,003
Vinny Testaverde - 44,010
Dan Fouts - 43,040
Joe Montana - 40,551
Johnny Unitas - 40,239
Drew Bledsoe - 39,447
PRO BOWL PACKERS: Fullback William Henderson and wide receiver Javon Walker became first-time Pro Bowlers, the NFL announced Wednesday. Also elected were running back Ahman Green and guard Marco Rivera, for the fourth and third consecutive years, respectively, giving the Packers four players voted for the all-star contest.
-Henderson, in his 10th season, last Sunday broke Howard Griffith's NFL record among fullbacks by blocking for a 1,000-yard rusher in a seventh overall season. The University of North Carolina product has paved the way for 1,000-yard seasons for Green (2000-04) and Dorsey Levens (1997, '99).
-Walker's honor comes during a superb third NFL season. He currently stands second in the conference in receptions (81) and receiving yardage (1,210), and is tied for fourth in receiving TDs (10). Walker was GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman's initial first-round pick; the Packers traded up to select the Florida State player in the 2002 NFL Draft.
-Green, meanwhile, becomes only the second Packers back to be named to as many as four consecutive seasons, joining Jim Taylor, who was named to five straight contests (1960-64).
-Rivera, a seven-year starter, is the first Green Bay offensive lineman to be named to the Pro Bowl three consecutive seasons since Gale Gillingham in 1969-71. One of the most durable performers in Packers history, Rivera has maintained a 97-game starting streak, second on the team to only Brett Favre (203).
-Eight other Packers were named as alternates on the NFC squad, including Favre, guard Mike Wahle and cornerback Al Harris. The others include tight end Bubba Franks, wide receiver Donald Driver and tackle Chad Clifton on offense, linebacker Nick Barnett on defense and placekicker Ryan Longwell.
-Franks, Barnett and Longwell also were named alternates last season, with Franks eventually getting called up to play in the game. Two other alternates last season, center Mike Flanagan and defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, played in the contest as well.
SINGLE-SEASON FRANCHISE RECORD WATCH:
-The Packers need 32 first downs to break the 1989 team record, 342.
-The Packers need 41 first downs passing to break the 1995 team record, 235.
-The Packers need six first downs by penalty to break the 1985 team record, 32.
-The Packers need 663 total yards to break the 1983 team record, 6,172.
-The Packers need 40 completions to break the 1994 team record, 375.
-The Packers need to allow three or fewer sacks to break the single-season team record, 17. The Packers allowed 17 over a 14-game season in both 1972 and 1974. The club mark for a 16-game season is 19, 2003.
-The Packers need six or fewer punts over their last two games to establish the lowest number of punts in a 16-game season. The fewest punts in a 16-game season is 65, by both the 1990 and 1998 teams.
HOME POOL REPORTER: Sean Jensen, Pioneer Press.
NEXT WEEK: In respective season finales, the Packers travel to Chicago and Minnesota flies to Washington, both noon kickoffs Sunday, Jan. 2. Green Bay will get the Bears without Brian Urlacher, who went on injured reserve this week; Urlacher in the teams' first meeting Sept. 19 pierced the line of scrimmage to force a fumble and a 95-yard touchdown, a play that sent the Packers on an early four-game losing streak.