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Starters Preparing To Play 60 Minutes


As the regular season comes to a close, many NFL head coaches are faced with a dilemma. Do coaches of the teams heading on to the playoffs rest their starters to avoid risking any potential injuries, or do they play the game as normal, hoping to build momentum with a win in the final weekend?

For Green Bay Packers GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman, the choice seems to be a rather simple one. According to Sherman, fans tuning in Sunday afternoon for the Packers' regular season finale at Chicago's Soldier Field against the Bears should expect to see Brett Favre and the rest of the usual suspects taking the field to try to pick up win number 10 on the season.

Sherman said that he wants to continue to build on the momentum that his team gained by topping another NFC North rival, the Minnesota Vikings, last week in order to clinch their third straight division crown.

"I just know that we have to have a consistency," Sherman said. "We have to have momentum going into the playoffs. I don't look at any game as meaningless. Maybe the outcome of the game has no bearing on where we are, but how we play, how we perform, can add or detract from future performances.

"We're going to go and prepare for this game just like any other game and put our gameplan out there and hopefully our players will execute."

Sherman didn't reveal just how much playing time his first unit will see this weekend, but from the sound of things, it could be more than many would expect.

Favre said that if were up to him, he'd play the full 60 minutes.

"I'd love to play the whole game," said the quarterback, who will be making his 205th consecutive regular season start. "I'm sure some guys would sit here and tell you a series, a half, whatever. That's what I'm here for, is to play. To practice and to meet and to work this hard and to not have anything to enjoy at the end of the week - I understand you have to protect players, but I've played a long time. If I get hurt this week, I get hurt. But I'd love to play.

"I think we've got to continue to get better at some things. Whether or not this week will make us that much better, I don't know. But I would love to win this game and would love to play as much as possible."

Favre said that he thinks his coach probably learned a lesson first-hand by seeing what happened when the Denver Broncos faced a similar situation last season.

"We're not that good to sit guys and just say, 'We'll be ready next week.' I look at what Denver did last year against us - they sat most of their guys and we beat them. Their guys were laughing and stuff like that. They had just beaten Indy pretty good the week before and the following week just got crushed by them. Did the game against us play any part in it? I don't know.

"I just think you play your guys, you play with the intentions of winning and then from that point as the game gets underway, you make decisions accordingly. If there's guys who are hurt or banged up, this is a chance to let them get well, but otherwise you play the game to win."

Favre's teammates appear to be getting ready for the game as usual also.

"I'm going to prepare like I'm going to play the whole game," guard Marco Rivera said. "That goes for the rest of us on the offensive line. We're not treating this as a preseason game, so we're going to prepare like we're playing the whole four quarters and we'll see what happens."

Darren Sharper agreed, saying that he and his fellow Packers might have something more than just keeping their momentum for the playoffs in mind this week.

"We're going into this game approaching it as a regular game, not looking to rest anyone," said the defensive back. "We're going to go in there and try to play well. We know what this team did to us when they came up here to Lambeau, so we need to go in there and have a good showing."

However long the front-line players are on the field Sunday, one thing is for sure - they won't be treating this as a throwaway game, and it should be a good one to watch.

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