Green Bay Packers (7-0) at San Diego Chargers (4-3)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET
SURFACE: Natural Grass
TV: FOX, Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Laura Okmin
STATISTICS: Packers offense — First in scoring with 32.9 ppg (fourth in yards, 24th in rushing, third in passing) vs. Chargers defense — 16th in scoring with 24.2 ppg (sixth in yards, tied for 17th in rushing, fourth in passing). Packers defense — Ninth in scoring with 20.1 ppg (28th in yards, 10th in rushing, 31st in passing) vs. Chargers offense — 15th in scoring with 23.0 ppg (sixth in yards, 13th in rushing, sixth in passing).
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Packers go for a 14th straight win; the Chargers, home for the first time since Oct. 2, have to rebound from consecutive tough road losses. The Chargers' secondary is ripe for continued abuse without a steady pass rush. Their third-down numbers (15-of-27 converted past two games) are of particular concern with Packers QB Aaron Rodgers -- 71.5 completion percentage, 20 touchdowns -- in town. San Diego's offense is bogging down in the red zone with five touchdowns in last 15 trips, and shooting itself in the foot with penalties (25 the past two weeks) to go with eight turnovers the past three games. The Packers will bring pressure often and QB Philip Rivers has speed advantages downfield, but he has also been struggling with his accuracy of late.
SERIES HISTORY: 10th regular-season meeting. Packers lead series, 8-1. Green Bay's only loss in the series came in 1984, a 34-28 Chargers victory at Lambeau Field. The Packers since have won five in a row, including three at San Diego, where they are 5-0. The interconference foes last met on the West Coast in 2003, a 38-21 Packers rout. Green Bay rallied for a 31-24 win in the most recent meeting, in 2007 at Lambeau, as Brett Favre threw for 369 yards and three touchdowns.
BY THE NUMBERS: 0 — Losses by the Packers in five games against AFC West opponents with Mike McCarthy as head coach since 2006. 3 — Number of games over .500, at 13-10, the Chargers are since the end of the 2009 regular season. 25 — The Chargers have been charged with 25 penalties and given up 200 yards — the length of the field, twice — in penalty yards over the past two weeks.
GAME PLAN: The 7-0 Packers come off their bye against a once-formidable San Diego team that has been reeling since returning from its one-week break two weeks earlier. The Chargers have dropped both games — on the road against the New York Jets and then Monday night in overtime against the Kansas City Chiefs — in self-destructive fashion. Star quarterback Philip Rivers has been the biggest culprit with five of the team's six turnovers in the mini-skid of his doing (four interceptions, one fumble). The Packers thrive in the takeaway department with 18, including 13 interceptions, so look for defensive coordinator Dom Capers to try to coerce Rivers into more miscues with a liberal amount of pressure. Rivers is having a subpar season — seven touchdown passes with 11 interceptions, 80.7 passer rating — but he could suddenly catch fire if Green Bay doesn't apply the heat and allows him to sit back in the pocket and pick apart the league's second-worst pass defense.
The 6-foot-5 wideout tandem of Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd and 6-foot-4 tight end Antonio Gates will present matchup challenges for the Packers, though Floyd might not play. Aaron Rodgers' first meaningful game in his adopted hometown of San Diego should afford him plenty of opportunities to bolster his resume for league MVP in directing Green Bay's third-rated passing offense. The Chargers rank fourth against the pass, allowing an average of just 185.9 yards per game (nearly 140 less than the Packers' big output through the air), but they have an inadequate pass rush (13 sacks), struggle in getting off the field on third down and have had issues in the secondary.
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