With Minnesota's loss to the San Diego Chargers today, the Green Bay Packers climbed to within one-and-a-half games of the Vikings in the NFC North Division. The Packers host the Philadelphia Eagles Monday night at Lambeau Field and can close to within a game of the Vikings with a victory, plus gain an edge over the Eagles in the NFC playoff race.
A Green Bay win Monday night over the Eagles also would put the Packers (4-4) a game ahead of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who lost for the second time this season to the Carolina Panthers, Sunday, 27-24. The Bucs (4-5) fell three games behind the Panthers (7-2) in the NFC South.
Philadelphia enters the game with a 5-3 record, winners of three consecutive games and five of its past six since an 0-2 start. The Eagles are chasing the NFC East Division-leading Dallas Cowboys, who improved to 7-2 with a win over the Buffalo Bills Sunday.
A Packers win over Philly would not only even the two teams' records but give Green Bay the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Eagles.
The onset of November has meant good things for the Eagles, as the team is 21-5 (.808) overall and 12-2 (.857) on the road in November and December since 2000, the best such records in the NFL in that time.
"Lambeau Field is a great environment to play a football game in," says Eagles head coach Andy Reid, an assistant in Green Bay from 1992-98. "It doesn't get any better than to have Monday Night Football at Lambeau."
Green Bay evened its mark at 4-4 last week with a win over the Vikings, 30-27, in the Metrodome. Running back Ahman Green led Green Bay's rushing attack, gaining 137 yards on 21 carries as the Pack piled up 261 rushing yards, the most by the club since a 285-yard effort on October 6, 1985 in a 43-10 win over Detroit.
"This is the second half of the season," says Sherman. "We had a big win last week, but I told the guys that what's happened has happened. We need to play the second half with the best effort, the best toughness and the best physicality that we possibly can."
Here are some other Packers-Eagles Monday night notes:
- Green Bay has won eight consecutive prime-time games since dropping a
31-14 decision to the Carolina Panthers on Monday, Nov. 27, 2000. Included in
the streak are two victories this season – a 38-23 win at Chicago on Monday,
Sept. 29, and last week's exciting 30-27 triumph over Minnesota on Sunday
But waiting in the wings is a Philadelphia team that has been unbeatable on the road in November, winning eight consecutive games, including a 23-16 win in Atlanta last Sunday.
- Kicker Ryan Longwell (170) needs three field goals to tie Chris Jacke
(173, 1989-96) for first on the Packers' all-time list. Longwell has yet to
miss an attempt this season (38 of 38 in combined PATs and FGs). He has hit 14
straight field goals and 28 of his last 29 attempts since Oct. 20, 2002. From
40-plus yards, Longwell has made nine of his last 10 and all six in 2003.
- Quarterback Brett Favre has thrown for multiple touchdowns in five
straight games for the first time since 1998 when he did it six consecutive
- Favre needs four touchdown passes to reach 20 for the 10th straight
season, matching Dan Marino's NFL record. Marino threw for at least 20 TDs
- Green needs 129 yards rushing to reach 1,000 for this year. That would make him only the second Packers player with four 1,000-yard rushing seasons, joining Hall of Famer Jim Taylor (five, 1960-64).