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Monday Night Notes: "Must win" not just talk

How many Week 5 games get the "must-win" tag? Tonight, it's time to believe the hype. The season is still young, but with the Lions and Vikings off to a strong start, the Packers need to win to stay in the North race and keep their already fading post-season hopes alive.<p>

History is on the Packers' side. Since Mike Sherman took over as head coach, the Packers are among the best teams in the league after the quarter-mark. Sherman's Packers are 33-15 in Weeks 5-16, second only to Philly (37-11) and tonight's visitor Tennessee (35-13)during the same period.

The last time the Packers hobbled into the second quarter of the season at 1-3 was 1993, under Mike Holmgren. The Packers went 8-4 the rest of the way and made the playoffs.

Despite the Packers' fall from Lambeau grace, Sherman still owns the best home record during his GB tenure. Since 2000, the Packers are 26-8 at home, the best in the league. A few other numbers fall in the positive column. Green Bay leads the league in points after halftime with 28 total points on their initial second-half drive this season.

The Monday Night Football breakdown also bolsters the Packers hopes. Quarterback Brett Favre is 16-9 over his 25 MNF starts. He owns the longest pass in MNF history, a 99-yard TD strike to Robert Brooks (vs. Bears, Sept. 11, 1995). The Packers also hold the record for highest combined score for the 48-47 victory over Washington on Oct. 17, 1983.

While this will be the Tennessee franchise's third trip to Green Bay, it is the first trip in as the Titans. The Packers have won two out of three of their meetings with Tennessee. The Packers prevailed in 1992 and 1998 against the then-Oilers. Tennessee beat Green Bay in the most recent meeting, 26-20 in Nashville. That game was the Packers' only loss in their final 7 games, sandwiched between 3-game winning streak.

Maintaining streaks and reaching milestones pales in comparison to the need for a W, but nontheless the Pack puts a few numbers on the line tonight:

*With a touchdown pass, Favre can tie Dan Marino for second on the NFL's all-time list as his streak will reach 30 games.

*Ahman Green could become the Packers' all-time leader in career 100-yard games tonight. He comes in tied with Jim Taylor at 26 games at the century mark.

*Green needs one touchdown to tie No. 5 Antonio Freeman (57)

Statistics can't ease the Packers' bind; only a win tonight can do that. The do-or-die situation intensified Sunday as the Packers didn't get any help from their North neightbors. Minnesota beat the Texans in OT while Detroit handed Atlanta its first loss to maintain a 3-1 tie atop the division. Both North Division leaders have their bye weeks behind them.

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