Notes: Favre will start 205th consecutive game

Whether the Packers win, tie or lose by a hundred on Sunday at Chicago, they will be the third seed in the NFC playoffs and host a playoff game on the weekend of Jan. 8-9.

While the game means nothing from that perspective, Packers coach Mike Sherman on Wednesday said quarterback Brett Favre will make his 205th consecutive start when the regular season concludes at Soldier Field.

Same goes, Sherman said, for the rest of the team, which had to battle through the last 10 games to reverse a 1-4 start to the season and claim a third straight NFC North championship.

"We're going to play 'em and see how it plays out during the ballgame," Sherman said. "It's important that we have some consistency going into the playoffs, some momentum going into the playoffs."

And that's just fine by Favre, who dismisses the possibility of getting injured as just part of the game.

"I would love to play the whole game," Favre said, adding, "I don't understand that you have to protect players. I've played a long time, and if I get hurt this week, I get hurt."

It's possible Sherman will pull his key players, especially Favre and hobbled running backs Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport, at some point during Sunday's game.

If Favre is asked to take a seat, backup quarterback Craig Nall will be ready. Nall will guide the first-team offense during Thursday's practice as Favre and several teammates attend the funeral for Reggie White in Charlotte, N.C.

Regardless of who's at quarterback, the Packers feel they have a score to settle. Chicago won a Week 2 matchup at Lambeau Field 21-10. That wound hasn't healed.

"It stung a little bit that they came up here and stole a game from us early," linebacker Na'il Diggs said. "It's definitely going to be a physical game. It's always a big rivalry game. They're going to play their hearts out and we're going to go down there and play our hearts out."

The sting from that game has helped eliminate the "meaningless" tag this game otherwise may have.

"There's no such thing as a meaningless game," said Pro Bowl guard Marco Rivera, who will be at White's funeral Thursday. "We definitely owe the Bears something. They came up here and they beat us. We want to end the regular season on a good note and take some kind of momentum into the playoffs. We owe these guys. We're going to go down there to win the game and that's the bottom line."

That's exactly the talk Sherman wants to hear.

"Because of the tradition ... because of the history, the emphasis that our fans place on it, the emphasis that we place on it — it has tremendous ramifications that go beyond just where you are in the standings," Sherman said. "I think that both teams put a circle around that game every year. I know I do."


Not surprisingly, wide receiver Robert Ferguson is listed as out for Sunday's game. Sherman said the left side of Ferguson's body is not at full strength following the clothesline hit by Jacksonville's Donovin Darius.

Neither Green nor Davenport are at full strength, either. Green banged his right knee during drills Wednesday and missed most of practice. Davenport didn't practice at all with a strained shoulder suffered during Friday's win at Minnesota. Green isn't listed on the injury report; Davenport is questionable.

Starting nose tackle Grady Jackson did not practice, which has been the case for the last several weeks as he is plagued by the knee injury that sidelined him earlier in the season. He's listed as probable, though. Also probable is backup offensive tackle Kevin Barry, who had been sidelined since straining his thigh during the Dec. 5 game at Philadelphia. He practiced Wednesday.


The Packers have a full complement of eight players on their practice squad after signing wide receiver Mike Marker and cornerback Art Smith on Thursday. The Packers have been short two players since promoting tight end Sean McHugh and wide receiver Andrae Thurman for the Vikings game.

Marker, 6 foot and 195 pounds, is the third player in franchise history to hail from Division III Millikin University. The most famous Millikin grad was speedster Jeff Query. The rookie Marker caught 51 passes for 1,051 yards and 11 touchdowns as a senior.

Smith, 6-1, 205, signed with Baltimore after the 2003 draft as an undrafted free agent out of Northeastern (Mass.). He was released by the Ravens before the end of training camp and was out of football for year. He latched on with Oakland for the 2004 training camp but was released Aug. 31. He was signed to the Raiders' practice squad but was released Oct. 19 and has been out of football since.

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