Packers-Browns: Game Day facts

Snapshot of Packers' home opener

KICKOFF: Sunday, 3:15 CT
GAMEDATE: 9/18/05
TV: CBS, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Bonnie Bernstein 
SERIES: 16th meeting. The Green Bay Packers lead the series 9-6 and have
4-2 advantage in Green Bay. The Browns have not won in Green Bay since a
24-7 victory Nov. 4, 1956. The have been to Green Bay four times since
lost each time.
*2005 rankings: Browns: offense 9th (18th rush, 6th pass); defense 30th
(26th rush, 25th pass). Packers: offense 30th (28th rush, 25th pass);
defense 6th (19th rush, 4th pass)

PREDICTION: Packers 27-24 

KEYS TO THE GAME: The Packers are struggling to protect QB Brett Favre,
especially in the middle of their offensive line, and now are without
top WR
Javon Walker. That makes it all the more vital to establish a running
that has been inconsistent through the preseason and Week 1. The Browns
could prove the perfect medicine as they make the transition to a 3-4
defense despite insufficient personnel -- especially at the pass-rushing
positions. Cleveland feels better about its offense, although coach
Crennel doesn't want QB Trent Dilfer throwing the ball 43 times again.
key for the Browns to keep the game close and rely on RB Reuben Droughns.
They need to be able to control the clock if for no other reason than to
keep their defense off the field.

FAST FACTS: Browns: Dilfer is 2-7 as a starting quarterback against the
Packers. ... WR Dennis Northcutt needs 57 punt return yards to pass
McNeil (1,545) for the franchise's all-time lead. Packers: Lead the
10-6, and won the only meeting since the Browns re-entered the league,
at home in 2001. ... Favre has six TD passes and no INTs with a 108.5
rating in three career games against the Browns.

   --RB Lee Suggs returned to practice and moved pretty well, according
coach Romeo Crennel. Suggs has been sidelined since Aug. 18 with a high
ankle sprain. Crennel probably will decide on Sunday if Suggs will play.
   --RB Reuben Droughns will start against Green Bay and figures to get
of the team's carries. Droughns outperformed William Green in the opener
earned a shot at being the lead back.
   --CB Gary Baxter returned to practice and there's a good chance he
start Sunday in Green Bay. Baxter has been sidelined since Aug. 20 with
concussion. If he plays, it will be the first time all season that
Baxter and Daylon McCutcheon will be on the field together. It might not
matter a lot, though, as neither are pure cover corners.
   --DE Orpheus Roye has been listed as questionable on the injury
with a hyperextended knee, but Roye vowed to play in Green Bay. Roye is
always there on Sunday.
   --LB Matt Stewart could miss up to a month with a sprained MCL in his
knee. Stewart is not a superstar, but his loss does not help the Browns
defense. He is replaced by Chaun Thompson, who is a fast linebacker best
suited to rushing the passer. Kenard Lang, a converted defensive end,
at the other outside spot.

   --OLB Na'il Diggs practiced for the second straight day after being
since Aug. 8 with a torn MCL in his left knee.
   Diggs is questionable for Sunday's home opener against Cleveland.
Paris Lenon getting most of the reps with the No. 1 defense at the
strongside spot, it's possible Diggs will be held out until the Sept. 25
game against Tampa Bay.
   "I really don't want to rush it," Diggs said Thursday. "I don't want
put any pressure on (the knee). When everyone feels confident that Na'il
Diggs is ready to play, Na'il Diggs will play."
   --WR Javon Walker remains on the 53-man roster, though he's headed to
injured reserve after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee during the
season-opening loss at Detroit.
   Surgery has yet to be scheduled for Walker, the only player who
practiced this week.
   --WR Robert Ferguson, who will move into the starting lineup
Donald Driver with Walker out, will have his sizable role on special
reduced. Ferguson has been an invaluable coverage man on punts and
and also has returned kickoffs.
   A final decision on whether Ferguson will continue to return kickoffs
be used solely on the coverage units hasn't been announced.
Fellow receivers Antonio Chatman and Terrence Murphy are candidates to
replace Ferguson on kickoff returns, working in tandem with RB Najeh Davenport.
   --DT Cullen Jenkins is entrenched as the starter on the interior of
defensive line beside NT Grady Jackson.
   Jenkins, younger brother of Carolina All-Pro tackle Kris Jenkins,
work in a rotation with Corey Williams and Colin Cole at the
   --QB Aaron Rodgers has resumed working on holds for field goals and
points now that he's been thrust into the No. 2 role behind Brett Favre.
   The team backed off having Rodgers, its top draft pick this year,
audition for the vacant holding job early in the preseason when it
fourth-year veteran Craig Nall would emerge as Favre's top backup.
   --P B.J. Sander is K Ryan Longwell's holder. Despite Sander's
bungling a
snap that foiled what would have been a 22-yard field goal in the
Longwell said he prefers having the second-year punter as his holder.
   Rodgers is merely being groomed for "a worst-case scenario," according to Longwell.

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