Packers-Steelers: Game Snapshot

Green Bay has led in just three games this season

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2) at Green Bay Packers (1-6)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 3:15 CT

WHERE: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI

SURFACE: Grass

TV: CBS, Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Bonnie Bernstein

RADIO: Packer Radio Network with Wayne Larivee and Larry McCarren.

SERIES: 34th meeting. Green Bay leads series that began in 1933, 21-12, including 13-6 at home. The Steelers won their last meeting, 27-20 in Pittsburgh in 1998. Green Bay won the first 12 games of the series, through 1946.

2005 RANKINGS: Steelers: offense 18th (5th rush, 25th pass); defense 9th (5th rush, 20th pass).

Packers: offense 14th (30th rush, 5th pass); defense 15th (10th rush, 18th pass)

PREDICTION: Steelers 16-10

KEYS TO THE GAME: With Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger out at least one game following knee surgery, backup Charlie Batch will make his first start since 2001. It's a big dropoff for sure, but the run-heavy Steelers have attempted a league-low 159 passes. RB Willie Parker will get plenty of work with Jerome Bettis battling a knee injury.

Green Bay would love to stuff Parker, get a lead and force the game onto Batch's shoulder. It won't be easy considering the Packers have led in just three games. QB Brett Favre is coming off the first five-interception game of his career, but with little running game to speak of while going against a tough run defense, he will again have to force the ball downfield. The Steelers don't have intimidating corners, but they have allowed just five touchdown passes thanks to a strong pass rush that could prove problematic -- and painful -- for Favre.

FAST FACTS: Steelers: WR Hines Ward needs four receptions to break John Stallworth's (534) franchise record. ... TE Heath Miller has a touchdown reception in four consecutive games, tying Eric Green's (1991) team record for tight ends.

Packers: Despite record, have outscored their opponents 158-139. ... Favre has a touchdown pass in an NFL-high 24 consecutive games.

PERSONNEL NEWS
Steelers:
-- QB Charlie Batch will make his first start since the 2001 season, when he was the starter for the Lions. He started 46 games in Detroit, but they released him in June 2002 and the Steelers signed him a few weeks later.

-- RB Jerome Bettis was downgraded to doubtful Thursday with a quadriceps injury. Bettis missed the first three games with a calf injury and has been the backup to starter Willie Parker since then. He has 136 yards and a 3.2-yard average.

-- RB Duce Staley will suit up for only his second game and replace Bettis as the backup to Parker. Staley, who had surgery Aug. 8 on his meniscus, was active only on Sept. 25 against New England. He did not have a carry.

-- WR Antwaan Randle El will serve as the emergency No. 3 quarterback Sunday. Randle El, the starting quarterback at Indiana University, took a snap in the shotgun formation against the Ravens on Monday night and ran for 5 yards.

-- FS Chris Hope, who had one interception last season, his first as a starter, leads the Steelers with three after seven games.

Packers:
-- WR Robert Ferguson missed practices this week and won't play Sunday against Pittsburgh. Ferguson is recovering from a torn lateral collateral ligament in his left knee, sustained Oct. 23. He is listed as doubtful on the injury report. Antonio Chatman would make his second straight start in Ferguson's place.

-- TE David Martin also will be sidelined for the second consecutive game. Martin, No. 2 on the depth chart, is nursing a strained groin that he suffered Oct. 27 in practice. Donald Lee would back up starter Bubba Franks, who is probable for Sunday with a sore knee and has practiced the last two days.

-- CB Al Harris returned to practice Thursday after missing a day because of a bruised knee he sustained in the last game. Harris is probable for Sunday and is expected to start.

-- OLB Na'il Diggs said after practice Thursday that he's not expecting to play Sunday. Diggs, on the injury report as questionable, has received only a handful of snaps with the first-string defense the last two days. He's still not fully recovered from a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee, which has kept him out the last three games. Paris Lenon is the top candidate to replace Diggs in the starting lineup at the strongside spot.

-- C Mike Flanagan split first-team snaps with Scott Wells in practice Thursday. Flanagan is expected to make his second straight start after making a quick recovery from Oct. 5 surgery for a sports hernia. However, just as in the last game, Flanagan may require a breather Sunday and have to give way to Wells for a series or two. -- OLB Robert Thomas practiced for the second straight day and is slated to start at the weakside spot Sunday. Thomas has been hampered by a shoulder stinger the past couple weeks and is on the injury report as questionable.


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