Packers notebook

Injury list swells; player notes; Sunday's game plan

New England is notorious for filling up the injury report, but the Packers exhibited a little one-upmanship in that realm Wednesday. Green Bay listed 16 players on the initial injury report ahead of Sunday's game against the Patriots, who had 11 on the report.

Head coach Mike McCarthy, though, insisted the team wasn't pulling any shenanigans, as others are occasionally inclined to do for the sake of gaining a competitive advantage.

He attributed the season-high casualty count to a physical game last Sunday at division rival Minnesota, a 23-17 Packers win.

"As far as playing games with (the injury report), I do not, and as far as how other people use that, I frankly don't have an opinion or interest in it. That's the health of our football team," McCarthy said. "Our practice was adjusted (Wednesday) based on the health of our football team. We practiced in shells only. We had a number of guys nicked, and we did extensive walkthroughs and things like that."

-- RB Vernand Morency practiced Wednesday for the first time since he sustained a lower back injury against Arizona on Oct. 29. Morency is questionable for Sunday's game. If available, Morency would likely assume kickoff-return duties in the wake of Bodiford's season-ending injury. Morency averaged a team-high 23.7 yards in six returns before he was sidelined for the last two games.

-- FB Brandon Miree also was on the practice field for the first time since he suffered a hyperextended left elbow in the Arizona game. Miree is listed as questionable, but head coach Mike McCarthy said the fullback is further ahead in his recovery than RB Vernand Morency. Miree replaced William Henderson as the starter in Week 4 before landing awkardly on his elbow.

-- RB Ahman Green, as the case has been the last four weeks, was given Wednesday off to rest his sore knees. Green, though, is probable and should play Sunday.

-- CB Al Harris didn't practice Wednesday because of illness, but is probable for Sunday.

-- TE David Martin came out of the last game with shoulder and thigh injuries. The team's most productive tight end also was out Wednesday and is questionable for Sunday's game.

-- With only two interceptions in the last five games, quarterback Brett Favre is in the midst of his most disciplined stretch in four years. Favre hasn't had a pass intercepted in all but one game during the latest stretch.

From Oct. 7 to Nov. 10, 2002, he also didn't have an interception in four of five games and had only one interception in that span. Included in that near-flawless stretch was a three-touchdown, zero-interception performance in a 28-10 win at New England. It's the last time the teams met before Sunday.

Favre has only seven interceptions in nine games this season and is on pace to finish with a career-low 12, a season after he had a career- and league-high 29.

Incidentally, Favre has been mistake free during the Packers' three-game winning streak against the Patriots, dating to a 35-21 verdict in Super Bowl XXXI in the 1996 season. He's completed 61 percent of his passes (54 of 88) for 632 yards and eight touchdowns with a passer rating of 113.4.

He was 14-of-27 passing for 246 yards and two touchdowns in the Super Bowl meeting.

An unusual 26-year drought between stadium visits will come to an end when the Patriots play only their second regular-season game at Green Bay's Lambeau Field. The Packers upset New England 27-14 on "Monday Night Football" in that Oct. 1, 1979, contest.

The Patriots actually made a more recent regular-season visit to Wisconsin in 1988, but the game was played at Milwaukee, with the Packers' inflicting a 45-3 rout. The Patriots and Packers also met in a preseason game in 2005 in Lambeau Field.

The Packers find themselves in an unforeseen position of being in the playoff hunt after winning three of their last four games to improve to 4-5. This game is a litmus test for a young Green Bay team, which really will buy into the notion that it's better than advertised and has postseason potential if it can knock off struggling, but still-formidable New England to get to .500 for the first time.

It's incumbent on the Packers to continue to set the tone up front on both sides of the ball. Their league-worst, communication-challenged pass coverage is an inviting target. In the last four games, the Packers have racked up 17 sacks, and will have to turn up the pressure on Tom Brady. A similar philosophy by the Jets last Sunday unnerved Brady, who was sacked four times in a 17-14 loss at home.

Green Bay, meanwhile, won its first game of the season when Brett Favre throws at least 40 times at Minnesota on Sunday. The offense, unaccustomed to contending with a 3-4 defensive front, will need its suddenly infallible quarterback to stay in a groove out of three-step drops and moving outside of the pocket because it figures to be another uphill climb for the running game against the Patriots' third-ranked unit, which is allowing an average of only 79.8 rushing yards per game.

38 -- Players on the Packers' 53-man roster who weren't born when Green Bay last played New England at Lambeau Field, on Oct. 1, 1979.

"I think this team has already -- up to this point -- proven what we're capable of doing. You know, 4-5 is a far cry from where we were in the late '90s, but there's some competitive guys in this room, and I think that the sky's the limit. So, that does make it easier to think about coming back and the positives and things like that. But, I really haven't thought much past that. I like (first-year head coach) Mike (McCarthy) and his direction -- I think he's already proven what he's capable of -- but I haven't really put much thought into what's happening after tomorrow."
-- Quarterback Brett Favre responding Wednesday to an indirect question regarding speculation that he will return for at least another season.

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