Green Bay Packers (4-6) at Seattle Seahawks (6-4)
KICKOFF: Monday, 8:30 ET
TV: ESPN, Mike Tirico, Joe Theismann, Tony Kornheiser, Suzy Kolber, Michele Tafoya
SERIES: 11th meeting. The Packers lead the series, 6-4, plus 1-0 in the playoffs. Eight of those games were played in Wisconsin. Mike Holmgren led Seattle to a victory over his former team in 1999, but the Packers have won both regular-season games since then, plus a playoff game.
2006 RANKINGS: Packers: offense 10th (20th rush, 9th pass); defense 24th (11th rush, 31st pass). Seahawks: offense 25th (16th rush, 20th pass); defense 19th (17th rush, 19th pass)
KEYS TO THE GAME: Packers QB Brett Favre said he expects to play despite an elbow injury that forced him out of last Sunday's game, and Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck is slated to return after missing four games with a knee injury. Look for Green Bay to get back to the ground game after watching film of Seattle getting torched for 262 rushing yards by San Francisco. The Seahawks aren't tackling well and coach Mike Holmgren said too many assignments are being missed. Seattle's defense is very aggressive at home, where the noise at Qwest Field causes significant problems for opposing offenses, and will take any opportunity to rush linebackers against Green Bay's young offensive line likely to start three rookies. The Seahawks are second with 35 sacks and the Packers third with 33, so Green Bay will attempt to pressure Hasselbeck and test his mobility. Seattle hopes RB Shaun Alexander is better able to hit the holes after looking tentative in his first game back from a broken foot.
Packers: Favre holds the NFL record with 197 touchdown passes on the road. ... Favre is seconds in Monday night history with 7,281 passing yards and 54 touchdown passes behind Dan Marino (9,654; 74).
Seahawks: Have not allowed a 25-plus-yard pass play in three games after allowing 13 through seven games. ... Are 26-4 (.867) in past 30 home games, outscoring opponents 806-517.
--MLB Nick Barnett is determined to play Monday at Seattle despite having a broken right hand that has him on the injury report as doubtful for the game. Barnett didn't practice Wednesday. He was to be fitted with a club-like cast and might test it in practice Friday. Rookie Abdul Hodge stands to make his first pro start if the team decides to err on the side of caution with Barnett, who would be limited wearing the cast in the game.
--QB Aaron Rodgers is scheduled to undergo surgery on his broken left foot Friday. Rodgers sustained the season-ending injury during the third quarter of the 35-0 loss to New England on Sunday after he replaced an injured Brett Favre. Rodgers managed to play the remainder of the game with the fractured foot. He's expected to be on crutches for six weeks but should be ready for the start of offseason workouts in March.
--RT Mark Tauscher likely won't play for the second consecutive game because of a pulled groin. Tauscher is doubtful for Monday and has yet to practice since suffering the injury Nov. 12 at Minnesota. Rookie Tony Moll would remain the starter in Tauscher's absence.
--CB Charles Woodson has been rehabbing shoulder and knee injuries this week. Although he's listed as questionable and didn't practice Wednesday, Woodson figures to practice by Saturday and should play Monday. He has been hurt most of the season but hasn't missed a game.
--FB Brandon Miree is lobbying to play Monday after missing the past three games because of a hyper extended left elbow. He is questionable for the game but was one of only two of 12 players on the injury report to practice Wednesday. William Henderson has been starting in Miree's place.
--QB Matt Hasselbeck worked with the starting unit again Thursday, virtually assuring he'll start against Green Bay on Monday night. Hasselbeck has missed the past four games with a knee injury that could have been worse. "I'd never had a knee injury before, but it was obvious to me immediately that it was really bad," Hasselbeck said. "Not only did I feel it, but it also made a really loud pop, like a 'pop' sound. And really, I feel very fortunate that it was only what it was, MCL sprain, grade 2, and I feel very fortunate that's all that was." The Seahawks are listing Hasselbeck as probable this week.
--WR Darrell Jackson leads the NFL in touchdown receptions with eight. Nine is his career high. Jackson's stats have improved in the absence of RB Shaun Alexander and TE Jerramy Stevens, who returned only recently. Jackson's long-ball touchdowns have made him more of a deep threat than in past seasons.
--RB Shaun Alexander practiced again Thursday. He is not on the injury report. The Seahawks expect him to get a full load of carries Monday night against Green Bay.
--C Robbie Tobeck missed practice again Thursday. He has an extra day to get ready for the Green Bay game, which is Monday night. The Seahawks miss his experience, but backup C Chris Spencer is more physical in the run game.
--WR Bobby Engram might finally return Monday night. He is probable on the injury report, an upgrade from last week, when he was questionable. It's still tough to say whether Engram will be able to resume his career in full. The thyroid condition is something he'll have to live with.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
Packers coach Mike McCarthy wouldn't have minded being involved in a Thanksgiving Day game Thursday. Better to get back out there right away after a 35-0 loss to New England on Sunday, his thinking was, than to let the humiliating defeat linger for an entire week.
Yet, since the Packers don't play again until Monday night at Seattle, McCarthy did what he felt was the next best therapeutic thing for his wounded team. He called off practice Thursday, allowing players and coaches an opportunity to spend the holiday with family and friends.
"I think this extra day is more important for us from a physical standpoint because we do have a number of guys that are nicked and injured," McCarthy said. "But, mentally, I wish we had probably two days shorter so we can get out there and play again. This extra day will really help us to get the health of our football team in better shape."
With the longer week, taking Thursday off shouldn't disrupt the team's preparations for the Seahawks, who practiced on the holiday. The Packers had their regular Wednesday workout. They will transfer their Thursday routine to Friday and their Friday routine to Saturday to close the week.
The extra time between games should help Green Bay recoup several of the 12 players it has on the injury report, none more prominent than quarterback Brett Favre.
Favre's streak of 251 straight starts is on the line because of a bruised right elbow that knocked him out of the last game. He didn't practice Wednesday and is questionable for Monday. Though Favre had yet to regain full feeling and strength in his throwing hand from damage to the ulnar nerve in the elbow, he was optimistic Wednesday that he would be ready for the game.
McCarthy said Favre would be re-evaluated Friday morning before a decision is made on whether to have him practice later in the day. The aim is to have Favre practice Saturday so he has at least one day to test his effectiveness with the hand, which he admitted Wednesday is a concern.
Newly signed Todd Bouman and rookie Ingle Martin split the reps in practice Wednesday and are being prepped for action Monday in case the elbow injury continues to give Favre problems. Bouman, a nine-year veteran, most likely would be first off the bench after the team lost Aaron Rodgers to a season-ending broken foot in the last game.
Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck worked with the starting unit again Thursday, virtually assuring he'll start against Green Bay on Monday night. Hasselbeck has missed the past four games with a knee injury that could have been worse.
"I'd never had a knee injury before, but it was obvious to me immediately that it was really bad," Hasselbeck said. "Not only did I feel it, but it also made a really loud pop, like a 'pop' sound.
"And really, I feel very fortunate that it was only what it was, MCL sprain, grade 2, and I feel very fortunate that's all that was."
Hasselbeck made it clear after the injury that he felt Vikings linebacker E.J. Henderson had taken a cheap shot by slamming into his knee well after Hasselbeck had thrown a pass. Hasselbeck said he learned a lesson from the play, namely that he can't relax on the field at any time. Coach Mike Holmgren never came out and accused Henderson of dirty play, but his comments this week made it clear he agrees with his quarterback.
"If you see pictures of the play, he released the ball and was just standing there," Holmgren said. "It was a very unusual play because normally, when those types of injuries occur, they're kind of bang-bang plays, and this happened, there was quite a bit of time from when he released the ball and the time he got hit."
Not enough time for a fine, however. The league did not punish Henderson. Officials did not flag him for the hit. They apparently determined that Seattle fullback Mack Strong had pushed Henderson into Hasselbeck's legs. Replays seemed inconclusive.
The priority now is to make sure Hasselbeck can move well enough to avoid trouble in a game. He could not do that last week. He looks much better in practice this week. "I still have some more time, but I was encouraged by practice and I know it is not going to feel any worse, so we have to keep fighting through it and I think it will be good to go by Monday," he said.
Hasselbeck is also trying to get back into the leadership role that comes with being the starter. He thinks some teammates aren't practicing the right way. He thinks they need a reminder.
"When I say something like that, I am really just repeating what I hear the coaches saying," Hasselbeck said. "I am not sure if everyone hears what they are saying all the time. We are all in the same meeting, but sometimes when you have been with a coach a long time, you understand what he is saying.
"The guys that have been around understand a little better what he is talking about when he says, 'Hey, we're setting the standard high.' I do wonder if everyone is understanding that really, and I think it is the job of the guys who have been here to let everybody know, 'Hey, we're not in this just to be OK; we're in this to be great.'
"The way we are practicing may or may not get it done."