Baltimore Ravens (6-3) at Carolina Panthers (1-8)
Buffalo Bills (1-8) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-7)
Arizona Cardinals (3-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (5-4)
Cleveland Browns (3-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4)
Green Bay Packers (6-3) at Minnesota Vikings (3-6)
Houston Texans (4-5) at New York Jets (7-2)
Washington Redskins (4-5) at Tennessee Titans (5-4)
Oakland Raiders (5-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3)
Detroit Lions (2-7) at Dallas Cowboys (2-7)
Atlanta Falcons (7-2) at St. Louis Rams (4-5)
Seattle Seahawks (5-4) at New Orleans Saints (6-3)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3) at San Francisco 49ers (3-6)
Indianapolis Colts (6-3) at New England Patriots (7-2)
New York Giants (6-3) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-3)
Denver Broncos (3-6) at San Diego Chargers (4-5)
Green Bay Packers (6-3) at Minnesota Vikings (3-6)
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET
SURFACE: Field Turf
TV: FOX, Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver
KEYS TO THE GAME
Vikings QB Brett Favre already has more than doubled his interception total from last season (seven) with 16, he has a sore shoulder to go with his injured ankle, his receiving corps is banged up and teams are loading the box to gang up on RB Adrian Peterson. So it's fair to say the Packers' aggressive defense will be attacking downhill.
Green Bay rushed 23 times in 58 plays in the first meeting but has been held to less than 4.0 yards per carry in four straight games. With more passes flying and Donald Driver (thigh) gimpy, WR Greg Jennings has at least six catches in each of his last four games.
Peterson has a rushing touchdown in five straight meetings.
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has a 99.9 career passer rating vs. Minnesota.
Driver is the longest-tenured player on Green Bay's roster and was a teammate of Favre from 1999 to 2007. The two players, both of whom have ties to Mississippi, were tight in their time together.
Still to be determined, however, is whether the Packers will have Driver in uniform for the rematch between NFC North rivals.
Green Bay's 28-24 home win over the Vikings on Oct. 24 was the start of a tough stretch for Driver, who has been bothered by a thigh injury. He didn't have a catch in two straight games, starting with the Minnesota contest, and then missed the Packers' last game.
That tends to be a turnoff nowadays for NFL teams in their coaching searches, but Capers could be an exception to the contemporary rule. Already a head coach twice in his 25 years of working in the league, Capers has at least one good referral if he makes a run for a third top job.
"If I was an owner in the National Football League, I'd hire Dom Capers," McCarthy said Wednesday. "I think Dom's an outstanding football coach."
Capers has done wonders with Green Bay's defense in only two years with the team. The Packers were the top run defense and ranked second in overall defense last season.
After nine games this season, the Packers are the No. 1-rated scoring defense, having allowed just 143 points. They shut out the New York Jets on the road two games ago and then gave up only seven points to the Dallas Cowboys before Green Bay had its bye.
Capers has made no secret in the past that he would like to get another shot to be a head coach. His previous opportunities came as the first coach for two expansion teams: the Carolina Panthers (1995-98) and Houston Texans (2001-05).
Green Bay released cornerback Al Harris, 35, rather than activate him from the physically unable to perform list. It then put right tackle Mark Tauscher, 33, on injured reserve because of a shoulder sprain he suffered in Week 4.
That leaves the Packers with only six players 30 and older — Driver, 35; left tackle Chad Clifton and cornerback Charles Woodson, both 34; defensive end Ryan Pickett and nose tackle Howard Green, both 31; and tight end Donald Lee, 30.
"There's not many of us," Pickett said. "(But) I'm not worried about how young our team is. Sometimes, that's good. They just play ball. And, that's what the young fellas are doing now."
Interestingly, though, Green Bay has gotten older since the start of the season. The average age of the 53 players on the roster went from 25.9 on opening day, which made the Packers the sixth-youngest team in the league, to a current 26.2.
The addition of several free agents in their late 20s to early 30s (Green) to compensate for Green Bay's rash of injuries contributed to the slight increase.
In the past four years, Green Bay has tended to play its best football after having the one-week break. The Packers have a 26-16 record, including post-bye marks of 9-3 in 2009, 8-2 in '07 and 7-4 in '06. The aberration was a 2-7 record in 2008, which Green Bay finished 6-10.
"There's no secret," McCarthy said of the general success the last part of the season. "We focus on winning games and improving. I say it to the football team many times during the week; I just believe as a team you must grow. Improvement has to start in Week 1 and continue.
"If you're going to talk about November and December being the most important time of the year, you're going to (have to) be playing your best football in November and December."