The Packers haven't let the Bucs escape from Lambeau Field with a victory since 1989, one of the longest such streaks in NFL history
While the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head to Green Bay hoping to end an 11-game losing streak in the state of Wisconsin, the Packers await their NFC Central rivals with an agenda of their own.
The Bucs believe they can leap to the front of the NFC Central Division race with a win over the Packers in Lambeau Field, but the 4-2 home team is actually closer to the first-place Chicago Bears (5-1) than are the 3-3 Buccaneers.
Following are excerpts of notes from the other side, a look at the highlights of the game as seen by the Packers' media relations.
Their annual bye week now history, the Green Bay Packers (4-2) resume their 2001 schedule on home soil Sunday (November 4) in a rematch with NFC Central rival Tampa Bay (3-3) at Lambeau Field.
Kickoff for the contest, a customary season ticket sellout (60,890), will be 12 noon, CST (Wisconsin time).
The Packers will be in search of seasonal equality with the Buccaneers, having lost a 14-10 decision to the Floridians in their first '01 meeting October 7. But, even more important, they are well aware of the need to improve their divisional record, which finds them going into action with a 1-2 record within the NFC Central.
Further, competitively, it will be the first of three divisional matchups in the next four weeks for the Green and Gold, who next (after Tampa Bay) face the upwardly mobile Bears at Chicago (November 11), and the Detroit Lions on the road Thanksgiving Day (November 22), the latter assignment following a home appearance against the Atlanta Falcons (November 18).
They head into this significant stretch in second place, a game behind the 5-1 Bears, and a game ahead of the third-place Buccaneers – who are coming off a 41-14 thumping of Minnesota – as well as a game-and-a-half above the fourth place Vikings (3-4) and four games in front of the fifth-place Detroit Lions (0-6).
THE HOME STREAK
The Packers on Sunday will be in quest of a 12th consecutive home victory over Tampa Bay. If successful, they will share the NFL's second-longest home winning streak against an opponent, tying the Dallas Cowboys, who posted their 12th straight home victory against the Arizona Cardinals over the weekend.
Washington owns the league's longest home winning streak, having defeated the Detroit Lions 17 times in a row on Redskins turf.
In addition, the Packers will look to improve their home winning streak which now stands at an NFL-high eight consecutive games. Green Bay shares the skein with the Oakland Raiders, who will put their eight-game mark on the line next Monday night (Nov. 5) when they host the Denver Broncos.
THE (NFL) STATISTICAL UPDATE
THough idle Sunday, with the Packers enjoying a bye, quarterback Brett Favre became the NFL's leading passer with the 98.8 overall rating he had achieved a week earlier, according to official statistics released by the National Football League Monday. (They do not include the results of the weekly Monday night game between Tennessee and Pittsburgh).
Favre moved ahead of the St. Louis Rams' Kurt Warner, previously first in the league's rankings, with a 98.8 rating based upon 135 completions in 202 attempts for 1,568 yards and a league-leading 14 touchdown passes, with 7 interceptions.
The Packers' 32-year-old field general also ranks second in the National Football Conference in both third-down and fourth-quarter passing – with a 115.9 rating in the former, based on 37 completions in 54 attempts for 435 yards and 5 touchdowns, with one interception, and a 116.8 rating in the latter, based on 31 completions in 43 attempts for 344 yards and 34 touchdowns, with one interception.
Running back Ahman Green, previously the NFL's leader in total yards from scrimmage, now is in fifth place following the bye with 756 yards, including 512 rushing, good for third place in the NFC behind Ricky Williams of New Orleans (557) and Washington's Stephen Davis (524).
Green also continues to share the league lead in third-and-one rushing with a 100 percent success rate, based on 4 "conversions" in as many attempts and is tied for fifth place in the conference in the production of first downs with 28 (20 rushing and 8 receiving).
Tight end Bubba Franks continues to share the NFC lead (with Terrell Owens of San Francisco) in non-kicker scoring with 36 points on 6 touchdown pass receptions and teammate Ryan Longwell is tied with the New York Giants' Morten Andersen in kick scoring with 37 points, good for seventh place.
On the defensive side of the football, the Packers' Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila still ranks second in the NFL in quarterback sacks with 9.0, behind the New York Giants' Michael Strahan (12.5) and strong safety Darren Sharper is tied for third place among NFC interceptors with three "picks."
Josh Bidwell is tied for fifth place among NFC punters with a 42.3-yard average for 24 punts.
As a team, the Packers held firm in their NFL team statistical rankings, released Monday. They thus retained fifth place on offense (21st in rushing and third in passing) and third place on defense (15th against the run and third against the pass), their positions a week earlier.
Wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson of the Packers' next opponents, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leads the NFC in both catches (46) and receiving yards (610).