PACKERS HOST SAINTS TO KICK OFF 2011 NFL SEASON
- Green Bay kicks off its 93rd season in team history – and 91st as a member of the National Football League – by hosting New Orleans tonight in a nationally televised contest, just the third Thursday night game in Lambeau Field annals.
- The game will be a matchup of the last two Super Bowl winners, the first time since 2000 and the seventh time ever that the two most recent world champions will meet in Week 1. In 2000, the St. Louis Rams, who won Super Bowl XXXIV, hosted the Denver Broncos, who won Super Bowl XXXIII, on Monday Night Football in the season opener.
- It will mark the third time in the past four seasons that the Packers have opened the season with a nationally televised prime-time contest at home, and the first time in franchise history that Green Bay kicked off a season on a Thursday. In 2008, Green Bay hosted Minnesota on Monday Night Football, while in 2009, the Packers played host to Chicago in a Sunday night contest.
- Green Bay is 5-0 all-time in prime-time season openers (four on Monday night, one on Sunday night).
- This will be only the second time in team history that the Packers have opened the season against the Saints. Green Bay traveled to New Orleans for the 1977 season opener and emerged victorious, 24-20.
- The Saints will be making only their fourth trip to Lambeau Field in franchise history (the teams played seven times in Milwaukee from 1968-85), with the most recent visit coming in 2006. This will be the fourth time overall in the past seven seasons that the teams have met.
- Green Bay and New Orleans are the only two teams in the league to finish in the top 10 in total offense each of the past five seasons.
- Tonight’s game is also a matchup of the two most successful teams in the NFC since 2006. Including the postseason, the Packers rank No. 2 in the conference in winning percentage at .609 (53-34), trailing only New Orleans (.616, 53-33) over that span.
- For the fifth time in six years under Head Coach Mike McCarthy, Green Bay will start its season in front of the home crowd at Lambeau Field.
- The Packers have won four straight season openers overall (2007-10), the first time since 1996-1999 that the team emerged victorious in four consecutive opening games. The last time Green Bay won five straight season openers was in 1980-84.
- Green Bay is the lone NFC team to win its season opener each of the past four years, joining New England and Pittsburgh as the only teams in the league to accomplish the feat over that span.
- McCarthy is the first Packers head coach to win four consecutive season openers since Bart Starr did so from 1980-83.
- Home openers have become near habit for the Packers, as 31 of 42 regular-season openers since the AFL-NFL merger (1970) have been in front of a home crowd.
- Since McCarthy took over in 2006, the Packers have an 11-6 (.647) mark in the month of September. That winning percentage is tied for No. 5 in the NFL over that span.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- WR Donald Driver – Needs 42 receiving yards to set the career franchise record. Currently ranks No. 2 with 9,615 yards, trailing only WR James Lofton (9,656, 1978-86)...With two receptions, will become the 33rd player in NFL history to post 700 career catches.
- WR Greg Jennings – With one more reception, will move into sole possession of the No. 9 spot in career franchise history. Is currently tied with TE Paul Coffman (1978-85) with 322 career catches.
- T Chad Clifton – By appearing in his 160th career game in a Green Bay uniform tonight, will become just the fourth offensive lineman in franchise history to hit the 160-game mark (Forrest Gregg, Larry McCarren, Ron Hallstrom).
- Since Week 10 of 2009, the Packers have an 11-1 record (.917) at Lambeau Field, the second-best winning percentage in the NFL over that span behind only the New England Patriots (11-0, 1.000).
- Green Bay has a 17-7 record (.708) over its past 24 regular-season-games, which is tied for No. 2 in the NFL over that span behind only New England (18-6, .750).
- The Packers have won five straight games and 11 of their last 12 contests (.917) at Lambeau Field. The .917 winning percentage ranks No. 2 in the NFL over that span behind only New England (11-0, 1.000).
- As per team tradition, the Packers select game captains each week.
- Tonight’s captains will be QB Aaron Rodgers (offense), CB Charles Woodson (defense) and CB/S Jarrett Bush (special teams).
WEARING THE STRIPES
- Tonight’s officiating crew includes referee Clete Blakeman (34), umpire Garth DeFelice (53), head linesman Tony Veteri (36), line judge Jeff Seeman (45), field judge Buddy Horton (82), side judge Greg Meyer (78) and back judge Terrence Miles (111).