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Pack, Pats to play Super Bowl version 1.5

Monday night football. Super Bowl rematch. Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots. And no World Series to take away some of the national television audience.

It's a major spectacle and a big challenge for two teams with problems that could foil their high expectations. But no matter who wins tonight, on Tuesday morning both teams will still have half the season to play."I don't think this game will have a whole lot of outcome on who goes to the Super Bowl," Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre said. "We could still lose this game and win the rest of them and have homefield advantage (in the playoffs), as can New England."

Both teams are 5-2, but New England faces a tougher schedule.

Six of its eight opponents after tonight have winning records, while only two of Green Bay's last eight games are against teams over .500.

The Patriots' current stretch of four road games in five weeks - with the NFL champion Packers their only home opponent - is critical. They lost the first one 24-19 at the New York Jets, then visit Minnesota, Buffalo and Tampa Bay the next three weeks.

"It's the hardest thing in pro sports to win an away game in pro football," New England tackle Bruce Armstrong said. "We're coming off a loss and, as a team, we can't wait to get back out there and sort of redeem ourselves."

The Patriots' other loss also came on the road, a 34-13 setback in Denver that spoiled their 4-0 start at the expense of mostly weak competition. New England and Miami, which plays Chicago tonight, share first place in the AFC East, a half-game ahead of the Jets (5-3).

"It's those that come back and sustain the level of play that wind up on top at the end," New England coach Pete Carroll said. "And that's what we have to find our way to do."

"When we started out the season, we knew it was going to be a long road," Patriots guard Todd Rucci said. "We didn't think we were going to come out and be perfect on every Sunday. We struggled at times and we're trying to pick up and correct the mistakes."

The Packers, beset by injuries, have had problems, too. Their run defense has been weak, they have just one rushing touchdown and only one win was by more than six points.

Chicago at Miami

The Chicago Bears weren't supposed to play Miami tonight.

But a lot of things that have happened to the Bears weren't supposed to happen this year.

The Chicago-Miami game was made a Monday night game to accommodate Sunday night's final World Series game, which the Florida Marlins won 3-2 in 11 innings.

"It's just part of going with the flow," said Chicago quarterback Erik Kramer. "Nothing this year has gone according to plan."

The Bears (0-7), fighting injuries all year, limp into Miami for the first Monday night game between the two teams since the Bears' Super Bowl year in 1985.

That year, the Monday night matchup was also unusual; the Dolphins won and were the only team to beat Chicago all year.

Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson said moving the game was a hardship for his team as well because it cut into his team's preparation time for its next game.

"We were disappointed we weren't able to play (Sunday)," said Johnson. "This disrupts our schedule and our preparation for Buffalo, but we'll deal with it."

Johnson can't complain too much. His boss, Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga, owns the Marlins, too, as well as Pro Player Stadium, which the teams share.

The only other time an NFL game was bumped to Monday night because of a World Series Game 7 was on Oct. 26, 1987, when the Broncos and Vikings gave up the Metrodome to the Minnesota Twins and St. Louis Cardinals.

The last time the Dolphins had to reschedule a game was in the fall of 1992 in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew.

The Bears-Dolphins game, originally to be shown on Fox, will be broadcast only in the Chicago and Miami areas as part of ABC's "Monday Night Football" coverage.