The Nerazzurri, who play hosts to the Rossoneri this weekend, are fifth in the standings, 15 points behind Juve.
Milan have had their worst start to the season in 30 years and go into the showdown at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium in 10th place, 24 points adrift of the leaders.
"We are more in need of a victory than they are," AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati said to www.acmilan.com. "Inter are nine points clear of us.
"However, our (2-2) result against Roma on Monday has given us a big boost in confidence ahead of the derby.
"It would be fantastic to go into the Christmas break with a victory and more so a derby win.
"I don't look at the standings as the last time I did, I felt like crying.
"I suffer looking at the table because we have had a first half of the competition not of the standard of Milan."
In contrast, Juve go into Sunday's match at Atalanta riding an eight-match winning streak in Italy's top flight.
Last weekend's 4-0 triumph at Sassuolo coupled with Roma's draw at AC Milan allowed Juve to extend their lead at the top of the table to five points.
Roma host bottom side Catania eager to go into the winter break unbeaten and keep seemingly unstoppable Juve in their sights.
Napoli are one place and three points adrift of Roma heading into Saturday's match at Cagliari.
The Naples outfit bounced back from their elimination from the Champions League with a 4-2 triumph over Inter Milan last time out.
Seventh-placed Torino host Chievo looking for their third consecutive victory.
Lazio are eighth and travel to Verona to face Hellas desperate to end their winless run on the road this season.
Sampdoria are riding a four-match winning run in all competitions heading into Sunday's game against Parma.
The Blucerchiati have yet to lose a game under coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, who replaced Delio Rossi at the helm of Samp last month.
Anything but a victory could see Sassuolo spend Christmas in the relegation zone.
Sassuolo lie 17th in the standings, one point clear of the relegation zone heading into their home match against fourth-place Fiorentina.
Livorno have lost four of their last five league games to drop into the bottom three but a win at home to Udinese could see them climb away from the relegation zone.
Bologna are desperate to end the rot when they host Genoa at the Renato Dall'Ara stadium on Sunday.
The Rossoblu's last victory dates back to October 30 and they have collected three points since then - all from draws.