Packers brace for desperate Detroit squad

GREEN BAY, Wis. — It’s desperation time for the Detroit Lions.


Though coach Jim Schwartz does not want to admit it, the 4-5 Lions need to beat the Packers this weekend in order to keep their season alive.


Detroit is in last place in the NFC North and has lost all three division games its played so far; two to the Minnesota Vikings (6-4) and one to the Chicago Bears (7-2).


“This year, we didn’t start fast, but there’s still opportunity for us,” Schwartz said in a Wednesday teleconference. “The deal in this league is being able to concentrate on the next week that comes up, and with the Packers coming here to town, it’s obviously an important start for a home stand for us.


“A couple years ago, Green Bay was (8-6) with two games to play. I think this league has been proven that you’ve just got to battle it out week to week and get hot at the right time, and that’s one of the things we need to do this week.


“There’s no better time for us than this week.”


Lions quarterback Matthews Stafford has not repeated the success that he had last season, but Detroit is still ranked first in the NFL in passing yards. Stafford has thrown 11 touchdown passes with eight interceptions and is ranked 18th in passer rating, but his 388 pass attempts are the most in the league.


Calvin Johnson, the highest-paid wide receiver in NFL history, leads the league in receiving yards this season, but he only has two touchdown catches. Johnson, according to ProFootballFocus.com, also has eight drops, the second-most of all wide receivers.


“If I drop a ball, I go to Matt, ‘My bad, next time,'” Johnson said in a teleconference. “We have guys who are accountable to each other and guys you can count on to do their job when called upon.”


Detroit’s remaining seven games are very difficult. In addition to two games against the Packers coming up, the Lions have to face the 8-1 Houston Texans and the 8-1 Atlanta Falcons. So, after making the playoffs last year for the first time since 1999, it’s unlikely that Detroit will be able to accomplish that twice in consecutive seasons.


“It’s just little things here and there that cost you games,” Johnson said. “Not just one little thing, but they add up during the course of the game, from penalties to just somebody not being where they’re supposed to be, things like that. All these games, we’ve been in. It’s just those little things that’ll get you beat.”


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