Lions-Packers Preview

The Detroit Lions are heading to Lambeau Field atop the NFC

North. Guaranteeing they stay there will require them to break

another extensive road losing streak.

Two weeks after winning at Washington for the first time in 21

tries, the Lions will try to snap a 22-game Wisconsin skid against

the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

Nineteen of those losses came at Lambeau while three were played

in Milwaukee. The Lions’ last road win against the Packers was Dec.

15, 1991 in Green Bay, and they’ll look to snap that slide after

ending a nearly 68-year drought at Washington with a 27-20 victory

Sept. 22.

“It’s the same mindset we have every time we play a road game,”

quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “Lambeau’s a tough environment

but it’s no different than any other place.”

This will be a matchup of two of the three NFL teams averaging

at least 400 yards of offense and 30 points.

Stafford and the Lions moved into a tie for first with a 40-32

home win over Chicago on Sunday. Detroit turned in its best rushing

performance of the year, finishing with 159 yards after totaling

112 the previous two weeks.

Reggie Bush had his best game with the Lions, running for 139

yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

The Packers rank eighth in rush defense at 93.3 yards allowed

per game, though they’re 28th against the pass at 311.0. Stafford’s

top target, Calvin Johnson, has 21 catches and 362 receiving yards

in his last two visits to Green Bay.

The Packers could have starting safety Morgan Burnett back to

help hold the Lions’ offense in check. He missed the first three

games with a hamstring injury.

“They have a very explosive offense,” Burnett said. “They’ve got

a lot of weapons with Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush; they’ve got

(Brandon) Pettigrew at tight end, you’ve got Matthew Stafford at

quarterback. They’ve got weapons, so you’ve got to trust your

defense, trust your technique. You can’t get out of line with

guessing or anything, because they’re a good team.”

Hamstring injuries have left the statuses of linebacker Clay

Matthews and cornerback Casey Hayward uncertain, though Matthews

was back at full speed in practice Thursday and plans to play.

Stafford threw for 242 yards with a touchdown and interception

against the Bears, and he wasn’t asked to do much after the Lions

built a 30-13 halftime lead.

Detroit’s defense forced four turnovers for the second time this

year with an effective pass rush, sacking Jay Cutler three times to

double his season total. The Lions, though, were outscored 16-3 in

the fourth quarter as Cutler threw for two TDs, and rattling Aaron

Rodgers hasn’t been quite as easy for Detroit.

The Packers are 8-1 against the Lions with Rodgers starting,

with the loss coming in a game he was knocked out of Dec. 12,


Green Bay is third in the league with 454.7 yards per game and

second in scoring average at 32.0 points.

Running back Eddie Lacy hopes to have the chance to help sustain

those gaudy numbers. He was at practice early in the week after

being sidelined by a concussion sustained Sept. 15 in a 38-20

victory over Washington.

Without Lacy, however, the Packers have had a 100-yard rusher in

back-to-back games after going the previous 44 without one.

“I’m fully aware of how we’re viewed, but the reality is how our

offense is implemented in practice and how we train, it starts with

the run game,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “Now, the way the games

are played has a lot to do with the trend and the flow of the

football game. Running the football is important.”

James Starks ran for 132 yards against the Redskins and

Johnathan Franklin had 103 on Sept. 22, though Green Bay lost 34-30

at Cincinnati the week before its bye.

Rodgers’ 105.1 passer rating is among the league leaders, but

the Bengals were able to get to him and create mistakes. They

sacked him four times and forced him into two of his three

interceptions this year, while holding him to 244 yards


Rodgers had surpassed 250 passing yards in seven straight games

since the Lions held him to 173 in a 27-20 victory Dec. 9.

The Packers have won nine in a row at home, with Rodgers getting

picked off just four times in that span. Snapping streaks, though,

isn’t the main motivator for Lions coach Jim Schwartz.

“No. 1, it would be our fourth win of the year,” he said. “No.

2, it would make us 3-0 in our division. It would give us another

chance to put a loss on a division opponent. We certainly want to

end the streak (in Wisconsin), but that’s not our rallying cry. Our

rallying cry is ‘Green Bay’ and ‘division game.’ Those are the

things that will mean more to the players.”

Detroit added veteran receiver Kevin Ogletree on Wednesday a day

after he was cut by Tampa Bay. He adds much-needed depth for the

Lions in the absence of No. 2 receiver Nate Burleson, out

indefinitely with a broken left arm.