8:20 PM ET, December 9, 2012
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
It didn't take long, but the Green Bay Packers have returned to the top of the NFC North.
The Lions have lost 20 consecutive games in Green Bay, last winning there in 1991.
"It probably (means) more to the people who have been here 20 years than us," Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "We just want to go in there and put a good game together and try to come out on top."
After falling back into second place with a loss to the New York Giants on Nov. 25, the Packers (8-4) drew back into a first-place tie with Chicago on Sunday with a 23-14 win over Minnesota.
"Everything's right in front of us," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "We've got to go win our home games and get a couple wins on the road."
After finishing 27 of 35 for 286 yards with one touchdown and one interception against the Vikings, Rodgers will try to improve on his 7-1 mark all-time versus Detroit.
The loss came at Ford Field in 2010 when he was knocked out in the first half with a concussion.
Rodgers has thrown for at least two touchdowns in every other game, including the last meeting on Nov. 18 when he threw a 22-yard score to Randall Cobb with 1:55 left in a 24-20 win at Detroit.
It appears, however, that Rodgers will lead a banged-up offense again on Sunday.
Rodgers has already been sacked a league-high 39 times, three more than all of last season. Detroit sacked Rodgers three times in their last meeting.
Making matters worse, Green Bay will be without second-leading receiver Jordy Nelson after he left Sunday's game in the first quarter with a strained hamstring.
The Packers, though, are hopeful that the signing of Ryan Grant can bolster the backfield, where Cedric Benson (foot) will miss the rest of the season and James Starks (knee) is expected to miss multiple weeks. Grant had 1,000-yard seasons for Green Bay in 2008-09.
The team has struggled to find consistency in the running game, ranking 11th in the NFC with 105.0 yards per game while scoring a league-low three touchdowns on the ground.
"Ryan has great history with us, can kind of step right in," coach Mike McCarthy said. "I don't see him having any issues getting ready."
Green Bay isn't likely to have any issues moving the ball against a Detroit defense that has allowed 69 points and 960 yards in its last two games.
The Lions (4-8) have lost four straight, dropping the last three at home despite leading in the fourth quarter in each contest.
Andrew Luck was the latest to break their hearts on Sunday when he threw a touchdown pass on the final play to give Indianapolis a 35-33 comeback win.
"This is a tough league for tough people, and we'll find out now who is tough," Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said.
Although he won't be making a second consecutive trip to the playoffs, Matthew Stafford continues to put up big numbers. He leads the NFL with 3,742 passing yards after piling up 754 with four touchdowns in the last two games.
Stafford had a huge day in his last trip to Lambeau, throwing for a career-high 520 yards and five touchdowns in a 45-41 loss Jan. 1. Rodgers sat out with the Packers closing the regular season having wrapped up the NFC's No. 1 seed, but former backup Matt Flynn threw for 480 yards and six scores.
Calvin Johnson, who had a career-high 244 yards receiving in that game, had another personal best Sunday with 13 receptions to go along with 171 yards and a TD.
Johnson will try to set an NFL record on Sunday night with his sixth straight game with at least 125 yards receiving.
Young has been inactive for the last two games after what Schwartz called "unacceptable" behavior. Broyles tore his right ACL against the Colts.
Still, Detroit leads the NFC in total yards per game (416.1) after totaling 976 the past two games and faces a hobbled Green Bay defense.
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• Get Rodgers off his mark: The Packers' offensive line is banged up and Aaron Rodgers has had less time to scan the field. The Lions' secondary was exploited for 372 passing yards by the Colts in Week 13. Detroit has been inconsistent pressuring opposing quarterbacks and will need to get Rogers off his mark to have a chance. Look for defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham to be more aggressive with seven- and eight-man blitz packages to disrupt the Packers' air attack.
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Green Bay Packers
|Avg Points Allowed||26.3||21.5|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||DET|
|Rush Yds Allowed||DET|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Green Bay leads 21-3|
|Nov 18, 2012||DET 20, GB 24|
|Jan 1, 2012||DET 41, @GB 45|
|Nov 24, 2011||DET 15, GB 27|
|Dec 12, 2010||DET 7, GB 3|
|Oct 3, 2010||DET 26, @GB 28|
|Nov 26, 2009||DET 12, GB 34|
|Oct 18, 2009||DET 0, @GB 26|
|Dec 28, 2008||DET 21, @GB 31|
|Sep 14, 2008||DET 25, GB 48|
|Dec 30, 2007||DET 13, @GB 34|
|Nov 22, 2007||DET 26, GB 37|
|Dec 17, 2006||DET 9, @GB 17|
|Sep 24, 2006||DET 24, GB 31|
|Dec 11, 2005||DET 13, @GB 16|
|Sep 11, 2005||DET 17, GB 3|
|Dec 12, 2004||DET 13, @GB 16|
|Oct 17, 2004||DET 10, GB 38|
|Nov 27, 2003||DET 22, GB 14|
|Sep 14, 2003||DET 6, @GB 31|
|Nov 10, 2002||DET 14, @GB 40|
|Sep 22, 2002||DET 31, GB 37|
|Nov 22, 2001||DET 27, GB 29|
|Sep 9, 2001||DET 6, @GB 28|
The Lions have failed to generate pressure with their four-man pass rush in the fourth quarter this season. The Lions failed to sack or put Aaron Rodgers under duress using four or fewer rushers in the fourth quarter in Week 11, and Rodgers went 5-of-6 for 82 yards and the game-winning touchdown to Randall Cobb.[+]
Lions Defense Sending 4 or Fewer Rushers - This Season
Although Calvin Johnson's touchdowns have decreased, the Lions have used Johnson to stretch the field more often this season. More than half of his targets this season have come more than 10 yards downfield (42.0 percent through Week 13 in 2011). Johnson had four such receptions against the Packers in Week 11 on eight targets, with the rest of the Lions catching two of their 11 targets.[+]
Calvin Johnson Receiving More Than 10 Yards Downfield - Last 2 Seasons Through Week 13
Since tackle Bryan Bulaga's injury in Week 9 against the Cardinals, the Packers have struggled to protect Aaron Rodgers despite facing an increase of standard four-man rushes. Three of the Packers' four highest rates being sacked or put under duress have occurred in the past three games.[+]
Packers Dropback Percentages - Before/After Bryan Bulaga Injury This Season
ESPN Stats & Information