For the Lions, there is a sizable difference between entering the playoffs as the NFC’s 5-seed versus the 6-seed. The latter means that, in all likelihood, the Lions will be traveling to New Orleans for the first round of the playoffs, the location where Drew Brees shredded the Detroit secondary en route to a 31-17 Saints victory. To avoid a trip to the Superdome, the Lions need a win plus a Falcons loss in Week 17.
The Lions come into Green Bay with a chip on their shoulder, having been beaten handily by the Packers in Detroit on Thanksgiving. Perhaps feeling a bit overlooked in the competitive NFC North, Jim Schwartz’s group is sure to come out with something to prove on Sunday. The Lions would like to enter the postseason on the rise, just as the Packers did one year ago.
Sunday will be Mike McCarthy’s fourth December meeting with the Lions as head coach of the Packers. So far, the Packers have fared well in Week 17 meetings with the Lions. In 2007 the Packers rolled past Detroit in the season finale and in 2008 the Packers helped cap Detroit’s winless season. McCarthy’s only loss to Detroit came last season at Ford Field when Aaron Rodgers left the game before halftime.
Production on offense has been a staple of the Packers’ success against Detroit at home. Green Bay may need to find an alternative route to victory with the availability of several offensive starters in question. A defensive victory would be a major confidence booster for a unit that has regressed over the past year. But with a loaded Lions offense coming to town, don’t count on that type of outcome.