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5 things to watch: Lions at Packers

Detroit will close out the regular season against Green Bay later today for the third straight year and the fourth time in the last five seasons.

The Packers are 25-2 against the Lions in the state of Wisconsin since 1992 and own a 16-2 home record (.889) against Detroit since 2000, but the Lions beat the Packers 30-17 at Lambeau Field last year and have won three straight over Green Bay, including a 31-23 win earlier this year at Ford Field.

Both teams have missed the playoffs and are looking to end their seasons on a positive note. Here's five things to watch out for in today's matchup.


Both quarterbacks have had down seasons by their standards while battling through injuries, though the two gunslingers come into this one as full participants in practice this week.

Pride is on the line Sunday for these two competitors that continue to send the right message to their teammates and respective franchises by continuing to play with the playoffs out of the picture.

Rodgers is coming off a win against the New York Jets that saw him throw for 442 yards and two touchdowns and run for another two scores. He's 13-4 in his career vs. Detroit with 4,500 yards, 37 touchdowns, six interceptions and a passer rating of 109.3.

Stafford has had a tough last month and a half. He hasn't thrown for multiple touchdowns in six straight games and is coming off an 116-yard, no-touchdown performance against the Vikings last week. His skill weapons have been gutted by roster moves and injury, and it has taken its toll on his play. He somehow has to find a way to push through those obstacles and make some plays in the passing game if the Lions hope to win a second straight in Green Bay.


Packers wide receiver Davante Adams vs. Lions cornerback Darius Slay will be a premier matchup in this one. Both players will be heading to the Pro Bowl after the season, and both are considered among the best at what they do.

In the first meeting, Adams caught seven of the nine balls thrown his way with Slay covering him for 99 yards and a score. Adams finished with 140 yards on nine catches with a touchdown on the day.

Slay will obviously be looking for a little payback in the individual matchup, though Slay came out with the victory Week 5.

Adams needs two receptions to break the Packers' single-season record for catches in a season held by Sterling Sharpe (112). He needs 133 yards to break Jordy Nelson's single-season record of 1,519 yards set in 2014.

Slay has three interceptions on the year and is fifth in the NFL with 18 passes defended.


When kicker Matt Prater is the best offensive weapon the Lions have right now, it's pretty clear they're not playing good football on that side of the ball.

The Lions have scored fewer than 21 points in six straight games and have scored 17 or fewer in five straight. Detroit's averaging just 181.0 net passing yards per game over the last six weeks and are currently 24th in total offense (322.3) and 27th in scoring (19.5).

On the flip side, Green Bay is scoring 25.1 points per game, which ranks 12th in the league, and ranks in the top 10 in the NFL in total offense (382.0).

Either the Lions have to climb out of their offensive funk, or Detroit's defense will really have to play well to give the Lions a chance today.


Rookie safety Tracy Walker has earned an increased role in more defensive packages over the last three weeks. The Lions' third-round pick in April, Walker is long and athletic, and the team really seems to like how he's coming along in his development. He played in 48 percent of the defensive snaps last week, taking some away from veteran Glover Quin.

In the 11 games Walker has played at least 10 snaps on defense this year, he's received a negative grade from Pro Football Focus just once (Week 5 vs. Green Bay). If he had enough snaps to qualify, he'd be graded among the top 15 safeties in the game by PFF.


Detroit's defense has played pretty well over the second half of the season. The Lions currently rank 12th in total defense and are top 15 against the pass and top 10 against the run.

The players seem to be picking up Matt Patricia's scheme and concepts, and opposing coaches are taking notice.

"I think some of the things that they do coverage-wise are some of the best – the different combinations that they have, the variation that they present to you, how they game-plan to take away a certain receiver, the double coverage brackets, those types of things," Packers interim head coach Joe Philbin said this week on a conference call.

"I think those things that they do and have been doing for a while are cutting edge, if that's the right term. I think they know it, they understand it, and you see on the film that they execute it awfully well."

The Packers have racked up more than 500 yards of total offense in three separate games this year, including last week vs. the Jets. They have 5,780 net yards on the year and need 442 today to crack into the top five seasons in franchise history for total net yards.

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