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NOTEBOOK: Blough, Lions looking to play spoiler to Packers

David Blough knows a thing or two about orchestrating an upset.

He threw for 378 yards and three touchdowns last October leading his Purdue Boilermakers to a, 49-20, upset victory over No. 2-ranked Ohio State.

Blough and his Purdue teammates were 14-point underdogs going into the contest against an Ohio State team that had won 12 straight and had national championship aspirations on their minds.

Blough finds himself in a similar situation this week in the regular-season finale for the Detroit Lions. He and the Lions are 12.5-point underdogs to Green Bay Sunday at Ford Field. The Packers have wrapped up the NFC North division title, and a victory would secure them one of the two first-round byes in the NFC playoffs.

Blough sees a lot of similarities between last October and Sunday's contest.

"Probably play with the same mindset I did in that (Ohio State) game, you just go cut it loose," Blough said. "What do we have to lose? We're just going to go and throw our best shot at them and give them everything we got."

The Lions have lost eight straight. Blough is 0-4 as the team's starter filling in for Matthew Stafford and Jeff Driskel, both of whom are now on IR. Blough's completing 56.6 percent of his passes with four touchdowns and five interceptions for a 68.8 passer rating.

He has, however, made some big plays down the field in the passing game – he has five completions of 30-plus yards – and will look to convert on a few more Sunday as he tries to play the role of spoiler again. 

"They are playing for a lot, but so are we," Blough said. "Pride means something around here and these guys are going to fight."

The Lions lost to Green Bay on a last-second field goal, 23-22, back in Week 6 at Lambeau Field. A questionable hands-to-the-face call late on defensive end Trey Flowers allowed the Packers to run out the clock and kick the field goal.

"Obviously, that game left a bitter taste in our mouth," Blough said of that first matchup with Green Bay. "We have to go out there and put our best foot forward this week. Can't be thinking about (Week 6). We have to go and do it Week 17 with the way the cards line up now."

PLAYOFF MENTALITY

Any way the Packers slice it, they'll need to win three games to reach Super Bowl LIV in Miami.

They could win Sunday at Ford Field, secure a first-round bye in the playoffs, and need two wins in the division and championship rounds to make it.

If they lose to Detroit Sunday, they'll have to take the long route through the playoffs playing in the wild card round first.

It's for that reason Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and his team are treating Sunday like a playoff game.

"This a playoff game for us. There's no doubt about it," LaFleur told the Wisconsin State Journal Thursday. "That's the way we're approaching it, because if you're able to take care of business and win this one, you get a week off. Our guys have to understand that."

Detroit can expect Green Bay's best effort on Sunday.

PITTMAN SIGNED

The Lions used their open 53-man roster spot to promote former Wayne State linebacker Anthony Pittman from the practice squad Friday.

The Lions are thin at linebacker with starters Jarrad Davis, Christian Jones and Jahlani Tavai all on IR. Pittman is expected to join Devon Kennard, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Steve Longa in the rotation at linebacker Sunday against Green Bay.

Pittman had 14 tackles playing in parts of four games in the preseason for the Lions this year.

"I think he's someone that has shown me a lot of consistency and improvement," Lions head coach Matt Patricia said of Pittman. "Certainly, with those linebacker roles, a lot of responsibility in that assignment also comes into special teams.

"So that will be a big part of it too. He's a guy that's shown us that he's ready to go in the special teams category. He's able to kind of take on some of those challenges and be maybe a matchup type of player that can do some different things – that body type, that longer linebacker body type that can kind of do some of those things."

ROBINSON'S FUTURE

Veteran defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson was the only player Friday that didn't take part in practice for the Lions. Robinson is battling a shoulder injury that's kept him out of the Detroit's last two contests.

Patricia said the Lions didn't having any plans as of Friday to put Robinson on IR, and are still hoping his shoulder can improve enough over the next two days to allow him to play in Sunday's season finale.

If not, will Robinson have played his last game in Detroit?

Robinson is an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and one of the players GM Bob Quinn will have to make a decision on.

The former second-round pick in Quinn's first draft class in 2016 has played in 48 games (37 starts) with 120 tackles, 5.0 sacks, 16 passes defended, three forced fumbles and an interception in four seasons.

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