NOTEBOOK: Lions turn to Packers on short week

The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers meet at Ford Field Sunday night in a matchup to decide the NFC North title.

Detroit has the home-field advantage, but the Packers have the advantage of getting about a 60-hour head start on preparing for the game and recovering from injuries.

The Packers played at Lambeau Field at 1 p.m. Saturday. The Lions were on the road Monday night in Dallas.

"You play a Monday night game, you get refocused," head coach Jim Caldwell said. "It's a long trip back home, but by the time we land, you better start thinking about Green Bay obviously.

"Guys are hurting right now, that's how it is when you lose a game, but I think our guys are resilient. It's a tough-minded group. They'll be fine."

As for any advantage the Packers might have with two extra days to prepare, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said there's really nothing they can do about it, so they'll control what they can control, which is turning the switch rather quickly to next week and preparing on a short week.

"When we land it has to be Green Bay all the time," Stafford said. "We get it at our place and a chance to win the division.

"Beginning of the year, you tell us Week 17 we have a chance to play the Green Bay Packers at home for the division, I'm taking it all day."

The game being flexed to Sunday night, instead of its original 1 p.m. start, does help the Lions some.

"I'm not really concerned about their advantages," Caldwell said. "I'm concerned about what we do. What we do is we've got to get our guys ready to play." 


The NFL is a copycat league. Teams will key in pretty quickly when they find things to exploit. Over the last few weeks, the Lions have seen a good amount of press man coverage from opposing defenses.

Detroit receivers have struggled to get open against press coverage of late, which has impacted Detroit's ability to make plays down the field in the passing game. Add in the fact that quarterback Matthew Stafford isn't 100 percent with an injured right middle finger, and opposing defenses seem to have found a bit of kryptonite the last few weeks.

"I think they might have mixed in a little more man coverage," Stafford said when asked Monday what the difference was after scoring on each of their first three possessions, and then failing to score on their next eight.

"It seemed like they were playing a decent bit more man, just trying to take away easy completions, force you to make tough throws and tough catches and we just didn't do it."

Stafford and Co. can probably expect more of the same next week against the Packers.


Receivers Anquan Boldin (finger) and Andre Roberts (shoulder) left the game in the first half, but did return and contribute in the second half.

Safety Miles Killebrew (eye) and defensive tackle Stefan Charles (knee) were injured in the second half and did not return.


  • Rookie guard Joe Dahl got his first action on offense in Dallas. He and Laken Tomlinson split reps at left guard. 

"He's coming along, making good progress," Caldwell said of Dahl. "This is an ideal time for us to get his feet wet a little bit, get him in there, get him going.

"We're not ever concerned about the moment and those kinds of things. These guys, that's what they sign up for. We try to get the guys in the best possible position to give us the best chance to win. We wanted to make certain he got in there and played some."

  • Turnovers and penalties are two areas in which Caldwell preaches the importance of week after week. The Lions lost the turnover battle 2-0 in Dallas, and their 62 yards of penalties, a couple crucial calls that led to scores, played a role in the loss.
  • Ziggy Ansah looked more like his old self. After recording his first sack of the season last week, Ansah followed it up with another sack in Dallas, plus seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit.
  • Tight End Eric Ebron led the Lions in receiving with eight catches for 93 yards on 12 targets.
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