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O'HARA'S FINAL THOUGHTS: Johnson & Scarbrough competing to lead Lions in rushing

Lions-Packers Final Thoughts: Friendly competition to lead the Lions in rushing; Packers playing to stay home in the playoffs and Random Thoughts: Protecting David Blough, Kenny Golladay's goals and sticking with my pick:

Runners race: A game within today's game is Kerryon Johnson and Bo Scarbrough competing to lead the Lions in rushing.

Johnson has a slight lead – 350 yards to 335 – but that could change on a play like the 18-yard run Scarbrough had in last week's game at Denver.

They're both taking it as friendly competition. They had real battles in college, when Johnson played for Auburn and Scarbrough for Alabama.

Johnson and Scarbrough are teammates because of a knee injury that caused Johnson to miss eight games. Scarbrough was signed to add depth, and he exceeded reasonable expectations while adding a power back that had been lacking in the run game.

"I don't care who wins it," Johnson said. "Either one, it doesn't matter. He came in and picked up what I left off."

Scarbrough likes the combination of skills he and Johnson bring to the offense. He wouldn't mind if they end up in a tie.

"Kerryon's a good guy," Scarbrough said. "He likes to compete. It's fun, man. It's just a blessing to be here and do the things we do.

"You've got a slasher. You've got a power back. I think it would be good if we both had equal yards. We're competing against each other to make each other better."

Both have played an abbreviated season. Their rushing totals would be considerably higher had they been available for a full season.

Johnson's average of 5 yards per game in seven games would be 800 yards for all 16 games.

Scarbrough's average of 6.7 yards per game for five games would be 1,072 yards for all 16.

Lambeau lure: The Lions could not have hand-picked a more difficult opponent than the Packers for the final game.

The Packers' chance for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs leading up to Super Bowl LIV is a powerful motivating force.

"Knowing we could have two home games to get somewhere special change the whole dynamic – especially with the type of temperatures we get at Green Bay," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told reporters after last week's win over the Vikings.

Random Thoughts:

Pocket protection: My primary thought for today's game is whether the Lions can do a better job of protecting Blough against the Packers rush than the Vikings did last week, when the Packers sacked Kirk Cousins five times.

Za'Darius Smith had five hits and 3.5 sacks and Preston Smith 12. While the two outside linebackers lead the rush, constant pressure up the middle from nose tackle Kenny Clark has made it even tougher on quarterbacks.

"When you get pressure on the pocket from the inside, it makes it tough on a quarterback," Blough said. "It's uncomfortable at our feet. All year he (Clark) caused a lot of disruptions. – as much as anybody."

Lions, middle muddle: In contrast to Clark, the Lions' interior defensive linemen have combined for 4.5 sacks. Lack of penetration – or absence of it – has been an issue all season.

Golladay goals: He has never made public the goals he set for himself, but it's hard not to be satisfied with what he's done already – and with a chance to add to his impressive stats.

He leads the NFL with 11 TD catches, is No. 2 with 21 catches of 20 or more yards and tied for seventh with five of 40 or more yards.

What you're watching is a young star on the rise.

Sticking with my pick: Actually, I didn't make it with the Friday Checklist this week. There are some games when too many things have to go in its favor for a team to win, and this is one of those games. The Packers have every advantage, including incentive.

Pick: Packers 31, Lions 20.

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