The Detroit Lions (4-8) look to save their season (schedule) and at least finish with a .500 record in 2012. Up first for the Lions in their last four matchups of the season is NFC North rivals Green Bay Packers (8-4). The Lions will have to break some long streaks to get a victory against the Packers. The matchup between the rivals was kept as the Sunday Night Football game, which airs on NBC.
The Lions have lost 20 straight games at the Packers famous Lambeau Field. In fact, in the last ten years the Lions have only beat the Packers three times. The last victory came in Detroit in 2010 with a score of 7-3. Green Bay has won six of their last seven games and is now in control of the NFC North Division as the 2012 NFL Playoffs near. The Packers hold an impressive 5-1 record at Lambeau this year, with their last loss coming Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Last time the Lions traveled to Green Bay, several Detroit players had outstanding games, providing a bit of hope for fans. On January 1, 2012, the Lions lost a close 40-45 game against the Packers, who were led by backup quarterback Matt Flynn. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a career high 520 passing yards, and also added five touchdown passes. Stafford currently ranks first in passing yards on the 2012 NFL season. Stafford does have a low 16 passing touchdowns, compared to Aaron Rodgers total of 29.
Calvin Johnson had a career high 244 receiving yards in last year’s New Year’s Day matchup. Johnson likely won’t set a new career high in yards in Sunday’s matchup. Calvin can set a new NFL record if he posts at least 125 receiving yards, which would mark the sixth game in a row. Johnson also remains on pace to break Jerry Rice’s single season record of 1848 receiving yards.
Calvin currently has 1428 receiving yards and is well ahead of the pace set by Rice in the 1995 season. Calvin also needs only 241 yards to pass Herman Moore for the Lions single season record. That number is a couple of weeks away, but Johnson could easily pass Brett Perriman at 1488 for third place on the Lions single season list. This would give Calvin second and third places, as last year’s total of 1681 trails only Moore in 1995.
The Lions will need a big game from Johnson. Titus Young was placed on injured reserve, after being made inactive by the team after a coaching dispute. Rookie receiver Ryan Broyles was also placed on injured reserve and will miss the rest of the season. The Lions added new receiver Kris Durham, former roommate of Stafford while at the University of Georgia.
Both teams will try to stop the passing offense as that is each team’s strength. The Packers rank 11th in passing yards per game and only 20th in rushing yards. The Lions rank 18th and 19th in passing and rushing defense respectively. The Lions will face Greg Jennings, who was inactive the last time the two teams met. Jordy Nelson is listed as questionable for the Packers.
The Packers will be happy to possibly welcome back defensive back Charles Woodson. The Packers rank 17th in passing yards defense and face the Lions, who have the best passing offense in the league. The Lions average 312.5 passing yards per game. In the last matchup between the Packers and Lions, Stafford threw two interceptions and fumbled the ball once.
The Lions lost 20-24 to the Lions earlier this year. The team needs to capitalize on scoring drives. The Lions kicked two field goals in the last matchup after failing to convert key third downs. The Packers need the win to keep their Playoff trip on track. Lions head coach Jim Schwartz may need a couple of wins to keep his job.