The Green Bay Packers will look to continue its hot play when they head to Detroit to take on the Lions on Sunday night. The winner of the game will capture the NFC North division crown and assure themselves of at least one home playoff game. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET with the game to be televised by NBC.
The Packers (9-6) have scored 30 or more points in each of their last three games. The Packers have won five in a row and are coming off their most productive offensive performance in their 38-25 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Eve.
While the Packers are surging, the Lions are stumbling. Detroit (9-6) has lost two straight following their 42-21 setback to the Dallas Cowboys on Monday.
Green Bay and Detroit are meeting for the 175th time. The Packers have won the last two meetings and nine of the last 13, including a 34-27 shootout in Week 3 as the team’s combined for over 740 yards of total offense. Overall, the Packers lead the all-time series 99-68-7 although the Lions hold a 43-40-3 edge in games played in Detroit per Football Database.
Aaron Rodgers will continue his sizzling play, throwing for at least 260 yards and three touchdowns along with no interceptions
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the main reason that Packers offense is running like a well-oiled machine. Rodgers has completed 71.4 (115-161) of his passes for 1,367 yards along with 11 touchdowns and no interceptions during the winning streak. He became the first quarterback to surpass the 300-yard mark against the Minnesota Vikings when he did so on Christmas eve and has three such games this season. Rogers has not thrown an interception in seven games and has been picked off seven times all year.
In the Packers Week 3 victory against the Lions, Rodgers threw for only 205 yards though he did toss four touchdowns. The 33-year-old is 12-3 lifetime against the Lions, producing 250.3 yards a game with 30 touchdowns and just six interceptions.
The Lions are giving up the 16th most passing yards a game at 245.3 yards a game as well as the fourth most passing touchdowns at 29, with seven of them coming over the past three games.
Wide receiver Randall Cobb will play for the Packers
Wide receiver/punt returner Randall Cobb sat out the Packers win over the Vikings due to lingering knee problems. Cobb told ESPN that he hopes the rest will help him be able to play against the Lions.
“That’s what we’re hoping for. I think that was one of the reasons that I was inactive this past week. I think we’re hoping for progress through the week and be able to go on Sunday.”
Cobb was heavily involved in the offense early in the season, garnering seven or more targets in five of his first games. However, he has seen just six passes come his way this month — he has caught all six passes for 52 yards a touchdown. Overall, Cobb is third on the team with 60 receptions for 610 yards.
Whether Cobb is active or not, it is hard to imagine that he will have much of an impact with fellow receivers Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams healthy as well as do-it-all running back Ty Montgomery. Nelson, who is coming off a nine catch, 154-yard, two touchdown performance against the Vikings, has 91 receptions for 1,191 yards along with 14 touchdowns this season. Adams has 69 catches and 10 touchdowns.
Defensive tackle Stefan Charles will not play for the Lions
Backup defensive lineman Stefan Charles will not play for Lions in the season finale. Charles, who has been a fixture in the Lions’ five-man rotation, left Monday’s game in the second half. He was seen with a huge brace after the game and the Detroit Free Press reported that he’s scheduled to undergo further tests on Tuesday.
Charles, who has 12 tackles on the year, was not only Lion to sustain injuries against the Cowboys. Safety Miles Killebrew also left Monday’s game with an eye injury and did not return, and Anquan Boldin (finger) and Andre Roberts (shoulder) missed time in the first half with injuries but finished the game. Detroit was already missing cornerback Darius Slay (hamstring), center Travis Slawson (concussion) and running back Theo Riddick (wrist)
Golden Tate will have a big day for the Lions
Golden Tate has been one of the most consistent wide receivers the past several years. Tate leads the Lions with 85 receptions for 1,000 yards, marking his third consecutive year that he has 80 or more catches. The 28-year-old has had a big month in December, hauling in 28 passes for 383 yards.
Tate had four receptions for 40 yards against the Packers in the first meeting. He averages five receptions for 53.2 yards a game in six career contest versus Green Bay.
Veteran Marvin Jones had a huge game against Green Bay in Week 3, compiling 205 yards on six receptions and two touchdowns. Jones has 50 catches on the season for 854 yards and three scores. The36-year-old Boldin is also someone the Pack will have to contend with as he has 63 receptions.
Green Bay gives up the 13 most receptions in the league, but the fourth most receiving yards (283.7) and second most touchdowns (30).
Green Bay’s defense will force two turnovers and record three sacks
Green Bay has forced 24 turnovers this season with 14 of them coming in the last five games. The Packers have picked off 16 passes. Cornerback Ha Ha Clinton-Dix leads the team with five interceptions while fellow cornerback Damarious Randall has three interceptions.
The Packers also can get after the quarterback, racking up 38 which is tied for the fifth most. The Pack have three players with five or more sacks and five overall with at least three sacks. Linebacker Nick Perry leads the team with 10.0 sacks, with four coming in the last four game. Fellow linebackers Julius Peppers (7.5 sacks) and Clay Matthews (5.0) are second and third on the team, respectively. Defensive tackle Mike Daniels has taken down the quarterback four times while safety Morgan Burnett has done so on three occasions.
Detroit has given the ball away the sixth fewest times (14). Quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown nine interceptions all year though four of them have come in the last three games.
The Lions offensive line has struggled this year. The Lions have permitted the 13th most sacks this season though their o-line is ranked 18th in pass protection by Football Outsiders.
The Packers will claim NFC North crown
Odds Sharks has the Packers favored by 3.5 points.
Green Bay is playing fantastic football and should earn its eighth straight playoff appearance with a 27-14 victory. If the Packers do indeed win, it will be the fifth time they have claimed the NFC North crown during the eight-year run.
Green Bay has a plus-35 point margin of victory this year. However, they are 3-4 in road games with a minus-22 point differential.
Detroit has not ever won the NFC North title and has made just two playoff appearance since the turn of the century. The Lions have a minus-six point differential though they are 6-1 at home, having outscored their opponents by 19 points.
The loser of the game is not automatically eliminated as both teams will reach the postseason, if they tie or the Redskins lose. The Tampa Bay Bucs are also still in the mix but their formula for making the playoffs are a little more complicated.
[Primary Image by Mike Roemer/ AP Images]