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Packers prepare for close game against Lions, celebrate rookie Barnes

Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, left, talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur, left, talks with quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)(Bruce Kluckhohn | AP)
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 10:48 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Last year the packers literally led the lions for zero minutes and zero seconds, Yet won both meetings. Mason Crosby connected on two field goals as time expired to give Green Bay two improbable wins.

9-1 in one-score games last year, the Packers thrived under Matt LaFleur’s leadership, while the Lions wilted under 4th-quarter pressure under Matt Patricia. The Lions blew 6 fourth-quarter leads in 2019. And last week? Detroit somehow, some way, found a way to lose after leading the Bears 23-6 in the 4th quarter. And Detroit dropped a would-be game winner in the final moments after trying to come back after blowing that lead. So what exactly separates teams in close games?

“Execution,” said Preston Smith. “That’s what it comes down to in late game situations. Executing. The team that executes the best usually come out on top. When we played Detroit both times, we made some mistakes early on and they capitalized on them. Then later on we started executing better than they were.”

“They gave us everything we could handle last year,” said coach Matt LaFleur. “The fact that they were winning for literally 120 minutes out of 120 minutes, it was pretty much a miracle that we were able to take both games. It’s going to be a tough game.” “I think it’s situational football in winning those tight games,” said safety Adrian Amos. “There are a lot of tight games in this division. A lot of games come down to the wire and come down to field goals and 2 minute drives.”

Looking back, the true surprise of Week 1 for the Packers was inside linebacker Krys Barnes. The undrafted rookie went from cut-down casualty the week befor, to starter in the opener posting 6 tackles (including 2 tackles for loss).

Barnes actually played high school ball with Packers first round draft pick Jordan Love. Barnes was more highly recruited out of high school before roles reversed with the draft. But now things are flipped again with Barnes seeing immediate action as the new season dawned. And the undrafted Barnes has a big chip on his shoulder after being overlooked entering the NFL.

“That’s going to drive me to no end,” Barnes said. “I want to get better every day and continue to prove like I belong here and continue to make those teams feel like they missed on something great. That’s going to drive me forever.”

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