Dave Schroeder’s ‘Fast 5 Pack Facts’: Packers at Lions
Get in the know and ready to go with the “Fast Facts”
DETROIT, Mich. (WBAY) - As the Green Bay Packers (13-3) prepare to close out the regular season at the Detroit Lions (2-13-1) it’s time to get in the know and ready to go with Dave Schroeder’s “Fast 5 Pack Facts.”
#1 Rest vs. Rust: Matt LaFleur has said all week he plans to play his starters and play to win in Detroit. With the 1 seed and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs already locked up, there is always injury risk. But the record-setting head coach (39-9 in 3 years so far) is more worried about giving his guys too much time off before the playoffs begin. Aaron Rodgers has had a playoff bye 4 previous times. He lost the 1 time he rested in the regular season finale. He won the 3 other times when he had to play in the final game.
#2 Sleepy in Detroit: The Packers have not played well in Detroit and LaFleur’s teams have not played great against the Lions.
Green Bay has fallen behind early in each of their last 8 trips to Michigan (by scores like 40-10, 24-0, 20-0, 27-3, and 14-0). And in 5 total games against the Lions overall? LaFleur has seen his Packers start slow, taking an average of 20:30 to find the end zone for the first time in those games.
What’s more, Green Bay has accumulated 13 wins this season despite only leading after the 1st quarter 4 times. Getting a fast start today would allow LaFleur to perhaps rest his starters earlier and feel better about starting strong overall entering the playoffs.
#3 Getting Healthier: The Packers have won, and won, and won, and won without so many key starters. It’s easy to gloss over this fact. But that fact is, if they were losing games, outsiders would cut the Packers some slack with their slew of injurues. But they have made no excuses and done an otherworldly job. David Bakhtiari, Elgton Jenkins, Josh Myers, Billy Turner, Robert Tonyan, Randall Cobb, Za’Darius Smith, and Jaire Alexander have all missed large amounts of time.
Against the Lions, several of those injured starters could return to get their sea legs ahead of the playoffs.
#4 Incentivized Play: Davante Adams wants to play. And he talked this week of really wanting to get the 22 yards necessary to break Jordy Nelson’s single-season franchise record of 1,519 receiving yards. On defense? Packers OLB Preston Smith needs 1 more sack to get to double digits on the season, triggering a $750,000 bonus according to Adam Schefter. It would also increase Smith’s base salary for next season by half a million dollars. Plenty of Packers have a lot to play for.
And as a whole? A Packers win would tie them with the 1985-87 Bears for the most regular season wins in any 3-year span in NFL history. That’s kind of a big deal. Right now Green Bay is tied for 2nd place with the Colts, Broncos, and Patriots with 39 wins.
#5 MVP Stat of the Week: Aaron Rodgers has thrown for a remarkable 36 touchdowns and 0 interceptions against NFC North foes the last 2 years. Rodgers should be in line for a 4th MVP award, if the voters only consider his on-field performance.
Prediction: Packers 27, Lions 26 (I picked the Packers to go 14-3 before the season started and I am sticking with it!)
As always, tune in to Action 2 News at 5:30 and 10:00 for postgame highlights and reports and stay up late for Sunday Sports Night Cover 2 at 10:35 p.m. for the best postgame coverage around.
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