3 storylines: Packers vs. Lions
Each Tuesday, Press-Gazette Media will turn to the week ahead with three storylines for the Green Bay Packers' next game. This week, the opponent is the Detroit Lions. Here's a glimpse of what to watch for when the Packers host the Lions for a noon kickoff Sunday.
1. The streak hits 25: It will continue to be the biggest storyline whenever the Detroit Lions travel to Lambeau Field, until it ends. The Packers have won 24 straight games against the Lions within Wisconsin state boarders, a streak that could hit 25 on Sunday.
The Lions' last win in Wisconsin was Dec. 15, 1991. Twelve players on the Packers' current roster — including all eight rookies — were born after the streak started. Of course, the Packers are happy to return home for other reasons. They've lost two straight road games against undefeated opponents.
It's not like the Lions are the only team they've been beating at home, either. The Packers have won 12 straight games inside Lambeau Field, dating to the start of last season. Their longest home winning streak under coach Mike McCarthy is 13 games (2010-11).
2. A black-and-blue stretch: The month of November is tough enough. The season's third month starts at the midway point. The days are short, and players are beat up.
For the Packers (6-2), November also includes the pivotal stretch of their season. They will play four straight games against the NFC North in a span of 19 days, starting against the Lions (1-7).
The Packers then travel to Minnesota (6-2) for what could be a tough road test against their division co-leader. Then comes the Thanksgiving night affair against the visiting Bears (during which Brett Favre will be honored), followed by a rematch against the Lions the next Thursday night (Dec. 3) in Detroit.
It's never ideal to play four straight games against divisional opponents, no matter if the Lions enter Lambeau Field with the league's worst record.
3. Same old Lions: The last time these two teams played — last season's finale at Lambeau Field — it was effectively the NFC North title game. The winner would take the division and, with the game being at Lambeau Field, the Packers naturally won.
Still, the Lions were expected to be a challenge inside the NFC North for the first time in a really, really long time. Then they lost defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh in free agency, and think what you want about Suh, but he was clearly the organization's heart and soul.
Suh's absence is the elephant inside the Lions' locker room. They haven't been the same this season, even with stars such as Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford.