GREEN BAY - Four days does not a bye week make, but it’s the closest thing the Green Bay Packers have had to one since Week 4 and coach Mike McCarthy intends to use it to his advantage.
Facing a winner-take-all NFC North title game Sunday night in Detroit, McCarthy is making the best use possible of the Saturday-to-Sunday intermission between games as the Packers head into Week 17 of the regular season.
McCarthy gave the players off on Christmas Day following their 38-25 victory Saturday over the Minnesota Vikings and with the game being flexed from noon to 7:30 p.m., he won’t have them on the practice field again until late Wednesday afternoon.
Though the Packers were in Monday to lift weights, rehab injuries and sit through meetings, they will have had 96 hours of rest between the end of their victory Saturday and the start of their first practice this week.
“I love it today,” McCarthy said of having a short week last week. “It was a challenge on the front side of it. Any time you get into those six-day weeks and things like that this late in the season it’s obviously a pull.
“And I just go off what our own personal experience has been playing 10 straight games, coming out of a Thursday night game against Chicago. That’s a grind. That’s the first time we’ve had to do that. That makes a big difference. We made it through. Having the extra day will benefit us, I hope.
“We’re going to use it, that’s for sure and really just focus on the mental aspect of it and get ready for the Lions.”
McCarthy said the players will start reviewing the Lions in meetings Monday and then watch their Monday night game against the Dallas Cowboys on their own. Tuesday is an off day. The coaches typically create the game plan on Tuesday and have it ready for the players when they return to work on Wednesday.
A big emphasis Monday with the players and Tuesday with the coaches will be evaluating the Packers’ own performance of late. McCarthy wants to make sure they aren’t overlooking some of the things that need correcting.
“I spent a lot of time on self-scout the last couple of days, and that’s really what this comes down to,” McCarthy said. “You play all this football and you spend so much time talking about the other guy, you really have to focus on what you’re doing and that’s really what today is for our team.
“We didn’t run the ball very well against the Vikings and that’s something we’ll correct because you have to run the ball this time of year regardless of who you’re playing and where you’re playing them.
“We’re going to spend this little extra time making sure we’re doing things right, like the discipline of it because obviously, it’s a one-game season.”