Morning Buzz: Packers battle for the North

Aaron Nagler
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Happy New Year! Welcome to your game day Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at Grab a cup of coffee (or brew some tea, if that’s your thing) and get caught up on everything you need to know before the Packers take on the Lions tonight in the battle for the NFC North crown.

As always, game day starts with Bob McGinn’s game preview.

From Bob:

The schedule-maker gave the Packers about 2½ more days of rest than the Lions. Yet, the Lions haven’t complained, at least publicly. Their personnel can’t begin to compare with the Packers', and Green Bay has a vast advantage in big-game experience. Blowout? If the Packers strike early, maybe. If not, expect another photo finish.

Tom Silverstein writes on Mike McCarthy and his staff pushing the boundaries of creativity.

From Tom:

When you’re tied for the most touchdowns in the NFL over the past 10 games and you have four guys with a combined seven 100-yard performances in either receiving or rushing over the past six and a quarterback with a 119.78 passer rating over the past five, you start to wonder what else is possible.

During the Packers’ five-game winning streak, McCarthy and his staff have been creative to a point but careful not to go away from their strengths just to try to fool the opposition.

Facing playoff elimination in the 256th and final regular-season game of the 2016 season, you have to wonder if the coaches will come up with some brainy new ideas to take advantage of a sudden abundance of talent at the skill positions

With the NFC North crown on the line tonight, Bob McGinn takes a look around the division with the help of a four executives in personnel for NFC teams to award his All-NFC North team.

Bob also has his Sunday column up on tonight’s showdown in Detroit with predictions from a few different personnel people around the league.

Our predictions for today’s game can be found in the video below:

Over at the Detroit Free Press, Dave Birkett has the latest on the Lions’ injuries.

NFL Network reports that Randall Cobb may dress, but won’t do much tonight:

Ian Rapport also as an interesting note at the end of this Sunday post for Around the NFL regarding the future of Packers general manager Ted Thompson:

From Rapoport:

If you're looking for a surprise, the Packers could be it. While the coaching staff may tinker after the season, including possibly OC Edgar Bennett likely getting head coach interviews, it is expected to have minimal changes. The front office, however, is a different story. GM Ted Thompson is under contract through 2018, but this could be the year he steps aside and becomes a senior scouting adviser. If Green Bay has success in the playoffs, that possibility increases. There are a few reasons why: First of all, Director of Football Operations Eliot Wolf is coveted and he'll have opportunities to interview as a GM elsewhere. The organization could risk losing him if he's not promoted. Second of all, CEO Mark Murphy still hasn't hired his own guy, and he's been around the organization much more this year as he studies things from the inside. There are plenty of talented people in the Packers front office -- VP Russ Ball, Director of Player Personnel Brian Gutekunst and Senior Personnel Executive Alonzo Highsmith among them. And this could be the year Thompson steps aside to make way for them.

The Giants seemingly want no part of facing the Packers in the playoffs. (Funnily enough, I’d wager most Packers fans want no part of seeing the Giants.)

Do not miss this piece from Jason Wilde on Packers cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt Jr. and his history of overcoming dyslexia.

Former Packers head coach Mike Holmgren talks with NFL Films about winning a ring:

Sports Illustrated’s Chris Burke writes on tonight’s matchup:

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Ice Bowl. You can watch highlights of the iconic game below:

Speaking of history, the Packers have a history of dominating the Lions in critical games:

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