Packers vs. Lions preview: Predictions, 5 things to watch
TEAMS: Green Bay Packers (6-8-1) vs. Detroit Lions (5-10).
WHEN: Noon Sunday.
WHERE: Lambeau Field.
TV: Fox with Justin Kutcher (play-by-play), Robert Smith, Pat McAfee (analysts), Sarah Kustok (sideline).
RADIO: AM-620 in Milwaukee, FM-101.1 in Green Bay; Packers Radio Network.
SERIES: Packers lead, 100-71-7.
LINE: Packers by 8.
WEATHER: Partly cloudy, high of 35.
COACHES: Green Bay’s Joe Philbin (26-29) vs. Detroit's Matt Patricia (5-10).
LIVE GAME BLOG: Join Tom Silverstein for analysis and lively discussion
5 THINGS TO WATCH
» HITTING THE MARK: Receiver Davante Adams (knee) is questionable, but it’s hard to imagine him not playing with the club season record for receptions and yards on the line. If Adams’ knee keeps him from playing full speed, it’s likely Aaron Rodgers will hit him with two quick passes, so he can surpass Sterling Sharpe’s record of 113. If he’s able to play the entire game, Adams has a chance at topping Jordy Nelson’s record of 1,519 receiving yards in a season. Adams needs 134 yards to surpass Nelson.
» SACK ATTACK: Quarterback Aaron Rodgers holds the club record for most times sacked in a season with 51 set in 2012. If he goes down four times against the Lions he would top his own record. Rodgers holds four of the top five season sack totals and has been sacked 441 times. Brett Favre is the all-time NFL leader in sacks taken with 525, according to Pro Football Reference. He also played 20 seasons. Rodgers is tied for 11th all time with San Diego’s Philip Rivers.
» PICKY PICKY: If the Packers' defense doesn’t register an interception, it will set the franchise record for fewest in a season with seven. The 2004 team under Mike Sherman holds the club record with eight. The Packers’ leader in interceptions this season, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, isn’t even on the team. Only three other Packers players — Bashaud Breeland (two), Kevin King and Jaire Alexander — have interceptions this season. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown 11 interceptions, but five of those came in the season opener against the New York Jets. He has not thrown an interception in three straight games.
» OUT OF REACH: The Packers have forced nine fumbles and recovered seven. Their total recovered ranks tied for the third fewest in a season in franchise history and is just four more than the club record for fewest in a season. Nose tackle Kenny Clark (two) is the only player to recover multiple fumbles. King, Breeland, Reggie Gilbert, Tramon Williams and Dean Lowry each recovered one. The nine fumbles forced were caused by nine different players.
» PACK ATTACKER: Stafford can become the all-time leader in touchdown passes against the Packers if he throws three Sunday. Johnny Unitas leads with 34, Fran Tarkenton is next with 33 and Stafford is third with 32. Stafford would need 324 yards to take the lead in passing yards. He has an 88.6 passer rating in 16 games against the Packers and is 6-10 lifetime against them.
This will be a battle of two beat-up offenses. The team that turns it over fewer times will win. The Packers are much better at home and have a chance to finish out the season with two straight victories. They’ll give Joe Philbin a nice season-ending performance. Packers 27, Lions 23
Detroit has been in a free fall under new coach Matt Patricia and lost seven of its last nine games. Any reason to think the Lions right the ship this week? Not really. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, on the other hand, could very well carry over their good feelings from last week’s comeback win over the Jets. So the guess here is the Packers finish out a highly disappointing season on a decent note. Packers 28, Lions 20
How about the Packers closing out their disappointing 2018 season with a bang? It’s clear after Sunday’s comeback win that the Packers are playing for interim head coach Joe Philbin. Much more uncertain is what the Lions are playing for at this point, if anything. But the biggest question isn’t who wins or loses, but what Davante Adams does. Here’s guessing he not only plays through his knee injury, but also gets the two catches and 134 yards needed to set franchise single-season records. Packers 31, Lions 20
Perhaps interim head coach Joe Philbin decides to pull Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams later in the game Sunday, but I expect the Packers to come out and play hard in the home finale and bury a Lions team that has mailed it in on first-year head coach Matt Patricia. Packers 28, Lions 10
The Packers have dominated the Lions at Lambeau Field, going 22-2 since 1992. But the Lions are riding a three-game overall winning streak in the rivalry (although Aaron Rodgers played in just one of those games). Could the Packers really get swept by the Lions for a second straight season? Say it ain't so, Joe Philbin. Packers 24, Lions 16