3 Storylines: Packers at Lions
With the Green Bay Packers in the midst of an unusual Thursday-to-Thursday game week, Press-Gazette Media brings you this week’s "3 Storylines" at a special time. This week, the opponent is the Detroit Lions. Here’s a glimpse of what to watch for when the Packers travel to Detroit for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff Thursday.
1. In the Lions’ den: The Packers have lost two straight games at Ford Field, the first time they’ve lost consecutive road games to the Lions since their three straight defeats in 1998, '99 and 2000. Of course, their loss Nov. 15 was the first time they’d dropped a home game to the Lions since 1991, snapping a 24-game winning streak. That was also the last year the Lions beat the Packers twice in the same season. The home streak is finished, and now the Packers will look to reverse their fortunes with a win at Detroit. A victory is vital to the Packers' division title hopes since they trail the Minnesota Vikings by a game in the NFC North race.
2. On different pages: A year ago, with the Packers’ offense struggling after a loss in Detroit, quarterback Aaron Rodgers quelled the fan base’s fears when he confidently told everyone to R-E-L-A-X. It became the rallying cry for the 2014 season. The Packers won their next four games, and finished the season on an 11-2 sprint. Now, they’ve once again lost two of their past three games – and four of their past five – and the Packers’ offense is struggling. But the quarterback hasn’t offered any assurances. Instead, Rodgers said he and his receivers are “on different pages” after last week’s game. Those three words are the defining motto of the first 12 weeks, and they may be an understatement. The Packers’ passing game is broken, far from the prolific unit it has been for most of Rodgers’ time under center. Forget about pages. Right now, Rodgers and his receivers need to find the same book. Maybe they can fix some problems when they play indoors for the first time this season.
3. A cloud of dust: Of course, there is an alternative if the Packers can’t get their passing game on track. Running back Eddie Lacy appears to have found his game, hitting the 100-yard mark in his past two games. To be fair, Lacy may have never really lost it. For all the rumors about his weight and work ethic, the only thing Lacy was truly missing for most of the season was the football. Injuries certainly played a part in that, but Lacy has been productive this season – and throughout his career – when given a healthy dose of carries. Lacy has carried the football 17 times in four games this season, and he has averaged 95 yards in those games. In the six games when he hasn’t gotten 17 carries, Lacy is averaging 22 yards. That’s a massive difference, and it suggests the Packers should lean on their running game even more down the stretch.
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