Packers can reach playoffs if they avenge loss to Lions

January 5, 2023 GMT
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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks to pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
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Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks to pass during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

DETROIT (8-8) at GREEN BAY (8-8)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. EST, NBC


AGAINST THE SPREAD: Lions 11-4-1, Packers 8-8

SERIES RECORD: Packers lead 105-74-7

LAST MEETING: Lions beat Packers 15-9 in Detroit on Nov. 6.

LAST WEEK: Lions beat Chicago Bears 41-10 at home; Packers beat Minnesota Vikings 41-17 at home.





TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Lions plus-5, Packers plus-4

LIONS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Jared Goff. In his 100th start in the NFL, he will try to be the best former Cal QB on the field as he matches up with four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers. Detroit GM Brad Holmes, a former Los Angeles Rams executive, believed Goff as more than a placeholder when acquiring him and a pair of first-round picks for Matthew Stafford. Holmes’ view has been validated. Goff, who helped the Rams reach Super Bowl 53, has thrown 29 TD passes. His seventh and most recent interception was two months ago in a win over Green Bay.


PACKERS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB Jaire Alexander. Green Bay’s lone Pro Bowl selection is coming off a spectacular performance in which he had the primary coverage responsibilities on Vikings star WR Justin Jefferson, who had just one catch for 15 yards. Alexander has a career-high five interceptions this season and picked off Goff in that Nov. 6 game at Detroit. Goff hasn’t thrown an interception since.

KEY MATCHUP: Packers QB Aaron Rodgers vs. Lions pass defense. Detroit has given up the most yards of any NFL team this season, but the Lions gave Green Bay’s offense all kinds of problems in their 15-9 victory over the Packers earlier this season. Rodgers threw three interceptions in that game to match a career high. The Lions will try to force Rodgers into more mistakes Sunday night.

KEY INJURIES: Lions S DeShon Elliott, who has missed two straight games, has practiced with his injured left shoulder in a brace and hopes to play at Green Bay. ... Packers TE Josiah Deguara didn’t practice Thursday because of a calf injury.


SERIES NOTES: The Lions have won the past two meetings in this series, both in Detroit. The Lions won 37-30 in the final week of the 2021 regular season after the Packers already had clinched the NFC’s No. 1 playoff seed. The Packers are 18-7 against the Lions in games Rodgers has started. Packers RB Aaron Jones has gained 471 yards from scrimmage and has scored seven TDs (three rushing, four receiving) in his past four games against the Lions.

STATS AND STUFF: The Packers have forced 12 turnovers during their four-game winning streak. That matches their total number of takeaways from their first 12 games of the season. ... Packers CB/KR Keisean Nixon leads the NFL in total kickoff return yards (930) and kickoff return average (30.0). Nixon scored on a 105-yard kickoff return against the Vikings in the Packers’ previous game. ... Green Bay K Mason Crosby kicked a 56-yard field goal — the longest ever by a Packer at Lambeau Field — in the Vikings game. ... The Packers will earn their fourth straight playoff berth if they beat the Lions. ... To make the playoffs for the first time since 2016, Detroit needs to win and Seattle loses or ties the Los Angeles Rams at home earlier in the day Sunday. ... Both teams have played well lately. The Packers had been 4-8 before going on this winning streak. The Lions have won seven of nine games after a 1-6 start. ... The Lions’ surge started with their victory over the Packers on Nov. 6. ... Detroit avoided losing 10-plus games for the first time since 2017. ... The Lions are averaging 27 points, ranking among the NFL leaders, and have set a franchise record by scoring 30-plus points a league-high eight times. ... Detroit has thrown for 4,000 yards and run for 2,000 — including 265 against Chicago — for the first time in franchise history. ... The Lions have an NFL-low 15 turnovers. ... Detroit is 404 yards of offense from breaking a team record set in 2012. ... Lions RB Jamaal Williams, who played for the Packers from 2017-2020, had a career-high 144 yards rushing, including a career-best 58-yard run, against the Bears. Williams also ran for his 15th rushing TD, putting him within one of Barry Sanders’ franchise record set in 1991. ... Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown has 190 catches, six short of the mark shared by Justin Jefferson and Michael Thomas for the most over the first two years in the league. ... Detroit’s rookies have combined for 18 1/2 sacks, just short of the NFL record of 19 set by Tennessee in 1999.


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