Packers go after NFC North title, quick start at Detroit
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams has caught touchdowns in seven straight games to tie Hall of Famer Don Hutson’s franchise record.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers last week became the fastest player to reach 400 career touchdown passes.
While the NFC North-leading Packers have won four of five entering Sunday’s visit to the Detroit Lions behind the heroics of their offensive stalwarts, Green Bay (9-3) is aware of its slew of recent slow starts against its division rival, namely at Ford Field.
Adams admitted the Packers play “a little bit sleepy” in first halves at Detroit, joking the Lions must put some “drowsy (stuff)” in the air conditioning.
Avoiding early shakiness will be the goal for Green Bay, which can clinch the NFC North title with a win and a Minnesota Vikings loss or tie, or a tie and a Vikings loss.
Green Bay can earn a playoff berth with a win and losses by either the Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams or Seattle Seahawks. If the Packers tie the Lions, Green Bay still can qualify for the postseason with a Cardinals loss, Rams loss and Cardinals tie, or a Seahawks win or tie and Cardinals tie.
Detroit (5-7) is coming off a 34-30 road comeback victory against the Chicago Bears. The Lions trailed by 10 points late in the fourth quarter but scored a pair of touchdowns in a 41-second span to stun the Bears and pull to within one game of the final NFC wild-card spot.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford overcame early struggles to go 27-for-42 passing for 402 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He has helped steer the Lions back toward postseason contention despite the extended absence of wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who has missed the past five games with an injured hip and did not practice Wednesday.
“Any time you go up against a guy the caliber of Matthew Stafford, I think he’s one of the elite players in this league,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “There’s not a throw he can’t make and he’s capable of throwing for 400 (yards) each and every week. So, our defense is going to have a great challenge in front of them.”
After navigating various injuries, the Green Bay secondary has returned to health for the stretch run, with top cornerbacks Jaire Alexander, Kevin King and Chandon Sullivan all contributing to the rotation.
This week, Lions special teams coordinator Brayden Coombs reiterated his confidence in kicker Matt Prater, who has made just 18 of 25 field goals this season, a 72 percent rate that marks his lowest since making 1 of 4 attempts in two games with the Atlanta Falcons during his debut season.
Four of Prater’s misses have come on kicks of at least 51 yards, but each had enough distance.
“I can tell you guys that Matt Prater has not lost his fastball,” Coombs said. “He can still crush the ball. We’ve talked all year about he’s had a little bit of inconsistencies with the field goals, but make no mistake about it, the guy still has a cannon for a leg, so I’m not worried about that right now.”
Lions right tackle Tyrell Cosby (ankle) and safety C.J. Moore (ankle), who were injured in the Bears game, were among Detroit’s inactives at practice Wednesday.
Green Bay placed running back Tyler Ervin, safety Raven Greene and defensive lineman Billy Winn on the injured reserve list Wednesday. The Packers’ practice inactives included wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and tight end Jace Sternberger, who remain in the concussion protocol.
The Packers defeated the Lions in Week 2 in Green Bay, 42-21.
–Field Level Media