Thursday, December 06, 2012

Packers vs. Lions Pre-Preview

We’re doing this preview a bit earlier than usual. Which, to our way of thinking, makes it a pre-preview of the Sunday night game between the 8-4 Green Bay Packers and the 4-8 Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field. Hope you don't mind. (If you read to the end -- no skipping ahead! -- you'll be rewarded for your efforts. If you're lucky enough to win the sweepstakes, that is. Hey, no skipping ahead!)

Anyway, as most Packer fans know, the Packers and the Lions are the only two NFL teams that have played a home-and-home series every year since 1932. The Lions were then known as the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans. This is a series with roots. But back to the pre- part of this pre-preview.

From mid-week to game day, a lot of things can happen that could impact a game. Heck, just over the past couple days, RB James Starks has gone from being the guy on Monday that head coach Mike McCarthy said was going to be the man to carry most of the load going forward to, as of Wednesday, being out for at least several weeks with a knee injury sustained in Sunday’s game against the Vikings. In fact, speculation is that Starks could possibly be yet another in the increasingly long list of additions to the injured reserve list before the season is over. Wait to see on that one.

(Photo by Paul Kehrer, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)

Ryan Grant is back

But the big news of Wednesday was the signing of veteran RB Ryan Grant, the former Packer and the team's leading rusher over the past several seasons, who was not re-signed in the offseason. His only stint in the NFL this season was about a month with the Redskins. He played in one game, and carried the ball once for five yards. Then he was cut. Still, as coach McCarthy said in his press conference Wednesday, when Grant made his first appearance among his teammates after taking care of all the business details, he got a standing ovation from the rest of the players. Certainly a testimony to the character and leadership of the man.

Having said that, and as Wayne Larrivee, radio voice of the Packers, said Wednesday morning on Packers flagship radio station, 620WTMJ in Milwaukee before the signing of Grant was announced, the feeling around the league seemed to be that Grant hadn’t been signed by any other team after being cut by Washington because teams had basically determined that he didn’t have much left in the tank, so to speak. So, this is where the Pack is at in its rushing attack: second-year player Alex Green, who will now have to take on the bulk of the carries, and Grant. Concerned? Just add it to the list.

T.J. Lang may not play Sunday

According to McCarthy, it sounds as if the Packers are preparing to play the game against Detroit without T.J. Lang at right tackle. That means undrafted rookie Don Barclay will likely get the start and the rest of the O-line will be as it was against Minnesota. Barclay stepped into the game this past weekend and acquitted himself quite well after Lang went down with his ankle injury. Whether he’ll be able to hold up an entire game against a Detroit defensive line that includes Ndamukong Suh remains to be seen. But it’s the best option the Packers have at the moment. There was speculation in some circles that if Lang was able to return, and given Barclay’s first performance, that the Packers might shift Lang back to his usual left guard position in place of Evan Dietrich-Smith, who had his hands full last time around with Nick Fairley. That doesn’t seem likely at this point. Also, to address the dwindling offensive line depth, the Packers signed a lineman to the practice squad Wednesday after trying out a couple players the day before.

The good news: the Packers are playing the Lions…at Lambeau

With the current state of attrition on the Packers’ roster, it’s enough to give not only coaches heartburn but fans, too. You wouldn’t blame anyone for reaching for the Prilosec OTC Wildberry, would you?

Still, there is cause for hope…particularly since the Packers are playing the Lions in Wisconsin. In a series going all the way back to 1930, and with many memorable games both in Green Bay and Milwaukee, the Pack holds a dominant 54-24-4 series edge, as well as a 1-0 mark in the postseason in the state; the overall series stands at 92-65-7 in favor of the Packers, plus 2-0 in the postseason. It was Dec. 15, 1991, the last time the Lions won at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers was 8 years old. That’s a winning streak, kids. And, despite all of the Packers’ injuries, they are not in jeopardy of having that streak broken. If you want more of the inside scoop and enough trivia to make your head explode, check out the official “Dope Sheet” from the Packers.

Now, of course, on any given day blah blah blah. But these are the Lions. The dysfunctional Lions who just wound up putting WR Titus Young on IR probably as much for attitude as injury. Head coach Jim Schwartz, when asked about Young having knee surgery, said, “Yeah, most likely. Yes, unless he doesn’t show up for it.” Ouch.

Aside from legitimate receiving threat Calvin Johnson, Detroit just doesn’t have weapons offensively to match up – keep up – with the Pack. If the Lions' defense is able to make life difficult for the Packers and keep it close…nah! Not going to happen. The Lions are 7-point underdogs (at the time of this writing) for a reason. That reason is that the Packers are simply a better team. In fact, TE Jermichael Finley alluded to that fact Tuesday when asked about the Packers' record of success against Detroit at Lambeau. Finley reportedly said, “It’s not rocket science.” Point made. The better team usually wins. Especially at home.

The Packers are averaging 29 points per game and allowing 18.3 so far this season. Detroit, over the course of its current four-game losing streak, is allowing 31.75 points per game. So if these trends continue, the odds certainly favor the Pack. Do you expect the Lions’ offense, defense and special teams to be able to score more than 32 points against the Packers? Do you expect the Packers to give up that many points? The answer is no to both questions.

We won’t have our points prediction for the game until Sunday, so you'll have to check back here then. But in the meantime, we still have something special to share with you.

Larry the Cable Guy in town to tailgate!

Yes, your favorite “Git-R-Done” football fan, Larry the Cable Guy, will be at the official Packer Fans Tours Tailgate Party before the game. You can find out more about that here.

Green Bay is Larry’s final stop on his wild cross-country adventure to popular sports venues to help introduce the first flavor-coated 24-hour frequent heartburn pill, new Prilosec OTC Wildberry! Yes, really. You see, Larry is not only a very funny guy, but he’s also a frequent heartburn sufferer. Yes, really. Here's what he has to say about that: “I love wild flavor! And I don’t let my frequent heartburn stop me from enjoying all the spicy, cheesy, sizzling experiences America serves up. That’s why I love new Prilosec OTC Wildberry – you get the same frequent heartburn relief as Prilosec OTC, but now with a fancy coating that gives you a burst of wildberry flavor. Now I can enjoy all the flavors this great land of ours has to offer!” And really, Packer fans, what better place to get – and get-over – heartburn than at a tailgate party?

Enter the Sweepstakes

You can see what Larry’s been up to, and what he will have gotten up to while in Green Bay, at While there, you’ll have the opportunity to embark on an out-of-this-world flavor adventure of your own by entering the Wild American Flavor Sweepstakes. From now until January 7, 2013, enter at for a chance to win trips to three of America’s most flavorful cities, including tickets to some of the country’s biggest sporting events courtesy of new Prilosec OTC Wildberry. One winner will be chosen at random to receive the prize pack, including tickets to the big football game in New Orleans (February 3, 2013), the first big auto race of the year in Daytona Beach (February 24, 2013) and the basketball championship game in Atlanta (April 8, 2013), travel and accommodations (a two-night hotel stay and air transportation for each destination), and one $5,000 check to be used in any of these flavorful cities.

What are you waiting for, Packer fans? Git-R-Done!