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Lions need win against Packers

Tony Medina/Icon SMI - Watchu talkin bout? No probowl?

Before we get into the must win game against the Packers at Lambeau Field this Sunday, let's discuss how on Earth Eli Manning made the probowl over Matthew Stafford this season.  Aside from the fact that the Detroit Lions have had only one probowl quarterback since Bobby Layne...Greg Landry in 1971...40 years ago...there's another streak I'd hoped the Lions would break this year...a sheer stats comparison between the two should clearly show who was the better signal caller this season.

Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees were givens...they had to make the probowl.  The Packers almost went undefeated behind Rodger's super hot throwing and Brees just broke the passing yardage record which stood for almost 30 years...

Stafford has completed a higher percentage of his passes, with 10 more TD's and 2 fewer interceptions.  Manning managed to throw for 60 more yards over the season, but also has a lower QB rating and, most importantly, fewer wins.

Eli Manning engineered five come from behind victories--supposedly the key to a great quarterback's success is being able to bring a team back from the brink.  Joe Montana was a master at it.  John Elway was incredible.  A team is never out of a game when the guy taking the snaps has ice in his veins in the fourth quarter when everything is on the line and the score board is tilted in favor of the other guys.

Manning did this FIVE times this year.  The Giants were down, on average, 6 points when he had to pull them up and out of certain defeat.  That's pretty impressive....

Of course Stafford only managed to do this four times...but his deficits were different.  The Lions were down, on average almost 17 points in those games.  On two occasions, they were down more than 20 points...that's an entire game of scoring sometimes.  In my opinion, that's a wash, or maybe even a slight edge to Stafford.

Why is Stafford not in the probowl?  Because he doesn't play in New York....where Manning gets millions of extra votes from the hometown fans.

But...about the game...

The Packers have nothing to play for in this game.  They are 15-1 and wrapped up home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  The only thing the Packers truly have to be concerned about is keeping Aaron Rodgers healthy.  The fourth game of the preseason has just about as much value as this game for the Packers.

The Lions, on the other hand, NEED this game.  If the Lions can manage to win this game they will clinch the #5 seed in the playoffs.  The #5 seed will be playing the winner of the Cowboys/Giants game in the opening round of the playoffs...a game much more winnable than a trip to New Orleans or San Francisco--although I'd feel better about the Lions playing anybody but the Saints right now.

The Saints are on a tear.  They are a buzzsaw ripping through opponents right now.  Drew Brees has appeared virtually unstoppable in his last six games--one of those already being a blowout of the Lions.

I'd really like to see the Lions head to New York or Dallas, I think those games would probably have a much higher percentage chance of being won--and as everybody knows, the Lions have won only one playoff game since 1957 (1991)...Of course that was also the year of the last time the Lions won at Lambeau...

Packers Offense vs Lions Defense

 Truthfully, this is all about how much the Packers decide to play Aaron Rodgers.  Do they want to keep him safe on the shelf in order to have him perfectly healthy for what looks to be a long playoff run.  Or do they want to try and keep momentum going into the playoffs.

The last time Rodgers was hurt, a concussion sustained at the hands of our beloved Honolulu Blue, the Lions managed a 7-3 victory over the Packers and their second string QB Matt Flynn.  That victory was more than a year ago now and the Lions are a much, much different team now.

If the Packers sit Rodgers or only play him for a half or less....

Advantage: Lions

Packers Defense vs Lions Offense

Personally, I don't really understand why the Pacers D is ranked so low in so many categories.  BJ Raji is a monster, Clay Matthews is a ffierce and scary pass rusher and Charles Woodson is still the best corner back in the NFC...and his cornerback partner Tramon Williams might must be the second best...

But, for some reason, the Packers D IS at the bottom of the barrel.  I like Stafford's chances...especially after the huge slight he received from the NFL in not getting named to the probowl.  He's really got something to prove. 

The Lions offense and Stafford is really, really hot right now...

Advantage: Lions

Prediction: Detroit 28, Packers end to the curse of Lambeau Field...please, please don't let me have jinxed them...