Imagine what life was like 19 years ago - George H. Bush was the President, Nirvana released ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, and Brett Favre was a rookie QB with the Atlanta Falcons. Why bring up 1991? Unfortunately, that was the last time the Detroit Lions beat the Packers in Green Bay. And no one besides maybe DT Ndamukong Suh believes that streak will be broken on Sunday when the Lions visit the Packers.
The Lions on Sunday will still be without QB Matthew Stafford and WR Nate Burleson. QB Shaun Hill will be making his third start for the 0-3 Lions. RB Jahvid Best, who was named NFC Rookie of the Month, is expected to play. RB Kevin Smith, who led the team in rushing the past two seasons, is expected to play after recovering from a torn ACL. On defense, MLB DeAndre Levy has not practiced all week as he is still recovering from a groin injury he suffered during training camp. Levy did play for the first time last week against the Vikings. Kyle Vanden Bosch was put on the injury report on Thursday after injuring his back during practice. Since the Lions strength is their defensive line, not having Vanden Bosch will be a key loss for the Lions.
Green Bay is coming off a 20-17 loss to Chicago on Monday Night. The Packers’ defense committed several key fourth quarter penalties, and Chicago capitalized with a game-winning field goal in the final seconds to pull out a 20-17 win at Soldier Field Monday. A pass interference call on Morgan Burnett negated a Nick Collins interception with less than two minutes remaining, setting up Robbie Gould’s 19 yard game winner with just :04 on the clock.
The Packers are still searching for a replacement for RB Ryan Grant who suffered a season ending ankle injury. In two games since replacing the injured Grant as Green Bay’s top running back, Brandon Jackson has 18 carries for 41 yards and a touchdown. Converted fullback John Kuhn has been slightly more productive, rushing 15 times for 67 yards in a win over Buffalo and a loss at Chicago. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers at times has looked like the team’s most dangerous running threat. On the plus side, coaches were pleased with the way Jackson and Kuhn performed in the passing game. Jackson caught four passes for 27 yards against the Bears and Kuhn had two catches for 20 yards.
On defense, Green Bay is led by former Michigan standout Charles Woodson and linebacker Clay Matthews, who was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month. Matthews earned the honor after recording six sacks in the first two games of the regular season. But they will be without some key personnel. CB Sam Shields (calf) didn’t practice and is doubtful for the game. Also, LB Brandon Chillar (shoulder) is out as well as S Charlie Peprah (quad) and LB Brady Poppinga (hamstring) are questionable.
The Lions are a two touchdown underdog on Sunday. Green Bay is obviously the better team and they are playing at home. The Packers (#2 overall) have one of the best defense in the NFL as the Lions (#30 overall) have one of the worst. Shaun Hill is a capable QB backup, but there is no way he can outplay his counter part. Unfortunately, Lions’ fans will have to wait one more year to break the losing streak.
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Written by Bob Ballard