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12/3/15. Packers at Lions. Week 13, NFL/CBS. 8:25pm.

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The Lions vs things that havent happened since 1991, part 2.

Sweeping the Packers.

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Presents the following thread:

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(7-4) @ (4-7)

Your Detroit Lions

vs.

The Green Bay Packers

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NFC Conference

Week 13

Location: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.

Date: December 3rd, 2015

Time: 8:25pm EST

This game is a presentation of:

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Television Broadcast Provided by:

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NFL Network

Radio Broadcast Provided by:

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Lions / Eagles Highlights:

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Sandmans' Lions / Eagles Slowlights:

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Stafford throws 5 TD passes, Lions beat Eagles 45-14

DETROIT -- Matthew Stafford dropped back and perfectly lofted the ball where only Calvin Johnson could catch it.

Johnson leaped to come down with the 25-yard pass in the end zone for the first of a career-high matching three touchdown receptions, Stafford tied a personal best with five scoring passes, and the surging Detroit Lions kept the Philadelphia Eagles reeling with a 45-14 rout Thursday.

"When we're on point like that, it's hard to stop," Johnson said. The Lions (4-7) have won three straight since firing their team president and general manager, and three in a row in their annual Thanksgiving game.

Detroit ran for 108 yards, tied a season high with six sacks and Matt Prater made a 48-yard field goal. "That's as complete a victory as we've had since we've been here," said Jim Caldwell, who won 11 games last season in his first year as Detroit's coach.

The Eagles (4-7) have lost three straight. They have allowed at least 45 points in two straight games in one season for the first time, according to STATS, and have lost by at least 28 points in consecutive games for the first time since 1971. "We all take accountability," coach Chip Kelly said. "I'm a coach, not a player, so it starts with me. I'm not pointing fingers at anybody, and I don't think anybody points fingers at anybody."

Stafford threw for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns without a turnover by halftime for the second time in his career, according to STATS, to help the Lions lead 24-7. He finished 27 of 38 for 337 yards and threw five TDs for the fourth time in his career. "Our quarterback is comfortable in this offense," Caldwell said. "And when that happens, it gives you opportunities for your playmakers to do things."

Johnson had eight catches for 93 yards and three TDs, matching his career high set in 2010. After not throwing to Johnson much early in the game, Stafford started connecting with the star receiver. The Eagles couldn't do much about it, especially when starting cornerback Nolan Carroll left in the second quarter with a broken right ankle and was replaced by rookie Eric Rowe.

"At the end of the first quarter, I realized we hadn't gotten 81 the ball yet, so we dialed up some plays for him," Stafford said. "We started getting aggressive, and that opened up a couple routes for him." The quarterback seems to be clicking with plays called by offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who replaced the fired Joe Lombardi a month ago.

"I love that he's so aggressive," Stafford said. "That rubs off on the players because it is fun when he's giving you chances to make big plays." Taking advantage of Johnson in one-on-one coverage, Stafford threw 4- and 3-yard TD passes to Johnson in the third quarter. "We're attacking the defense, and not playing defense on offense," Johnson said.

Stafford started the scoring barrage with an 8-yard pass to Theo Riddick, who made a sharp move to the inside to get away from linebacker Mychal Kendricks late in the opening quarter. Stafford threw a go-ahead, 2-yard TD midway through the second quarter to Golden Tate, who lined up as a fullback and went to the flat where he caught the ball and stopped, letting safety Walter Thurmond run past him.

Mark Sanchez started in place of Sam Bradford, who was inactive with a shoulder injury. Sanchez completed 19 of 27 passes for 199 yards and two TDs. He connected with Brent Celek early in the second quarter on a 2-yard pass to help Philadelphia pull into a 7-all tie and with Jordan Matthews for a relatively meaningless, 24-yard TD late in the game.

Sanchez was able to connect with receivers when he had time, but that didn't happen very often. Detroit's Ezekiel Ansah had a career-high 3 1/2 sacks, one of which forced a fumble by Sanchez that the defensive end recovered. "That guy's got a serious grip - rigor mortis or something," Sanchez said.

Notes:

What to watch for in Packers-Lions on 'TNF'

The Detroit Lions (4-7) haven't swept the Green Bay Packers (7-4) since 1991.

Putting that into perspective, Lions rookie running back Ameer Abdullah and second-year tight end Eric Ebron weren't even alive when the club last pulled that off.

Two-plus decades of Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers under center will do that an oft-moribund franchise like the Lions, but Detroit has a chance to end this ugly streak on Thursday Night Football. Can they pull it off?

We previewed the game on the Around the NFL Podcast, but let's take another look at what to watch for on Thursday night:

What's up with the Packers?

1. Casual fans will tune in expecting Rodgers to author another heady prime-time blowout, but that's asking a lot of this Packers offense. Clinging to the NFC's fifth playoff seed, Green Bay is mired in a 1-4 skid after starting the year 6-0. On pace for their worst offensive campaign of the Rodgers era, the Packers have been a bore since Week 4, ranking near the bottom of the league in points per game (T-26th), yards per outing (27th), passing yards per tilt (25th) and third-down percentage (25th).

2. So what's wrong? Well, not much has changed since Chris Wesseling penned a column last month on how Green Bay's struggles chart back, in part, to a cast of slow wideouts. With Jordy Nelson on the shelf, the Packers rank dead last among 32 teams in average 40-yard dash time for their top three wideouts -- Randall Cobb, James Jones and Davante Adams -- and No. 1 tight end -- Richard Rodgers -- per ESPN.com's Rob Demovsky.

3. The problems at wideout are another reminder that most offseason narratives mean nothing. Thousands of words were spilled over Green Bay's air-tight offensive roster, an embarrassment of riches that saw rookie Ty Montgomery (ruled out for Thursday) praised by Packers coach Mike McCarthy as "strong, very powerful, obviously gifted," while Making the Leap candidate Davante Adams was gushed over by Rodgers as an "incredible" talent possessing "humongous upside." McCarthy called Adams the "MVP or an All-Star" of the offseason.

Entering December, though, Adams is struggling with an ankle injury and battling confidence issues after catching just 32 of his 64 targets with a whopping eight drops, leading Adams to say of his troubles this week: "It's hard to let it go. You really want to have that, they call it, the DB (defensive back) mentality. Just let it go, and go to the next play. Forget about it. But it's hard."

4. These issues aren't going away, but Green Bay can take stock in the recent play of Eddie Lacy. After failing to cross the 100-yard barrier all season, the third-year back pounded the Vikings for 100 yards in Week 11 before chalking up 105 yards against Chicago on Thanksgiving. The powerful Green Bay back has struggled, though, in two career games at Detroit, running for a combined 52 yards at just 2.5 yards per attempt. The Packers desperately need him to show up on Thursday night.

Motor City turnaround?

5. Since Week 6, Lions signal-caller Matthew Stafford owns better numbers than Rodgers, topping last year's MVP in completion percentage, passing yards per game and quarterback rating. Jim Bob Cooter's elevation to offensive coordinator has ushered in a new day for Stafford, who is operating as a top 10 passer since the play-caller took over before Week 8. Stafford is making better decisions, reducing turnovers, finding his playmakers and throwing with confidence. The Packers need their sixth-ranked scoring defense to rattle Stafford, but that's a tall order from a pass rush with one or fewer sacks in four of their last five games.

6. Cooter has also done more with Ameer Abdullah, the electric rookie runner who is finally seeing an uptick in snaps. After just one touch in Week 8, Abdullah saw six in Week 10, 13 in Week 11 and a season-high 17 in last week's romp over the Eagles. The team has also made good use of passing-down option Theo Riddick, who flamed Philly for 62 receiving yards and a touchdown on Thanksgiving after piling up 72 yards through the air against Oakland in Week 11. We're finally seeing these weapons come to life.

7. Detroit's defense remains a mixed bag, but the Lions have been solid against the run over the past three weeks, while watching a star emerge in the form of Ziggy Ansah. Second league-wide with 11.5 sacks, the third-year pass rusher is making his case as the best first-round pick of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Lions are thrilled with his surge, leaving coach Jim Caldwell to say of Ansah, per the team's official website: "He's a rare cat, now. Very, very rare breed. I wish we could bottle it. That's what every coach, every GM, every president, every scout, they're all looking for that particular formula."

8. Why should you tune in? For starters, Detroit has a chance to spoil Green Bay's season on the national stage. Sweeping the Packers would leave McCarthy's bunch at 7-5 and one step closer to missing the playoffs. Meanwhile, a win would keep the Lions mathematically alive for a playoff spot after their 1-7 start. Likely? Not at all, but neither of these teams have followed the script in 2015

NFC North Standings:

Minnesota (8-3) .727

Green Bay (7-4) .636

Chicago (5-6) .455

Detroit (4-7) .364

Lions Injury News:

Larry Warford G Concussion Full Participation in Practice Questionable

Glover Quin S Ankle Limited Participation in Practice Questionable

Golden Tate WR Calf Full Participation in Practice Probable

Caraun Reid DT Ankle Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable

Gabe Wright DT Ankle Full Participation in Practice Probable

Matt Prater K Illness Limited Participation in Practice Questionable

James Ihedigbo S Hamstring Full Participation in Practice Probable

Travis Swanson C Ankle Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable

Lance Moore WR Ankle Did Not Participate In Practice Out

Calvin Johnson WR Ankle Limited Participation in Practice Questionable

Packers Injury News:

J.C. Tretter C Ankle Limited Participation in Practice Questionable

Bryan Bulaga T Ankle Did Not Participate In Practice Questionable

Nate Palmer LB Foot Full Participation in Practice Probable

Demetri Goodson CB Illness Full Participation in Practice Probable

Micah Hyde S Hip Full Participation in Practice Probable

Josh Sitton G Back Limited Participation in Practice Probable

Corey Linsley C Ankle Limited Participation in Practice Questionable

T.J. Lang G Shoulder Limited Participation in Practice Questionable

Ty Montgomery WR Ankle Did Not Participate In Practice Out

Damarious Randall CB Knee Limited Participation in Practice Questionable

Jared Abbrederis WR Rib Full Participation in Practice Probable

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A win would be nice to see. They have been playing pretty well lately. The biggest factor has been the O line giving Stafford some time to throw. They keep that up and they have a shot tonight.

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To think what could have been if Calvin didn't fumble at the goal line. They would have been playing to jump Seattle with a win tonight and be 1 game behind the Packers with the tiebreaker in hand and have a leg up in the tiebreaker against Atlanta due to conference record.

Now, playoffs look like a near impossible task. Then again, the management and coaching purge might not have happened if the Seattle game went differently so it's a double edged sword.

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Using espn's playoff machine and the setting that teams win based on the power rankings, and the lions winning out, has the lions as the 5th seed.

Four teams finish at 9-7 in this scenario: lions, packers, Falcons, and Seahawks.

Lions win the tiebreak over Seattle and Atlanta (after eliminating Green Bay from the initial comparison based the division tiebreak).

Green Bay earns the sixth seed over Atlanta and Seattle.

The lions need a three way tie if Seattle is involved.

Anyway, none of this matters if they lose tonight, but a win tonight is not out of the question, and if that happens the chances of winning out are decent.

A 9-7 lions team with an 8-4 conference record has a very good chance of qualifying.

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I am not holding out much hope that the Lions will make the playoffs. Too many things have to happen. However, sweeping Green Bay would make me feel happy.

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Here are tiebreaking rules from NFL.com that Shelton is using:

Three or More Clubs

(Note: If two clubs remain tied after third or other clubs are eliminated, tie breaker reverts to step 1 of applicable two-club format.)

1.Apply division tie breaker to eliminate all but the highest ranked club in each division prior to proceeding to step 2. The original seeding within a division upon application of the division tie breaker remains the same for all subsequent applications of the procedure that are necessary to identify the two Wild-Card participants.

2.Head-to-head sweep. (Applicable only if one club has defeated each of the others or if one club has lost to each of the others.)

3.Best won-lost-tied percentage in games played within the conference.

4.Best won-lost-tied percentage in common games, minimum of four.

5.Strength of victory.

6.Strength of schedule.

7.Best combined ranking among conference teams in points scored and points allowed.

8.Best combined ranking among all teams in points scored and points allowed.

9.Best net points in conference games.

10.Best net points in all games.

11.Best net touchdowns in all games.

12.Coin toss

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They have no margin for error the rest of the season, but each of their games is winnable, and with the exception of tonight's game (and maybe the last game at Chicago), the Lions will be the favorite from here on out.

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I have a very good feeling about this one. The Lions will handle the Packers quite easily tonight. They are on a roll, and the Packers are down.

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It looks like the Packers' offensive line is still banged up, hopefully the defensive line for the Lions can get some pressure on Rodgers, the Packers WRs haven't been great at getting separation lately and pressure should only intensify that.

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I'll say this about tonight's game in that I still hold the "losers mentality" right now because I still want to give our next GM (if there is a next GM) as much flexibility as possible in the draft. We haven't won enough games yet to take us out of the top 10 of the draft.

If though, they do win tonight, I'll give up on wanting to lose because they'll likely be out of the top 10 at that point. If they win tonight, I guess I'll just sit around the rest of the season and hope that Sheldon White doesn't end up the GM next year, even though I do believe that winning each week increases those odds. If they win tonight, next week, every week there after, in the playoffs and in a Super Bowl, then I'll just admit that I looked like a real jack*** back in week 8 when I started calling for a tank job.

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I'll say this about tonight's game in that I still hold the "losers mentality" right now because I still want to give our next GM (if there is a next GM) as much flexibility as possible in the draft. We haven't won enough games yet to take us out of the top 10 of the draft.

If though, they do win tonight, I'll give up on wanting to lose because they'll likely be out of the top 10 at that point. If they win tonight, I guess I'll just sit around the rest of the season and hope that Sheldon White doesn't end up the GM next year, even though I do believe that winning each week increases those odds. If they win tonight, next week, every week there after, in the playoffs and in a Super Bowl, then I'll just admit that I looked like a real jack*** back in week 8 when I started calling for a tank job.

Well....to be honest, many of us see you that way already. J/K

I don't understand why Sheldon White would get any credit for any win or lose. He wasn't in charge acquiring or signing these players or hiring Caldwell.

He's just the G.M. until we hire a real G.M. at season end. Maybe he'll have a job for his loyalty in some position? I could care less as long as we hire a competent G.M.

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It looks like the Packers' offensive line is still banged up, hopefully the defensive line for the Lions can get some pressure on Rodgers, the Packers WRs haven't been great at getting separation lately and pressure should only intensify that.

Yes, it looks like the Lions need to stop the run tonight and really put the pressure on Rodgers.

The G.B. receivers are having a hard time because of inaccuracy of Rodgers and injury. Rodgers has looked really bad the last month or so.

Is that how we spell overrated?

Eddie Lacy didn't play in the first game we beat them so we'll have to concentrate on recovering his fumbles...

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Dave Birkett ‏@davebirkett 2m2 minutes ago

Huge losses for the Packers among inactives. No Bryan Bulaga, no TJ Lang, no Damarious Randall

Swanson is out on our offensive line tonight too.

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No lose situation for me tonight. A win over the Pack is always nice and we've been good against them at home as of late. A loss and our run of 3 wins ends and we should be back in top 10 draft picks. The only situation that would completely depress me is a huge blowout loss and I just don't see that happening. Not sure what the bookies are saying but I see us as favourites for this going on the trajectory of the past month.

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You people are silly. Don't you know how this happens? Seattle beats out the Lions for the last spot based on a fumble at the goal line and a screw job by the refs. That would be just about the most epic Lions finish of all time.

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... Swanson is out on our offensive line tonight too.

I actually am interested in seeing how Manny Ramirez does starting ahead of Swanson...

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I actually am interested in seeing how Manny Ramirez does starting ahead of Swanson...

Ditto.

Two big penalties on third down, defense and offense, but we come away up three.

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Even though that was probably a poor decision, that was a hell of a throw.

Yes, yes it was. CJ had both hands on it.

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You people are silly. Don't you know how this happens? Seattle beats out the Lions for the last spot based on a fumble at the goal line and a screw job by the refs. That would be just about the most epic Lions finish of all time.

That is my concern. We might have a better chance passing GB than Seattle if we win tonight.

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Even though that was probably a poor decision, that was a hell of a throw.

Thank goodness they started protecting receivers...that would could have ended Johnson's season if the DB decided to play the man instead of the ball.

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