In 1962, Green Bay was defending an NFL Championship and were 10-0 heading into Tiger Stadium in Detroit. This season, they are Super Bowl Champions and remain the only undefeated team in the league at 10-0 as they march into Ford Field tomorrow. At this point in the season, the only history the Packers want repeated is back-to-back Lombardi Trophies.
Looking at the playoff picture, with the exception of the 9-1 San Francisco 49ers, most teams around the the NFC are pulling for the Packers to stay undefeated. Detroit and Chicago both sit at 7-3 in the NFCN, along with NFCS leader, New Orleans. The Saints have a one game lead on Atlanta, who shares a record with two NFCE teams, the New York Giants (who host Green Bay next week) and Dallas at 6-4. Three teams are hanging on to hope with six games left with 4-6 records – Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, and Seattle, but most assuredly they would have to win all of their remaining six games.
So how do the Packers and Lions match-up?
Although the Packers are 30th in the league in total defense giving up an average of 391.8 yards per game, they are 15th in points allowed. Of course, these are all averages. While the rushing defense allows a 12th best 102.5 ypg, the passing defense gives up 289.3 yards per game, second worst in the NFL. CB Charles Woodson is tied with three other players for the second-most INTs (5) and LB Desmond Bishop has 93 tackles, fourth amongst all defensemen.
Matthew Stafford has managed to stay healthy this season, which has been an important key to the Lions success. Stafford is ranked eighth in the NFL in total yards (2843), rating (93.4) and yards per game (284), while completing 61.3% (12th) of his passes and has the second most attempts (398) and TDs (tied-25). The Lions offense is 11th in total yards per game (373.5) and scores the third most points, an average of 30.1 per game. The passing attack is ranked eighth in the NFL with 272.4 ypg, but the ground game is 22nd with 101.1 ypg. Kevin Smith certainly had a fantastic come-back game last week with 140 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts while adding 41 yards receiving and a score on five receptions.
The Packers offense is led by arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers leads the NFL in QB rating (128.8), completion percentage (72.3%), and touchdowns (31). He has thrown for 3168 yards this year, third best amongst QBs. His 329 attempts may rank 17th in the league, but he has thrown just four interceptions all season and his 317 passing yards per game are third best. The offense overall is fourth in total yards per game gaining 406.5 per contest and scores the most points (35.5 ppg).
On the defensive side of the ball, Detroit’s passing defense is fifth, holding opponents to an average of 192.8 passing yards per game, while ranking ninth in total defense (327.5 ypg). The Lions are allowing 21.9 points per game, and have allowed 134.7 rushing yards per game (27th).
Statistically, these two NFC North foes are evenly matched, but historically the Packers have the all-time edge over the Lions 89-65-7. If the Packers want to extend their series lead, they need more than Rodgers to step up to the plate, or they may find themselves repeating history – 1962’s, not 2010’s.