Packers vs. Lions 2012 game preview: Detroit hosts Green Bay looking to gain divisional ground

Leon Halip

The Lions welcome the streaking Packers trying to keep pace in the NFC postseason picture.

The Detroit Lions will try to gain ground in the NFC North when they host their division rival Green Bay Packers in Week 11 on Sunday. At 4-5, the Lions are in danger of slipping further out of the conference playoff picture, while the Packers, winners of four straight games, are rising in the standings.

It is the two teams' first meeting of the season, as Green Bay swept the series a year ago. Detroit, to this point, is 0-3 in the division. The Packers have only played one division game -- a victory over the Chicago Bears.

Meet the Detroit Lions

The Lions, guided by quarterback Matthew Stafford, feature the league's top-ranked passing offense, as they average 307.3 yards per game. Stafford's 2,722 passing yards is good for fourth in the NFL. He has also thrown 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

Defensively, Detroit is tenth in the league in allowing 329.7 yards per contest. Additionally, the Lions allow 24.7 points per game, which ranks 23rd in the NFL.

Meet the Green Bay Packers

Green Bay will be without linebacker Clay Matthews on Sunday, but its defense has improved from last season. Its 20.8 points allowed per game is ninth-best in the NFL, and the 341.9 yards the Packers surrender is 14th in the league.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has the most passing touchdowns in the league with 25, and his quarterback rating of 107.4 is second in the NFL. He has thrown for 2,383 yards and is completing 67 percent of his passes, which ranks fifth among NFL quarterbacks.

Local Takes: Lions

Sean Yuille from Pride of Detroit says the Lions have the toughest schedule in the league going down the stretch:

"Unfortunately for the Lions, they are not in the NFC East and do not have a schedule littered with below-.500 teams. Instead, the Lions are in the NFC North, which includes teams with records of 7-2, 6-3 and 6-4, and their remaining schedule is the toughest in all of the NFL, as noted by Blogging the Beast. The Lions' final seven opponents have a combined record of 45-18. The Minnesota Vikings have the next toughest schedule, and the combined record of their opponents is only 37.5-16.5."

Local Takes: Packers

Devin Shanley from Acme Packing Company says the Packers' linebacker play could be the difference on Sunday:

"Perhaps the most concerning thing about the upcoming match up with the Detriot Lions is the fact that the Green Bay Packers will be without superstar outside linebacker Clay Matthews. This will undoubtedly cause a drop in the ability to rush Matthew Stafford, and may indicate some future struggles on the part of the Packers defense."

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Pride of Detroit and Acme Packing Company, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@PrideOfDetroit

@acmepackingco

@cmonarrez - Carlos Monarrez, Sports Writer for the Detroit Free Press.

@TomSilverstein - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Packers beat reporter.

Prediction

From the Week 11 picks:

I can't see the Packers playing the Lions and not mention the Suh stomp.

The pick: 35-30, Packers.

Odds

Green Bay opened the week as 3½-point favorites, according to OddsShark, and the line currently remains in the same position. The over/under point total sits at 51½.

Next Week

In Week 12, Detroit hosts the Houston Texans in their annual Thanksgiving Day game on Thursday. The Packers, on the other hand, travel to New York to take on the Giants in a Sunday night showdown.


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