Packers vs. Lions: Detroit's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 11

Dean HoldenAnalyst INovember 18, 2012

Packers vs. Lions: Detroit's Biggest Winners and Losers from NFL Week 11

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    Dropping to the Packers might be a back-breaking loss for the Lions' season.

    They fall to 4-6 and 0-4 in the division, and they're basically dead in the water when it comes to the playoff hunt.

    Still, it's not like the season is over. The Lions are still going to play, and play to win. Whether they actually win or not is debatable, but it's not like they won't try.

    So in the meantime, while it may seem like there's no particular point to having winners and losers on the tail of such a disappointing loss, take heart. Even if you've lost hope for this season, just think of this as an evaluation for next year.

    And if you haven't lost hope for this season yet...Well, you have my respect for your tenacity. Good luck with that.

Winner: Nick Fairley

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    Nick Fairley may as well have set up a tent in the Packers' backfield. He was camped back there all day.

    Fairley's NFL career has been full of a lot more downs than ups, but in his last few games, he has started to reverse the trend.

    The Lions' front four has, in general, been extremely effective for the last two or three games, and Fairley has arguably been the most visible part of that.

    That's including Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril.

    It could be that Fairley is finally adjusting to the NFL game and starting to take advantage of the amount of attention being paid to Ndamukong Suh. Whatever the reason, Fairley looks to finally be justifying his first-round status.

Loser: Stefan Logan

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    We're approaching the point where the image of Stefan Logan's eyes looking skyward is terrifying.

    Logan muffed yet another punt in this game, and while he did recover the ball this time, it's worth asking, "Why in the world is this man still doing this?"

    Logan has no upside, brings no value to the offense or defense, and is rapidly devolving into a below-average special teams player who muffs a dangerously high number of the kicks that come his way.

    We've seen too much at this point to believe that anything Logan does at this point is going to take him out of the starting role this year, but there's absolutely nothing to justify bringing him back next year.

Winner: Drayton Florence

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    Aside from two touchdown drives, the Lions defense held the Packers in check all day long.

    A big reason for that was the extremely solid play by cornerback Drayton Florence, who was just activated from injured reserve this week.

    Florence took a big shot early in the game that sent him to the sidelines, but he came back into the game and played lots of good coverage, making a number of big tackles in the process.

    The Lions haven't been able to figure out a functional starting lineup in the secondary all year, but the tandem of Florence and Chris Houston held Aaron Rodgers to under 250 yards passing. Since the Lions are missing their two starting safeties, they may want to stick with these guys for a while, if they can.

Loser: Matthew Stafford

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    Well, he hit Calvin Johnson for a touchdown, so that's cool.

    But Stafford had a horrible day today, and you can only partially blame the pressure up front.

    Stafford completed less than 50 percent of his passes, turned the ball over three times, sailed passes on open receivers, and threw four straight incompletions in a would-be game-winning two minute drill.

    As a whole, the Lions offense had a decent game, but an inability to finish drives and inopportune turnovers (both very much attributed to Stafford) killed the Lions' chances today.

Winner: Riley Reiff

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    In the second quarter, Jeff Backus went down with an apparent hamstring injury and did not return.

    For the rest of the game, rookie Riley Reiff started at left tackle.

    Now, it might have turned out differently if Clay Matthews was playing, but generally speaking, the only difference in the offense from before and after Backus left the game is that the Lions ran the ball a little better afterwards.

    Reiff stepped into the job for which he is destined, and the talent drop-off was approximately zero. That's a good sign for Reiff and the Lions, if perhaps a bad sign for Backus in the long term.

    And so on a related note...

Loser: Jeff Backus

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    There's no telling how long Backus' injury will keep him out, if it does keep him out at all. After all, we are talking about a man who just started his 186th straight game.

    But should Backus have his consecutive starts streak snapped, and Reiff plays well in his place, you have to wonder about Backus' long-term role on the team.

    If Reiff plays well at left tackle for an extended time, would they dare pull him back out of the role for the veteran Backus? And if not, what would they do with Backus?

    There are a lot of questions surrounding this situation. The Lions drafted Reiff to take over for Backus, but they probably expected that to happen after a season or two rather than just 10 games.

    Considering the state of the Lions' season, this might end up being the most compelling thing to watch on this team the rest of the season.

    That, or Backus might turn out to be fine and this becomes a non-issue. Still, Reiff has some pretty compelling game film on file at left tackle now.