As many people assumed, the Week 14 clash between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers will have a drastic effect on the NFC North race. But only one team has something on the line.
The Packers lead the Chicago Bears by virtue of a tiebreaker, and the division is likely to hinge on their game next week. Therefore, keeping pace will keep the pressure on Chicago.
The same cannot be said for the Lions. The only endgame for the 2012 season is draft position at this point.
When: Sunday, December 9, at 8:20 p.m. EST.
Where: Lambeau Field in Green Bay, WI
Watch: NBC or NBCSports Live Stream
Listen: 730 AM in Detroit and 1360 AM in Green Bay
Betting Line: Green Bay (-6.5)
What's At Stake?
As mentioned above, the Packers head to Chicago next week and need to build a cushion over any potential wild-card contenders. Additionally, the divisional foes have similar schedules, so there isn't any room for a slip-up. For Detroit, there are multiple defensive players who need to make a stir if they hope to be retained at a hefty price.
Lions Injury Report
WR Ryan Broyles (knee, out); DE Cliff Avril (back, probable); T Jeff Backus (hamstring, questionable); S Louis Delmas (knee, questionable); CB Jonte Green (illness, probable); CB Chris Houston (ankle, probable); WR Calvin Johnson (thumb, probable); Jacob Lacey (foot/knee, questionable); RB Mikel Leshoure (ankle, probable); LB Ashlee Palmer (thumb, probable); G Rob Sims (hamstring, probable); DE Kyle Vanden Bosch (neck, questionable); and DT Corey Williams.
Packers Injury Report
WR Donald Driver (thumb, questionable); WR Greg Jennings (groin/abdomen, probable); S M.D. Jennnings (rib, probable); LB Terrell Manning (shoulder, doubtful); LB Clay Matthews (hamstring, out); WR Jordy Nelson (undisclosed); T Marshall Newhouse (wrist, probable); DT Ryan Pickett (quadriceps, probable); TE Andrew Quarles (knee, out); CB Sam Shields (ankle, out); RB Johnny White (concussion, out); DE C.J. Wilson (knee, out); S Charles Woodson (collarbone, out); and DL Johnny Jolly.
Fantasy Start 'Em, Sit 'Em and Sleeper
No Charles Woodson or Clay Matthews only makes Calvin Johnson even more attractive. The Lions will need to score plenty of points to survive the secondary's scorching at Aaron Rodgers' hands.
Jordy Nelson is a scary proposition right now. It's the playoffs and he doesn't seem to be 100 percent. That's not what you're looking for.
As for a sleeper, check out Mike Thomas. The Lions grabbed him for a reason, and with Broyles and Young out he'll get plenty of opportunities.
Lion to Watch
Matthew Stafford is leading the league in passing yards, but he hasn't put together a mistake-free performance in what feels like ages. Against the ailing Packers defense, Stafford should be able to execute, even without three of his preseason top-five wide receivers.
Packer to Watch
The defense will be relying heavily on B.J. Raji to make his presence felt. There are too many other holes in the defense for him to be mediocre. If he can plug up the middle against the run and get after Stafford, this one could get ugly.
Ndamukong Suh against the interior of Green Bay's line. The bad blood aside, the game will be determined in the middle of these two offensive lines. Suh had a great game against the Colts and must harass Rodgers for Detroit to stay competitive.
On The Hotseat
He may have turned the franchise around, but Jim Schwartz has been taking heat for months. The team has taken a step back, while demonstrating a lack of discipline. His Thanksgiving gaffe only added fuel to the fire.
Packers 35, Lions 31