Packers vs. Lions: Mike McCarthy Has the Lions' Number

Bob FoxContributor INovember 27, 2013

DETROIT - DECEMBER 12: Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy talks with Matt Flynn #10 after the Packers failed to convert a first down late in the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on December 12, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Packers 7-3.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Mike McCarthy has been the head coach of the Green Bay Packers since 2006. McCarthy has seen the Packers accumulate a 79-43-1 record over that time.

His teams have also won three NFC North titles, have been to the postseason five times overall and, of course, won Super Bowl XLV.

That's a pretty successful track record in the NFL as a head coach.

But there is no team that McCarthy has had more success against than the Detroit Lions. In 15 games against Detroit, going into the game on Thanksgiving versus the Lions, the Packers have a 14-1 edge over the Lions with McCarthy as head coach.

In addition, the Packers have played the Lions three previous times on Thanksgiving with McCarthy as head coach, and the Packers have won each time. The previous meetings were in 2007 (37-26), 2009 (34-12) and 2011 (27-15).

So, why all the dominance over the Lions over that time?

There are a number of reasons, but the biggest is the quarterback play of the Packers.

In the 2006 and 2007 seasons, it was Brett Favre who played quarterback for McCarthy. Favre always played well versus Detroit. In his career as a Packer, Favre was 23-9 against the Lions and won two postseason games against them.

Favre and the Packers swept the Lions in both 2006 and 2007, and No. 4 threw eight touchdown passes versus three picks for 994 yards. Favre's combined quarterback rating against the Lions over those two seasons was 108.1.

Since those two seasons, it's been either Aaron Rodgers or Matt Flynn who have gone up against the Lions.

In his career, Rodgers is 9-1 against the Lions and has thrown 19 touchdown passes versus just five picks for 2,559 yards. That adds up to a 111.0 quarterback rating.

Flynn has faced the Lions twice in his career. The first time was in relief of Rodgers in 2010 in Detroit, when No. 12 suffered a concussion. To date, that game is the only time a McCarthy-coached Green Bay team ever lost to the Lions, as Detroit beat the Packers 7-3.

The second time Flynn faced the Lions was the last game of the regular season in 2011, when McCarthy was giving a number of players (including Rodgers) the day off, as the team was preparing for the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Flynn had a record-breaking day, as he threw six touchdown passes and also threw for 480 yards, as the Packers beat the Lions 45-41 at Lambeau Field.

Overall in his career against the Lions, Flynn has a 112.6 quarterback rating.


And now we know that Flynn will be behind center on Thanksgiving, as McCarthy named him the starter on Wednesday. He commented about that situation via

Matt Flynn will be the starter tomorrow. He’s taken all the starter reps this week, and he’s ready to go.

If Flynn can play as well as he has in the past against the Lions, McCarthy has a decent chance of going 15-1 overall versus the Lions and 4-0 against them on Thanksgiving.