It isn't a secret: the Green Bay Packers are the defending Super Bowl champions and the best team in the NFL, evidenced by their undefeated record.
Their star quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, is the consensus MVP through the first seven weeks of the season in. One glance at his statistics and he is just as good on the road as he is in Green Bay.
In road games this season, Rodgers has thrown for 1,336 yards with 10 touchdowns and just one interception. These road games include wins over Atlanta, San Diego, Carolina, Minnesota and Chicago. Not only have the Packers escaped these difficult venues with wins, but Rodgers has dominated his competition.
Just as impressive, Rodgers has thrown for over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns at Lambeau Field.
Should we be surprised by his numbers? Based on his physical ability and the players around him, it is a resounding no. Rodgers is blessed with players such as Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley, and Co.
The Packers defense has not been exceptional, but with the way the offense is playing, the defense doesn't need to be anything out-of-this-world.
The pass defense is ranked 31st in the NFL, despite featuring a Hall of Famer in Charles Woodson and an up-and-coming star in Tramon Williams. Dspite the aerial assault on the secondary, the front seven has shown the ability to get to the quarterback as they have totaled 17 sacks (T-7 in NFL).
The run defense is about as solid as you can ask for as the Packers rank 9th in the NFL in that category.
Mason Crosby has quickly turned into one of the top kickers in the NFL as he is a perfect 14/14 on the season and has converted 80 percent of field goals in his career.
Based on statistics and the "eye-test," this Packers team looks to be the most complete team in the NFL. They are 7-0 on the season and fans do not see a perfect season as far-fetched. However, the 1972 Miami Dolphins and the 2007 New England patriots are the only two teams since the AFL/NFL merger to go a perfect 16-0 in the regular season.
With history against them, the Packers will start the season 10-0 and find themselves on the losing end in Week 12 when they travel to Detroit to face the Lions.
The Lions have an exceptionally talented offense with the capability to put points on the board against the Packers.
Matt Stafford's rocket arm has quickly become the talk of the league and he has the most physically talented receiver in the NFL at his disposal, Calvin Johnson.
There are only a handful of players in the NFL with the experience and ability to keep Megatron in check and one of those players is Charles Woodson. Woodson is a tremendous player, but the type of receiver Johnson is will keep Woodson from jumping short routes where it is almost always a sure pick.
Johnson has been held under 80 receiving yards just once in a blowout win against Kansas City. In seven games he has been held without a touchdown just once and gone over 100 receiving yards in four of those contests.
Another dangerous weapon on the Lions offense is Jahvid Best, the second-year running back out of California. Though he missed the Lions loss vs. the Falcons, he is expected to be back before Week 12 and will make an impact in the passing game.
Despite their ability to get to the quarterback and create turnovers, the Packers linebackers have been criticized for their pass coverage skills. Best's ability to catch the ball out of the backfield will be a difference in this game.
Another player that will see his opportunities to beat the Packers linebackers is Brandon Pettigrew, one of the better young tight ends in the league. He got off to a slow to start, but is now on pace for over 60 catches to compliment his 71 in 2010.
Defensively, the front four for Detroit all have very high motors and take pride in getting to the quarterback. Ndamukong Suh has been the most vocal about it, saying he has no problem with continually hitting the opposing quarterback if the offensive line can't block him.
The matchup between the Packers passing offense and the Lions passing defense will be a good one. Something will have to give as the Lions are 7th in passing defense and have allowed just three plays of 40+ yards.
If the Lions can get into the backfield consistently, Rodgers will be forced to rush throws and those big plays we have been accustomed to seeing from Green Bay may not happen.
This will be a game of the quarterbacks and their passing attacks. Though Aaron Rodgers is the better player, Matt Stafford will win this Week 12 matchup in Detroit.