GREEN BAY, Wis. (WSAU-TSN) -The high-powered Detroit Lions are at the top of the NFC North and now it's time to find out if the Honolulu Blue and Silver are really contenders or just pretenders.
Aaron Rodgers and the well-rested Green Bay Packers will entertain the Lions at Lambeau Field, a place which has been a house of horrors for Detroit over the years.
In fact the Lions haven't won in the Badger State in over 20 years, dropping 22 straight games (a streak which included one playoff contest) to the Packers in the state of Wisconsin, a record of futility which started with Green Bay's win over the Lions at County Stadium in Milwaukee on Dec. 6, 1992.
The Packers' 21-game regular-season home winning streak against Detroit is the longest in NFL history, ahead of Washington's 18-game run as the host over these same Lions, which was halted last month. Pittsburgh's 16-game run versus the Cleveland Browns, which spanned from 1970-85, is next.
The Pack have won 13 of 14 overall over the Lions since Mike McCarthy took over as head coach and the domination only increased after Rodgers took his place under center in Titletown. The All-Pro is 8-0 when he starts and finishes against the Lions, completing 169-of-246 passes (68.7 percent) for 2,239 yards with 18 TDs versus four interceptions in those contests.
Green Bay was off last week but comes into this contest at just 1-2 after a heart-stopping 34-30 setback at Cincinnati back on Sept. 22. The Packers trailed in that one 14-0 before Rodgers even touched the football and then scored 30 straight points before faltering and allowing the Bengals to close it out with 20 consecutive points, including 13 in the fourth quarter to win it.
Terence Newman returned a fumble 58 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:47 remaining before the Cincinnati defense came up with one last stop of A-Rod and company.
Green Bay was clinging to a 30-27 lead with less than five minutes to play and appeared to pick up a first down on 3rd-and-12 at the Cincinnati 29. A successful Bengals challenge on the spot pushed the ball back just shy of the marker and the Packers elected to go for the first down.
Rookie running back Johnathan Franklin, however, was stripped of the ball just as he reached the line of scrimmage. Reggie Nelson initially picked it up, but had it knocked away by Green Bay receiver Randall Cobb. Newman, though, was right there to scoop it up and he raced untouched to the end zone.
Rodgers marched the Packers right into Cincinnati territory with a first down at the 25, but a 3rd-and-5 pass was knocked down at the line of scrimmage and his fourth-down attempt was also tipped at the line and fell incomplete with 1:21 remaining to seal the contest.
The All-Pro completed 26-of-43 passes for 244 yards with a pair of interceptions and a touchdown for the Packers. Franklin was pushed into service when James Starks left with a knee injury and he responded with 103 yards on 13 carries. The one fumble, however, proved costly.
"(It) was obviously a very tough loss for our football team. I thought it was definitely a game of peaks and valleys, a lot of moments of adversity going through the start of the game and getting down 14-0," said McCarthy. "The way our defense responded, I really felt it picked our football team up generating takeaways, being able to come into halftime with the lead."
The Lions, meanwhile, are coming off a big 40-32 home win over Chicago behind Reggie Bush, who ran for 139 yards and a touchdown.
Bush carried the ball 18 times and also added four catches for 34 yards for the Lions, who snapped a three-game losing streak to the Bears and have now won two straight since falling to Arizona in Week 2.
"The offensive line did a tremendous job," said Bush. "We had talked all week about them being the key to our success. They did a great job and I really didn't get touched during the game."
Matthew Stafford was 23-for-35 for 242 yards with one touchdown, and an interception, but also added a rushing touchdown and fumbled the ball once for Detroit, which has won both its home games this season.
This contest will mark the 168th meeting (including playoffs) between the Packers and Lions since 1932 when the Detroit franchise was known as the Portsmouth (Ohio) Spartans. Green Bay has dominated almost from the get go amassing a 93-26-7 mark in the regular season and a 2-0 record in the playoffs.