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Will Pack or Lions prevail?

December 31, 2011
The Mining Journal

It's difficult to get a handle on Sunday's Detroit Lions-Green Bay Packers' game.

Now that the Packers have clinched home-field advantage throughout the coming NFL playoffs, will head coach Mike McCarthy rest some key players, maybe even bench Aaron Rodgers for the second half?

Or will G.B. be motivated enough to finish 15-1 at Lambeau Field before its adoring fans?

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As for Detroit, will the Lions simply be satisfied now that they've clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 1999?

Or will they be hungry to beat the Packers in Green Bay to end a Detroit winless streak at Lambeau since 1991?

My guess is the Packers may see a couple of players get some much-needed rest, but the rest of the team will want to finish the regular season on a high note, particularly before its home faithful.

Rodgers said this week all players have pride, and he and the Packers are no exception. I don't see that disappearing against Detroit.

And the Lions, pushed by head coach Jim Schwartz to win their fourth straight game and gain the No. 5 seed in the postseason, will want to throw the monkey off their back at Lambeau.

Besides, they have more to play for than the Packers. Meeting the Giants or the Cowboys in the playoffs is much more preferable than taking on the 49ers or, gulp, the Saints.

I would be very surprised if both the Lions and Packers don't give a top effort in the 1 p.m. contest Sunday. If you slack off in a game, it's hard to get that hunger back the next contest.

And in the NFL playoffs, less than a good effort there will earn an early exit and a ticket home.

Momentum is often hard to gain and easy to lose.

The Lions can't be content with just making the playoffs. The franchise has such a poor postseason history that it would be foolish to think it can overlook the Packers' game and set its sights, instead, on the playoffs.

Besides, the Lions have to prove they're not a dome team, that they can play in cold weather, too. They haven't won in a truly cold climate since Dec. 17, 2000, when they beat the New York Jets 10-7 in the old Meadowlands.

The No. 1 priority for Green Bay is to keep Rodgers healthy for the playoffs. The Lions? Not to lose a key player to injury and gain that No. 5 seed.

Take your pick as to the winner. Let the game begin.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is



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