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Preseason: Will the 2013 Packers and Lions be the 2011 or 2012 version?

August 29, 2013 - Matt Wellens

Two years ago, the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions seemed destined to be the next big rivalry in the NFC North Division with the 2011 Thanksgiving game igniting a spark between the two fan bases and players themselves.

From the Packers perspective, it was like the late 90s/early 2000s rivalry with Randy Moss and the Minnesota Vikings all over again.

Only this time, no one pretended to moon the fans. Someone got stepped on.

Finally, Packers fans had something to be legitimately mad about.

Then 2012 happened with the Packers going 11-5 before getting hammered by San Francisco in the playoffs.

The Lions only won four games despite no catastrophic injuries or controversy.They just stunk the old fashion way last year, by being the Lions.

So was 2012 a fluke, or was 2011 the anomaly?

Let’s go back to 2011, where two games in the final two weeks of the regular season stand out in my mind as tells that everything was not right in Detroit and Green Bay. In Week 15, the then 14-0 Packers got upset by a dysfunctional Kansas City Chiefs team and Packers fans everywhere told themselves, “this was a good loss, a wake up call.”

The only thing weaker than the “good loss” and “wakeup call” theories is any excuse Titus Young has for missing another court date this week.

There’s no such thing as a “good loss,” especially when the beating comes against a team whose head coach was fired days earlier and the replacement was failed Cleveland Browns head coach Romeo Crennel.

And what’s worse than losing to a castaway Browns coach? Just ask the Lions, because they did it the very next week against Matt Flynn.

With Aaron Rodgers needing to rest from throwing one touchdown pass in Kansas City, Flynn torched the Lions with six TDs for a Packers win.

Now, that same Matt Flynn is in Oakland and could possibly lose his starting job tonight to former Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

I’m as shocked as you. Who knew Terrelle Pryor was still in the NFL, and playing quarterback?

The truth is, the 2011 Lions and Packers were frauds.

Green Bay was riding high off a Super Bowl victory, thinking it had built the ultimate franchise with so much depth, it could withstand any injury. Since then, anyone with a history of ever putting on a bandaid has been let go, whether there is a viable replacement on the team or not, leaving an inexperienced defense ripe for disaster.

Detroit, on the other hand, showed last season it didn’t belong at the big boys table yet and that’s because head coach Jim Schwartz and his team has yet to grow up.

The cocky, rough and tough, take-no-prisoners attitude of Schwartz was necessary his first three years in order to build confidence in a franchise that was coming off an 0-16 season in 2008, but last year was time for Detroit to mature and focus on a greater goal than just being the bad boys of the NFL.

Will that finally happen in Detroit this year? I doubt it since the majority of the defense management spent so long building is gone. I’d pick the Lions last, but the Chicago Bears hired their new head coach straight from the Canadian Football League. Good luck Jay Cutler.

The Vikings will finish second in the North thanks to Adrian Peterson and no thanks to Christian Ponder while the Packers win the North as long as Aaron Rodgers stays healthy.

That’s all the Packers will do, however, with a liability like Mason Crosby at kicker and a pair of quick QBs their defense can’t solve in the NFC West.

My complete predictions for the 2013 NFL season are as follows. We can all laugh about these in January and February, when we’re not laughing about shortcoming of Green Bay and Detroit.

Regular season

(Playoff seeding in parenthesis)


East: Patriots (2), Dolphins, Bills, Jets.

North: Ravens (4), Steelers (5), Bengals, Browns.

South: Texans (3), Colts (6), Titans, Jaguars.

West: Broncos (1), Chargers, Chiefs, Raiders.


East: Giants (4), Cowboys, Redskins, Eagles.

North: Packers (3), Vikings, Lions, Bears.

South: Falcons (1), Saints (6), Panthers, Buccaneers.

West: Seahawks (2), 49ers (5), Rams, Cardinals.


Wild Card Playoffs

AFC: Colts def. Texans; Ravens def. Steelers.

NFC: Packers def. Saints; 49ers def. Giants.

Divisional playoffs

AFC: Colts def. Broncos; Patriots def. Ravens.

NFC: 49ers def. Falcons; Seahawks def. Packers.

Conference championship:

AFC: Colts def. Patriots.

NFC: Seahawks def. 49ers.

Super Bowl

Seahawks def. Colts.

Check out the Armchair QB column of Mining Journal Sports Editor Matt Wellens every Thursday here at Follow him on Twitter (@mattwellens). Email him at



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Green Bay Packer' Aaron Rodgers before an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)