Green & Gold


Lions carve up Packers

The Associated Press Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) sacks Green Bay Packers quarterback Matt Flynn for a safety during the third quarter of an NFL football game at Ford Field in Detroit on Thursday.

The Detroit Lions were dominant after a shaky start and snapped a few losing streaks.

Matthew Stafford made up for some mistakes with three touchdown passes, including one to Calvin Johnson, to help Detroit score 37 straight points to beat the Green Bay Packers 40-10 on Thursday.

The Lions (7-5) had lost their last two games, five consecutive against Green Bay and a franchise-record nine straight in their annual showcase on Thanksgiving.

The Packers (5-6-1) have a five-game winless streak for the first time since 2008, showing how valuable Aaron Rodgers is for the franchise. Rodgers has missed four-plus games since fracturing his left collarbone.

“We’re a wounded team that got drilled by a good football team,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said.

Matt Flynn became the fourth starting quarterback for Green Bay this year and was sacked seven times, once by Ndamukong Suh for a safety.


Keys to the Game: Packers at Lions

Green Bay Packers


The Green Bay Packers would have won if they were able to score a touchdown on either of their final two drives against the Minnesota Vikings. Instead, the team was forced to settle for a pair of Mason Crosby field goals and the tie. The Packers also had problems getting touchdowns against the Detroit Lions earlier this season. The Packers will need touchdowns Thursday to beat the Lions at Ford Field.

Strike early


Diagnosing poor defensive performances

Another week, another poor performance by the Green Bay Packers defense.

The defense couldn’t get a stop for most of the game Sunday, allowing drives of 69, 63, 59, 85 and 63 yards against the Minnesota Vikings.

Even the rush defense, so good early in the season, allowed 232 yards. Adrian Peterson had 146 of those yards, while Toby Gerhart added 91.

Through the air, a lost Packers secondary allowed Christian Ponder to pass for 232 yards.

Exactly what is wrong?

Packers coach Mike McCarthy shot down growing dissatisfaction in the fan base with the job defensive coordinator Dom Capers is doing.

“I’m very comfortable with our coaching staff,” McCarthy said. “I think it’s definitely one of the strengths of our program.”

McCarthy says Capers and the defensive coaches are doing their job.

“It’s a very talented, organized defensive staff,” he said. “I really like their teaching ability, their command and their personalities.”


Packers rally to 26-26 tie with Vikings

Photo by Jim Leuenberger Packers running back Eddie Lacy runs during Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field.

Photo by Jim Leuenberger Packers receiver Jordy Nelson runs from a Vikings defender during Sunday’s game in Lambeau Field.

If Sunday’s game was a must-win test, the Green Bay Packers both passed and failed.

The Packers and the Minnesota Vikings finished tied 26-26 after an overtime period at Lambeau Field, with both teams getting overtime field goals.

The Packers (5-5-1) rallied from a 23-7 deficit, after quarterback Matt Flynn went in for Scott Tolzien, who struggled in his second start for the Packers.

Flynn, who returned to the team two weeks ago after getting cut by the Buffalo Bills, engineered two fourth-quarter touchdown drives, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run by rookie running back Eddie Lacy and a 6-yard pass from Flynn to Jarrett Boykin to cut the lead to 23-20.

“We were looking for a spark,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “That’s directly what the communication was. We thought we had some opportunities early. We have a history with Matt.”


Keys to the Game: Packers vs. Vikings

Green Bay Packers

Stop Peterson

Any conversation about beating the Minnesota Vikings begins with 2012 NFL MVP running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson is fourth in the league with 851 yards. The Packers took him out of the Week 8 game, holding him to 60 yards on just 13 carries in the 44-31 victory. Since then, the Packers defense has allowed Chicago’s Matt Forte (125 yards) and Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy (155) to run with abandon. Last week the Packers held New York Giants running back Andre Brown to 66 yards on 18 carries.

Get Lacy involved

The Packers rookie running back was held to just 14 carries and 27 yards last week as the Packers offense tried to catch up to the Giants. When he faced the Vikings in Week 8, Lacy put up 94 yards on 29 carries. The Packers will need Lacy to be much closer to 100 yards than 27 if they want to win without quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.


Packers in must-win mode

The good news?

If the Green Bay Packers win the rest of their games, then they will win the NFC North and make the playoffs.

And the bad news?

That is about the only path the Packers (5-5) have to make the playoffs.

If the Packers lose to either the Detroit Lions (6-4) on Thanksgiving Day or the Chicago Bears (6-4) in Week 17 — and both those teams avoid a complete collapse in the rest of their games — the Packers are likely to lose the NFC North, and with it a chance at the playoffs.

The Packers’ path to a wild-card berth is even harder to map out. San Francisco (6-4) and Philadelphia (6-5) each have better records and tie-breakers against the Packers. Carolina (7-3) and Arizona (6-4) are also ahead of the Packers.

The Packers were in a perfect playoff position just three weeks ago. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ broken collarbone and a three-game losing streak has the Packers feeling desperate.


Keys to the Game: Packers at Giants

Green Bay Packers

Get Lacy Going

As impressed as Packers coach Mike McCarthy was with practice squaddie-turned-starting-quarterback Scott Tolzien on Sunday, the Packers offense will still be run by a third-stringer in New York this week. Whatever Tolzien is capable of, his job will be made infinitely easier if rookie running back Eddie Lacy gets moving early and often. The Giants’ defense has been stingy against the run and hasn’t allowed a 100-yard running back since Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams ran for 120 in Week 3.

Get Turnovers


Defense needs a vocal leader

The Green Bay Packers are in a crisis.

Their two-game losing streak has darkened once bright postseason prospects, and it’s likely the team will face a must-win game on the road at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.

Finding a way to win the next three weeks will be critical for the Packers (5-4) to get to the postseason, which may take at least a 10-6 record, if not an outright NFC North Division championship.

Surprisingly, the team’s biggest problem hasn’t been the offense, which is missing quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) and is starting former practice squad player Scott Tolzien at the game’s most important position.

The problem undermining the Packers right now is their defense. The unit has allowed 27 points in each of its last two games, allowing fourth-quarter drives of 8 and 9 minutes, killing any chance of a comeback.

In the locker room, there weren’t many answers for what the defense needs to do.


Hobbled Packers lose to Eagles

Photo by Jim Leuenberger Packers receiver Jordy Nelson dives for the end zone during Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The Packers lost 27-13.

Photo by Jim Leuenberger Packers coach Mike McCarthy talks to quarterback Scott Tolzien during a game Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The Packers lost 27-13.

Another game, another injured Green Bay Packers quarterback.

Thrust into duty just a few days after being elevated from the practice squad, quarterback Scott Tolzien took over the Packers’ offense Sunday in a 27-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

After losing Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone on the Packers' first drive last week, the Packers lost his replacement, Seneca Wallace, to a groin injury after the team’s first drive Sunday.

“It’s two weeks in a row,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on the difficulty of losing a quarterback in each of the last two games. “You have a guy that goes through the week and takes all the reps. Unfortunately, he suffered the injury there in the first series.”


Packers stunned by Bears

Photo by Jim Leuenberger Packers receiver Jordy Nelson runs after a catch during the first half of Monday’s game against Chicago at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The Packers lost 27-20.

Photo by Jim Leuenberger Packers running back Eddie Lacy runs during Monday’s game against Chicago Bears. The Packers lost 27-20.

The Green Bay Packers may have lost much more than a game Monday night.

It was the nightmare scenario for the Green Bay Packers, losing to NFC North Division rival Chicago, 27-20, at Lambeau Field and losing quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

A wild first quarter that saw an interception by Bears defensive end Julius Peppers, a blocked punt by Jamari Lattimore and a 32-yard touchdown run by James Starks couldn’t rival the drama of Rodgers leaving the game after the Packers’ first drive.

Rodgers suffered a shoulder injury when he was sacked by defensive end Shea McClellin on third-and-8 on the Bears’ 9-yard line. The Packers settled for a 30-yard Mason Crosby field goal. After being looked at by trainers, Rodgers ran to the locker room.


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