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Packers Need To "Feel The Power"

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Packers Need To "Feel The Power"

The Green Bay Packers stand alone atop the NFL landscape as the only unbeaten team in the league. Their quarterback is having a record-setting season that could go down as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, season at the quarterback position in league history. They have won sixteen straight games, including playoffs and the Super Bowl, dating back to last season - something no Packers team has ever done before.

And now, after all of the above has been laid out and discussed and dissected, after the team has been praised, put on the cover of magazines, after Rodgers has been hailed (in almost nauseating fashion) on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown - after all the adulation and platitudes have been spent, it comes down to Thursday's game against the upstart Detroit Lions and a chance for historical retribution.

The Packers started playing on Thanksgiving in Detroit in 1951. Detroit mostly dominated this series until the arrival of Vince Lombardi in 1959, but even then the Lions usually played the Packers tough, winning more than they lost against the perennial NFL powerhouse. Lombardi hated the Packers' annual trip. It seemed his team always played poorly and the Lions always played well.

Then, in 1962, the table was set for the Packers to finally put those frustrations to rest.

The Packers entered the Thanksgiving game that year riding a ten game winning streak. It was considered, both at the time and in ensuing years, Lombardi's finest team. The Lions had a good team and were playing well, but this would be the game where Lombardi's Packers would finally dominate the Lions in their annual Thanksgiving showdown.

Of course, as most Packers fans know, the exact opposite played out that day at windy Tiger Stadium. The Lions completely dominated the Packers in a 26-14 victory that saw them sack Bart Starr 11 times (once for a safety) and intercept him twice, with Dick LeBeau and Night Train Lane doing the honors.

Despite the loss, the Packers went on to win the rest of their games that season and win their second consecutive championship. But even so, Lombardi had had enough of the perennial stumble that the Thanksgiving game had become and lobbied strongly with the league for the Lions to rotate opponents for the game. After playing to a 13-13 tie on Thanksgiving in 1964, Lombardi got his wish and the league started rotating the Lions' annual opponent.

The Packers did not return to Detroit on Thanksgiving for 21 years, when they finally made another appearance in 1984. After a couple more appearances in the 80's and 90's, they were absent from Thanksgiving Day for another 15 years.

These days, the Packers make sporadic appearances and have actually fared quite well overall in their recent trips to Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. Oh sure, the Lions always seem to play the Packers tough in Detroit and they even pulled off the upset in 2003, but the Packers have won four of their last five Thanksgiving games.

This game on Thursday, however, is completely different. The Lions, while perhaps not the imposing team they appeared to be as they stormed out to a 5-0 start, are a very, very talented football team that is more than capable of beating the Packers.

Just take a look at the last six quarters of football between these two teams. Going back to halftime of their 2010 game in Lambeau, the Lions have held the Packers out of the endzone. Yes, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers left last years game in Detroit at the very end of the first half, but the Lions defense has essentially shut down Rodgers and the Packers offense the last four quarters of play between the two.

The Lions, of course, are not the only thing that's different. This isn't the same Packers offense as the one that struggled at times in 2010. Rodgers is obviously having an incredible year, and he's doing so in part due to some phenomenal play from his supporting cast, including Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley, James Starks and, of course, the emergence of Jordy Nelson.

But for Rodgers to get the ball to those playmakers he needs to stay upright. The Lions completely dominated the Packers' offensive line last year in Detroit. And when I say "dominated", that doesn't really begin to cover it. The Lions front four made life absolutely miserable for the Packers' offensive line, as well as their backs and tight ends, by basically whipping them in what looked like a back-alley brawl that had spilled out onto the football field. (And Packer fans eager to use their favorite whipping boy, Daryn Colledge, would do well to remember that Colledge left the game due to injury very early on.)

If this Packers team is going to extend their 16 game winning streak to 17, they are going to have to overcome a boatload of adversity, both physically and mentally. Along with needing a much better performance from their offensive line, their defense needs to figure out a way to stop hemorrhaging yards or the Lions' big-play offense is going to eat them alive.

As for the mental aspect of the diversity the Packers are facing, they will be playing their third game in 10 days. There's no two ways about it - that is a brutal schedule to navigate. Head coach Mike McCarthy has done a fantastic job during his tenure of knowing when to push his guys and when to ease off and he'll need to have his finger perfectly on the pulse of his football team this week.

The present day Packers most likely have no feelings whatsoever about 1962. They are professionals with a job to do. Yes, they want to win the game, but for more immediate reasons than a loss that belmished an otherwise perfect season over four decades ago.

Long-time, life-long, die-hard Packers fans, however, have a different stake in Thursday's game. A deep, historical, emotional stake. Our Packers had their bid for perfection wiped out once by the Lions on Thanksgiving. It's time to right that historical wrong.

We don't expect today's Packers team to care about what must seem like ancient history.

We expect them to Feel The Power.

Comments (47)

Jack's picture

I wish the NFL would uproot the Thanksgiving Day games from Dallas and Detroit and let different NFL cities host them each year.

It's not a tradition worth keeping.

Evan's picture

They have added the 3rd game that rotates. I'm fine with letting Detroit and Dallas have to deal with the short week every season.

fish/crane's picture

How does the fiddler stay up on the roof? Tradition, Jack.

MikeNealsMom's picture

I don't think we'll have a problem with the Lions. They're not that great and our o-line is playing much better than last season. We know what they're about this time, unlike last season when it was more of a trap game.

MarkinMadison's picture

Well, I'm worried. I don't like the match-ups. I have not like the match-ups all year. If Shields was as effective as he appeared to be last year, I'd be happy. If Collins was out there, that would help too. If Sitton was playing like he did last year, I'd be a lot less worried. I'll say this though - the game is in a dome, no one can cover the receiving corps, the Packers can game plan to put the ball out quickly, and the Lions' linebackers and D-backs are average at best. So we'll see. But not worried? Are you kidding? If you're a fan you have to be a little worried about this game, or the rest of them must just put you to sleep.

Evan's picture

I'm definitely a little nervous. But I also have a sinking suspicion that nervousness will dissipate by the 2nd quarter.

PackersRS's picture

The OL was playing much better till the last 3 or so games...

Right now, the only OLineman playing well is Bulaga...

Jake's picture

Well at least Avril will be held in check!

Franklin Hillside's picture

ARRRRRRRRRRRGH.......KILLLLLLLLLL!

tony's picture

+1

Tarynfor 12's picture

I have only one problem with the scheduling of these games.
The Lions and Cowboys should not have home games the week before.All participants in the TurkeyDay games should all have to deal with the 3 day preparation including travel.The Lions and Cowboys need to be away on these Sundays prior.

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

Agreed.

PackersRS's picture

+1

But the problem is that they have the shortened schedule every single year...

TundraBum's picture

Yeah, but they also get a nice 10 day mid-season break afterwards every year.

dullgeek's picture

IMHO, they should try and schedule the bye week for teams who play on T-giving the week before. That way, those six teams all have extra time before and after, and noone has to deal with a 3 day week between games.

That's happened at least once in my memory for the Packers. I think this should be the norm for teams playing on turkey day.

AJKUHN's picture

This is gonna be a tough one, the Lions front will be brutal. I think a healthy dose of no huddle may emerge to wear those guys down a bit and exploit match ups. Of all the games left, this is the one I think could be a loss. Rodgers, for as measured as he is in interviews, seems to be quietly vindictive and remember everyone that has ever slighted his play or ability. He remembers last year, and whats to go light them up like he did to Atlanta. Hopefully he can be kept upright to do it. Starks, Grant and Finely could be the difference from last year. Should be an interesting game. At least I was already planning to drink a lot that day anyway.

dullgeek's picture

I watched the Panthers @ Lions game. The Lions' D-Line is good at stopping the pass. But the Lions are 28th in the league against the run. Their defense gave up a lot of yards to the Panthers.

If the Packers can establish the run in this game, I feel less worried about the game. I fear that #12 being able to run will be a key part of making the passing game work, but then I'll be yelling "Slide, Aaron, Slide!" all game.

But then again, MM and AR don't seem to care about establishing the run. Which is why this game has me worried. The teams that beat the Lions all have strong run games: 49ers, Falcons & Bears. The other teams that came close also have running games: Vikings, Cowboys & Panthers. Those 6 teams are all in the top 11 in the league in rushing.

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

My worry, is the dirty play the Lions seem to employ when they are down, much like their Bears game in Chicago. Heck, they dont even have to be down. They are a bunch of cheap shot artists led by an arrogant, volatile coach with no respect for the opposition. We know what kind of player Suh is, and the other front 7 arent too far behind.

"Feel The Power" is great, but I dont know if we have that "tough" mentality to punch them back in the mouth. I admired what Briggs did to a Lions receiver, the possession after Cutler got roughed up in the end zone by Fairley. And if Urlacher had a chance, he would have too. Do we have that kind of player on defense? CMIII??? But is he willing to take the potential 15 yarder in defense of his QB? Kinda like when your best hitter gets drilled in the back, and you are looking for retribution next inning.

Evan's picture

100% agree.

If I see Suh body slam Rodgers after the whistle, so help me god. haha

That said, I have all the confidence in the world in guys like Raji, CMIII, Hawk and Bishop to "keep the peace," as it were.

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

I hope so. I've heard Urlacher say, that despite the fines that he has received, or could receive in the future, he wouldnt change the way he plays. MM would ask his players to reel it in, so they wouldnt risk the chance of a penalty. Maybe defending your QB would be an exception.

This game has the potential to show what kind of toughness we have. Shoot them back, or just walk away?

packsmack25's picture

Chuck Woodson would cut a bitch if someone took a cheap shot on Aaron.

Jake's picture

This made me laugh very hard.

glorious80s's picture

Winning is the best revenge. Pack needs to stay disciplined, focused and smart. Can't beat yourself with stupid penalties.

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

IF we're going to lose one game, I think this is it. That being said, I don't think we're going to lose one game, which means a team can finally kick those annoying D-bags from '72 to the back seat. STFU Mercury!

GBP 4 LIFE

Mark's picture

Actually Mercury Morris wants the packers to go undefeated

FITZCORE1252's EVO's picture

Yeah, I heard that quote too. If you believe that... There's nothing I can do for you.

PackersRS's picture

Packers fans:
Sometimes you're a spoiled bunch.
Most of the time you're the best fans in sports.

It's time to be the latter. Whoever can go, go to this game. And cheer your lungs out. This figures to be the thoughest game of the season, screw defensive yardage, screw dropped passes, it's about winning the game.

Let's stop the bitching and kick some ass!

Mojo's picture

I'm guessing about 7 scrums after the whistle. If the Pack has a "finesse type" team label, this will be the time to shake it.

This is the biggest game for the Lions in decades. I know they made the play-offs in the 90's, but they still sucked even then and had no realistic chance to go far.

I think Jim Schwanz is going to try to establish the 'tough-guy, we don't take crap from anyone' image. I expect to see more cheap-shots than during the flu-season at the free clinic.

Of any regular season game this year, this is the one I want.

Evan's picture

I think Jordy Nelson's stiff-arm has something to say any such "finesse team" label.

NoWayJose's picture

Yes!!! This is the first game since ATL that I am genuinely FIRED UP for.

The weather's getting cold, the spotlight is brighter, the Lions are cocky and hungry and can taste the playoffs. We're getting in real football - no more of these sunny day afternoon dispatchings of the Broncos.

Let them know who the champs are!!! PUNCH THEM IN THE MOUTH!!

HRKevinmc's picture

What Mel said...Infinity +1...!

cow42's picture

-PACK STOPS THE RUN -- LIONS DON'T RUN.
-PACK SUCKS AGAINST THE PASS -- THE LIONS HAVE THE BEST WR IN THE GAME.
-LIONS CAN'T STOP THE RUN -- THE PACKERS DON'T RUN.
-LIONS ARE VERY GOOD AGAINST THE PASS -- ALL THE PACKERS DO IS PASS.
-PACKERS OFFENSIVE LINE IS SUSPECT -- LIONS DEFENSIVE LINE IS DOMINANT.
-PACKERS THRIVE AGAINST THE BLITZ -- THE LIONS CAN GET SERIOUS PRESSURE WITHOUT HAVING TO SEND EXTRA PEOPLE.
-GAME OF THE DECADE FOR THE LIONS -- 3RD GAME IN 11 DAYS FOR THE PACK.

I HAVE A SINKING FEELING THAT THE PACKERS WILL LOSE BY DOUBLE DIGITS.

BAD MATCH-UPS ACROSS THE BOARD.

packeraaron's picture

Interesting that you only list matchups that favor the Lions - when there are plenty that favor the Packers as well.

But I would suspect nothing less from our resident Chicken Little.

cow42's picture

and those match-ups would be...
help me out.

offense;

passing-i think the wr corp gets neutralized by the fact that the lions front 4 will be on rodgers within nano-seconds of the ball being snapped. you saw the game there last year. it was a race to the qb. rodgers'll throw for no more han 250 and 1 td.

rushing-starks won't play. even if he does, the Packers NEVER have an advantage in this department. they do not run.

defense;

i can not think of a single match-up advantage that the Packers will have on this side of the ball. the Packers are showing to be an historically bad defense. they've gone against offensive lines far worse than that of the lions and generated little to no pressure. no one on the Packer roster is capable of covering megatron... he will have over 120 yds and multiple tds.

i get it - the Packers are good... really good. 16 in a row is ridiculous. i just do not think they mach-up with this team at this time.

packeraaron's picture

"i think the wr corp gets neutralized by the fact that the lions front 4 will be on rodgers within nano-seconds"

This is totally overblown.

Yes, the Lions beat them up up front last time. If you don't think the Packers play better/have a better gameplan this time out, there's nothing I can type to change your mind.

For the Lions, who covers Finley? If they double him, who covers Nelson? Jennings? Hell, Jones? Yes, Rodgers will have to get the ball out quick, but look for McCarthy to move the pocket and use Rodgers athleticism. Best way to neutralize their front four is to get them guessing as to where Rodgers will be. Take away the stationary target early.

As for the defense, you're never going to take Johnson out of the game. Ever. He'll get his yards, he'll get his TD(s). Bracket him with Williams and Burnett/Peprah and that leaves Shields on...Burleson? Does that really scare you? Woodson in the slot to blitz/cover the tight end.

And yes, the Packers have struggled to generate pressure. But if you don't like a matchup of Matthews vs. Cherilus, again, no amount of typing will change your mind.

The Packers did not get off the bus last year. Even after all the trouble they had up front, they were a Jennings drop away from winning the game. Their offense is much more dynamic this year. And there's simply no way they are not "up" tomorrow.

To quote an assistant for a team that recently played the Lions to Bob McGinn:

<em>Green Bay. Because they're the better team. It's not even close. I'll bet you I end up being close with the score. 38-21, Green Bay. </em>

Totally agree.

Ken's picture

Agreed Aaron.

If Jennings cleanly catches that 1st Qtr ball and Rodgers stays healthy, who's to say we don't win going away that day?

My concern is not offensively, but rather Peprah vs. Pettigrew.

cow42's picture

'For the Lions, who covers Finley?' FINLEY'S BEEN A DUD. DUDE'S OVERRATED. DROPS AS MANY AS HE CATCHES.

'If they double him, who covers Nelson? Jennings? Hell, Jones?' RODGERS WILL HAVE TO HIT OPTION 1 OR 2 ON EVERY PLAY. HE WILL NOT HAVE TIME TO DO ANYTHING ELSE.

'look for McCarthy to move the pocket and use Rodgers athleticism' THE FACT THAT THE BEST WAY TO KEEP YOUR QB SAFE IS TO GET HIM AS FAR AWAY FROM HIS OWN LINEMEN AS POSSIBLE IS NOT MY IDEA OF AN ADVANTAGE FOR THE PACKERS.

'But if you don’t like a matchup of Matthews vs. Cherilus, again, no amount of typing will change your mind' DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON THIS. CM HAS BEEN STONED BY WAY WORSE T'S THAN THIS DUDE.

we could go on and on here. the Packers should have lost last week to tampa...at home. the team they're playing this week is 10x as talented 20x as motivated and at home.

i think the Packers are better than the lions. but i see the lions winning tomorrow. too much in their favor.

packeraaron's picture

"the Packers should have lost last week to tampa"

I now know I never need to take you seriously ever again.

Cheers.

CSS's picture

'Finley is a dud'.

Arguing stat lines again? Nelson and Jones run wide-open against bad nickle corners thanks in large part to Finley dragging anywhere from 2-3 guys through the middle in coverage. Can his lack of focus be disappointing, yes. Is he a 'dud'? Grow up.

There's always a game within the game and it occurs away from the football.

Michael from Winnipeg's picture

Thanks Aaron. You've erased my doubts in this game, and rejuvenated the high hopes we expect. "Screw the Lions, WE ARE THE PACKERS!", should be MM's pre-game speech. If your game plan, matches what MM plans, and does come to fruition, then it should be over by half-time. As long as its a win, and we dont suffer any catastrophes.

PackersRS's picture

Don't have a cow, man.

CSS's picture

You're doing it wrong, has to look more like:

DON'T HAVE A COW, MAN!!!!

EVERYTHING SUCKS!!! DUDS MAN, EVERY ONE OF EM'!!!

cow42's picture

--“the Packers should have lost last week to tampa”

I now know I never need to take you seriously ever again.

Cheers.--

GOTTA ADMIT THEY GOT SOME EXTREMELY 'FORTUNATE' CALLS. AND IT DIDN'T HURT THAT MORRIS TURNED INTO CHILDRESS.

--‘Finley is a dud’.

Arguing stat lines again? Nelson and Jones run wide-open against bad nickle corners thanks in large part to Finley dragging anywhere from 2-3 guys through the middle in coverage. Can his lack of focus be disappointing, yes. Is he a ‘dud’? Grow up.

There’s always a game within the game and it occurs away from the football.--

FINE - YOU WIN. HE'S NOT A DUD. HE'S THE BEST DECOY IN THE NFL. PERSONALLY, I THOUGHT HE'D BE MORE.

Tommyboy's picture

Okay, I can now say for certain cow's a troll. No fan of their undefeated team is this anti-team. Are there concerns tomorrow? Absolutely. But this dude makes it look like a slam-dunk loss.

MY CAPS ARE ON!!!

PackersRS's picture

You are hilarious, cow. But I don't care much for your "shouting".

So let's make a deal, shall we?

Packers win, you shut the hell up.
Packers lose, I shut the hell up.

Deal?

cow42's picture

P-RS...

DEAL.
EASY MONEY.

38-24 LIONS.
IT WILL BE OVER EARLY.
THERE WILL BE A POINT IN THE GAME WHERE THE PACK IS DOWN 3 SCORES.

BOTH TEAMS HAVE TALENT AT THE SKILL POSITIONS. THIS GAME WILL BE DECIDED IN THE TRENCHES' - AS THEY SAY.

LIONS' DL IS BETTER THAN PACK'S OL. THAT IS OBVIOUS.

WHILE NOT GOOD-THE LIONS' OL IS BETTER THAN PACK'S DL - WHICH HAS DONE NOTHING OF NOTE ALL YEAR-.

Ruppert's picture

Every game that matters is the game of the decade for the Lions. That's because they haven't had a game that matters in 10 years.

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