Packers Periscope: Week 17 vs. Detroit Lions

The Green Bay Packers visit the Detroit Lions in week 17 for the second season in a row.  A year ago, this game got the Sunday Night time slot and was for the NFC North division.  

A year later, neither team has anything to play for as both have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.  The NFL truly is a week-to-week and year-to-year league now.

On to the before and after of this week's game.

The Past

The Lions won the first match up this season, on a Monday Night game in Green Bay.  Anytime the Lions win a game in Green Bay (which for some of you has only happened twice in your lifetime), it's a bad day or night, in this case.  If you're not sure, ask someone who lived through the 1980's.

It was a game without Aaron Rodgers and by now, we all know the story with Brett Hundley at Lambeau Field this season: no touchdown passes to be had.  That won't win many games.

The Lions managed to stay in playoff contention until losing to the lowly Cincinnati Bengals on Christmas Eve.  That was at least one week longer than the Packers, who had their postseason hopes ended over a week ago.

This marks the first time since 2008 that neither of these teams will appear in the postseason.  Green Bay hosted the winless Lions in week 17 of that season and sent them home with the "L", which helped them secure the top pick in the 2009 draft.  Detroit used that pick to select their current quarterback, Matthew Stafford.

The Packers finished just 6-10 that year which landed them the ninth-overall pick which became B.J. Raji.  Green Bay traded back into the first round later in that draft to select Clay Matthews.  A year later, they were Super Bowl champs. 

Sometimes rough seasons like this one turn into bigger and better things down the road.

The Present

Despite neither team having much at stake this week, both have been in the headlines.

Lions head coach Jim Caldwell has been rumored to be a possible dismissal come season's end.  Despite taking his team to the postseason in two of his four years (the Lions had been only once in 12 seasons prior to Caldwell's arrival), his efforts may not be enough to save his job.  

Detroit General Manager Bob Quinn came from the New England Patriots where winning big was and is an expectation.  Caldwell's accomplishments may exceed any of his recent predecessors, but Quinn knows has seen what it takes to sustain a winning culture.  He may have bigger things in mind.

As for the Packers, they were the subject of complaints submitted to the NFL by teams around the league with regards to Rodgers having been placed back on injured reserve (IR).  Here is more on that story and an explanation of the rule by ESPN's Kevin Seifert. 

Thankfully, we won't have to report that Rodgers has been waived or released and reports are the the current rule may be up for discussion this offseason.

As far as actual football is concerned, the present state of both of these teams is disappointing, in a word. 

The Lions showed some promise earlier this season and even notched a road win at Minnesota but have fallen off since the midway point.  A win Sunday would insure a winning season for Detroit and could save Caldwell's job.

A Lions win would also give them a record of 5-1 against division opponents this season, which is typically an indication of a team headed for the playoffs.  This may further illustrate why Caldwell's future could be in jeopardy.

The Packers have literally nothing to gain from winning this game besides pride.  A win would avoid a losing season and put both of these teams at 8-8 on the year but Green Bay can't change a third-place finish in the division. 

Detroit already holds the tie-breaker with the Packers due to their record in the division and the Chicago Bears have already wrapped up last place.

A win would also drop the Packers down in the 2018 draft order.  They currently sit at 15th overall and this team is in need of more impact players.  Those are hard to find when you're picking in the bottom half of each round.

The Future

Both teams will likely take an opportunity to look at some of their younger players in this game.  Hundley has been named Green Bay's starter this week so he'll get one more (possibly last) chance to showcase what he can do.  Of course, there's also the chance that he showcases what he can't do and does nothing to improve his potential trade value this offseason.

Beyond that, the Packers want to see what they have in guys like Michael Clark, Josh Jones, Josh Hawkins, Lenzy Pipkins, Jermaine Whitehead, Donatello Brown, Lucas Patrick and newly-signed Emanuel Byrd, to name a few.

The Lions will likely try to build a lead and save their preferred starters for next season.  

One thing we can all likely agree on, this game and season can't end soon enough.  Hopefully the Packers are still picking in the top 15 when all is said and done.

 

 

 

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (4)

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Nick Perry's picture

December 29, 2017 at 06:22 am

"Hundley has been named Green Bay's starter this week so he'll get one more (possibly last) chance to showcase what he can do. "

OMG!!! I'm sick of Hundley "Showcasing" what he can do. The answer to this is obvious and IMO not much can be gained by watching the Gum Chewing Cap Gun Slinging QB can do.

I'm concentrating completely on the future of the Packers at this point. I'm anxiously waiting for Tuesday morning, maybe earlier when I begin to hear heads are rolling at 1265 Lombardi Ave. I've started looking at FA to be, Mock Drafts, and possible veterans like Peppers was in 2014 the Packers could possible add for 2018 after getting cut. I'm in full off-season mode already because 2017 has been a year I'd just soon forget. It can't be over fast enough.

Off Topic.... There's Fan Voting for the HOF on NFL.com right now and Leroy Butler is one of the finalists. If you have time go vote for ole Leroy because he DESERVES a place in Canton!

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Rossonero's picture

December 29, 2017 at 10:59 am

I'm right there with you in off-season mode. First, I hope we lose to Detroit to get a top 15 pick.

I've been scoping out Packers mock draft picks. God, I hope we take a pass rusher. Our secondary will never improve unless we get a pass rush.

Some common names I've seen for the Packers:
1. Clelin Ferrel, DE, Clemson, 6'5" 260 lbs. (Sophomore).
- 12.5 tackles for loss (TFL) and 6 sacks in his first year playing
-17 TFL and 8.5 sacks this year.
- If he tests out well at the combine, he might be a top 10 pick. He should be available by #14 or 15, assuming we lose to the Lions.

2. Harold Landry, OLB, Boston College, 6'3" 250 lbs. (Senior).
- sophomore, 16 TFL, 3 sacks.
- Junior, 22 TFL and 16.5 sacks.
- Senior, 8 TFL and 5 sacks. His drop in production is attributed to an ankle injury that caused him to miss the Eagles’ final four games of the regular season and being double teamed more. He is the top OLB in the draft.

3. Arden Key, DE, LSU, 6'6" 265 lbs. (Junior)
- Freshman, 6.5 TFL, 5 sacks
- Sophomore, 12.5 TFL, 11 sacks
- Junior, 5.5 TFL, 4 sacks*
- faced future NFL competition weekly in the SEC

* = shoulder surgery before the season and surgery on his pinky finger at the end of the season cut his stats down.

Key has also battled a knee injury and left the team for personal reasons earlier in 2017 too. He has all the physical traits and pass rushing moves, but injuries will probably see him fall.

“He uses his length to keep opponents off of his chest and has an array of moves to create pressures/sacks. Key flashes an explosive get off and can bend the loop at the top of his rush.” -Daniel Jeremiah

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nostradanus's picture

December 29, 2017 at 07:01 am

Vote for Leroy Butler Yes! He was one of the greats!

Fire Dom Capers! He is not one of the greats.

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stockholder's picture

December 29, 2017 at 08:37 am

A win= Jim Caldwell saves his job. (lions win) Packers win: The packers picking in the bottom 1/2 of each round. Hundley becomes the back-up of the future. Don Capers keeps his job. .500. So much for needs. Somehow I hope the Packers fumble a lot.

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