Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (3, 52)
The Green Bay Packers entered their bye as one of the league's hottest teams and came out of it having inched closer to the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears. The Packers will look to ride the momentum as they seek their fifth consecutive win against the host Detroit Lions on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers set an absurdly high standard in piloting Green Bay to a 15-1 mark in 2011-12, but his stellar play during the winning streak has mirrored that of his MVP season. A loss could deliver a fatal blow to the postseason hopes of the Lions, who are in the cellar of the only division that features three teams at least two games over .500. The Packers have also owned Detroit, winning 12 of the last 13 meetings.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX.
LINE: Packers -3, O/U 52.
ABOUT THE PACKERS (6-3): Rodgers has thrown for 15 touchdowns and one interception in the last four games despite missing his favorite two targets in the latter two. James Jones and second-year standout Randall Cobb have elevated their games in the absences of injured wideouts Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings, who combined for 24 scores last season. Jones is tied for second in the league with eight TD receptions and Cobb has five scores in the last three games. Cobb also contributed to a rushing attack that produced a season-high 176 yards in a 31-17 win over Arizona prior to the bye. Linebacker Clay Matthews, who leads the team with nine sacks, has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
ABOUT THE LIONS (4-5): Detroit continued a troubling season-long trend of falling behind early and having to play catch-up in last week's 34-24 loss in Minnesota that halted a two-game winning streak. Matthew Stafford threw for 329 yards and three touchdowns, but each score came after the Lions fell into a 16-3 hole early in the third quarter. Calvin Johnson, who has been bothered by a sore knee, came to life with 11 receptions for 207 yards and a touchdown but has only found the end zone twice after finishing second in the NFL with 16 TD receptions last season. A string of early deficits has contributed to the dramatic inconsistency in the running game, which managed a meager 60 yards against the Vikings after amassing 149 yards and four TDs the previous week.
* Packers are 5-0 ATS in their last five vs. NFC North.
* Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Over is 5-1 in Packers’ last six games overall.
* Over is 8-2-1 in Lions’ last 11 games overall.
1. Rodgers is the first quarterback in league history to throw 25 TD passes in the first nine games in back-to-back seasons.
2. Johnson had a career-high 244 yards and a TD on 11 catches in a 45-41 loss at Green Bay on Jan. 1, a game Rodgers sat out.
3. The Lions play five of their last seven at home but they have to face conference leaders Houston (8-1) and Atlanta (8-1) along with Chicago (7-2). They also play at Green Bay next month.