Sunday, January 01, 2012

Packers vs. Lions Preview & Season Finale

In the finale to the 2011 NFL regular season, the Green Bay Packers host the up-and-coming Detroit Lions. Oddsmakers have installed the Pack as 6 point underdogs -- underdogs! -- primarily because Green Bay is expected to rest many of starters throughout the course of the game and Detroit is playing to lock up the #5 seed in the NFC playoffs, which is expected to give them a more favorable playoff match up in the Wild Card game; if they drop to #6 they will likely wind up playing the Saints against whom they don't match up as well. Oh, the over-under for this game is 41.5 points.

From the Packers' perspective, the goal is to get out of this game without injuries. But, they'd also like to win...just in case Detroit winds up coming back to Lambeau Field in a few weeks as part of the don't want to give the Lions any confidence about winning in Lambeau, where they haven't won, by the way, for the last 20 years. But let's be honest: Detroit is coming on. Whether or not we'd want to see them again in the playoffs is a toss-up right now. Although you have to think every other team is hoping they don't have to meet the Pack before the NFC Championship Game, either.

Anyway, while head coach Mike McCarthy indicated he was preparing to play all three quarterbacks today, it seems to be a toss-up whether Aaron Rodgers will see any action at all. There were indications from McCarthy that he was going to start backup QB Matt Flynn. And, Flynn, with free agency around the corner and a paucity of quality quarterbacks in the league, certainly has a lot to play for from a personal standpoint.

In addition to the what-will-they-do aspect of this game from the Packers' standpoint, there is also a subplot of Aaron Rodgers' record-setting passer rating on the line. I won't go into detail on that here, as the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tom Silverstein and Tyler Dunne have already written a great article about that.

So, without further ado on this New Year's Day 2012, what's my call? I'm calling it 24-23 Packers.

Go Pack Go!!!