Five things to watch: Packers at Lions

Detroit News

Matt Schoch
 |  Special to The Detroit News

The Detroit Lions playoff hopes are hanging by a thread, but there are still hopes!

It’s not quite time to definitely root for losses, but feel free to if you’re already there spiritually. We’re not going to tell you how to be a fan.

Either way, there is intrigue any time the Green Bay Packers come to the Motor City.

Plus, there may not be too many more chances for Lions fans to root against Aaron Rodgers.

And as we know, there might not be too many chances to see Matthew Stafford play for the home team either.

Here are five things to watch as the Lions play host to the Packers (4:25 p.m., Fox/WJR):

►1. Aaron Rodgers: Just enjoy watching the man work. One of the “perks” of being a Detroit sports fan is that the teams are so lousy, there’s really no such thing as a “rival.” If you don’t play meaningful games, guys like Rodgers can’t break your heart anymore! It’s like how we should enjoy LeBron James and not hold grudges about a rivalry from over a decade ago. That’s where we should be at with Rodgers. Enjoy the 37-year-old MVP candidate and dream of the day the Lions get their own Rodgers to dominate the NFL for a long career.

More: Detroit Lions rookie CB Jeff Okudah needs season-ending surgery

►2. Bev’s magic touch? Detroit’s Darrell Bevell is one of three interim coaches going in the league. Bev has combined with Atlanta’s Raheem Morris and Houston’s Romeo Crennel for a 9-7 record since taking over their respective teams. FiveThirtyEight.com took a deeper look into the numbers, complete with a detailed explanation about the “dead cat bounce.” Seems apropos when discussing the Detroit Lions.

More: Lions place Griffen on COVID list; promote three from practice squad

►3. Swifty surprise? Taylor Swift dropped a surprise album for her fans this week. Lions running back D’Andre Swift (no relation that we’re aware of) also could make a surprise return on Sunday. Swift is officially questionable after participating in a full practice on Friday. Swift hasn’t played since suffering a concussion last month and then an illness after that. He might be available on Sunday if he’s able to … ahem … Shake It Off.

Subscribers: Lions’ slim playoff hopes hinge on colossal challenge of slowing Aaron Rodgers

►4. Record watch: The Lions football communication team puts together outstanding game notes for the media every week. This week, they’ve uncovered gems like this: With his fourth carry on Sunday, Adrian Peterson would pass LaDainian Tomlinson (3,174) for sixth place on the NFL all-time carry list. Also, with his third catch on Sunday, Danny Amendola would pass Wayne Chrebet (580) for fourth place on the all-time receptions list for undrafted players. In addition, entering Sunday, the Lions are tied for the NFL lead this season in fewest pass completions that resulted in negative yards (three, tied with Tampa Bay and Cleveland). Doing PR for the Lions is not an easy job, and this group truly does it well.

►5. Rising line: After opening at 7.5, the spread had climbed up to as many as 9 points in Green Bay’s favor at BetMGM and DraftKings on late Saturday afternoon. As silly as it sounds, a heavy home underdog is usually a decent bet. But that means you’re backing a team like the Lions against a team like the Packers. Maybe the online gambling delays are saving Lions fans some money. By the way, the online sports betting launch is now expected in mid-January.

Matt Schoch writes for PlayMichigan.com and also freelances for The Detroit News.

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