Packers seek to extend home dominance over Lions
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — No matter the month, no matter the record, no matter the weather, the Packers can beat the Detroit Lions at home.
Since 1992, a Green Bay victory against Detroit in Wisconsin has been as regular as a Lions Thanksgiving Day game. Twenty-two straight wins, counting one playoff victory. The 21-game, regular-season home winning streak against Detroit is the longest in NFL history.
The Packers would very much like to extend the Lions’ miserable stretch Sunday at Lambeau Field, though they’re certainly not gloating about it.
“No, we don’t talk about that. I’ve heard about it,” quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. “I just hope we can keep it going.’
There are certainly more pressing issues for the Packers (1-2) coming off a bye week headed into their first NFC North game. They had a week to stew about the wild, 34-30 loss on Sept. 22 to Cincinnati.
A loss to the Lions would leave them in a deeper hole with Detroit already 2-0 in the division. The Packers may get safety Morgan Burnett back on the field after a hamstring injury, though the status of star linebacker Clay Matthews, who has his own hamstring injury, is in question. The sack specialist was limited in practice Wednesday.
The defense could use him against a Lions offense that’s clicking right now with the dynamic duo of Reggie Bush making plays out of the backfield and receiver Calvin Johnson giving cornerbacks typical fits. Coach Mike McCarthy said Matthews has made progress since getting hurt at Cincinnati.
So have running backs Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin, along with fullback John Kuhn, who were full participants in practice after using the bye to help recover from various injuries. Tight end Jermichael Finley was back Wednesday as a full participant after suffering a concussion against the Bengals.
The Packers’ high-powered passing game seemed to get turned down a notch after Finley went down during the first series. He watched the replay of the hit once, and once only.
Cleared to play after going through concussion tests Tuesday, Finley said he felt like a “little kid” being back at practice.
“It took several days. I took my bye week, rested up a little, came back in Monday and did several tests, went to the hospital and did a couple tests. It’s a long haul,” Finley said. “You have to do several things to get back and you have to respect the league for doing it. It’s much respect from me.”
About that streak against the Lions, though? No, no bulletin board material from Finley, either.
“I feel great, man,” Finley said about the success against Detroit at home. “The past is in the past, though. We’re 1-2 right now, not a good record. The Lions are on a high right now, so we have to bring them down a little and beat them at Lambeau.”
That streak covers games played in Milwaukee, too, when Green Bay used to play there a couple times a year. According to the Packers, the 21-game regular-season home winning streak is three games better than the one the Redskins had against the Lions between 1939 and 2007.
Detroit finally broke through with a win at Washington in Week 3. The Lions’ last victory on the road against the Packers came on Dec. 15, 1991, a 21-17 victory.
But honest to goodness, it’s not an issue, coach Mike McCarthy said, except perhaps for reporters.
“I doubt they care what a team 20 years ago did,” said Packers guard T.J. Lang, a Michigan native. “I know from being over there, the media talks a lot about it. As a player, I doubt they really care. Every year, it’s a new year. You’ve got a new team.”
Notes: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring) was also a full participant at practice Wednesday. CB Casey Hayward, who hasn’t played yet this season, remains out with a hamstring injury. RB James Starks could also miss two weeks following a knee injury at Cincinnati … Finley said he thought the hit from Bengals safety George Iloka that knocked him out was clean, and that he was surprised Iloka had been fined $15,000 by the league. “I didn’t think it was dirty at all,” Finley said. “If I was the safety, I’d do the same thing.”