How to aptly describe the Green Bay Packers through the club’s first three outings of the 2013 season?
Perhaps Mike McCarthy, the green and gold’s seventh-year head coach, best illustrated his club’s present state via viewing it through glasses which are both of the half full and half empty variety.
“It’s not OK that we’re 1-2,” noted the 49-year-old Pittsburgh native, per jsonline.com, following his team’s 34-30 defeat at Cincinnati on Sept. 22. “But let’s be realistic. We’ve played three games.”
Indeed, yet, with the calendar officially flipped to October, the two-time NFC North champions enter the weekend two and a half games out of first place and, despite the season’s relative infancy, in a seemingly must-win scenario.
If history is any guide, however, the presence of the Detroit Lions (3-1) atop the Lambeau Field gridiron on Sunday should provide the Packer faithful with a semblance of peace of mind.
Sure, the Lions enter the second quarter of the NFL slate tied with Chicago for the division lead; boast arguably the game’s most dangerous offensive weapon in wide receiver Calvin Johnson; a defensive front capable of wreaking havoc on any down; and have an offensive attack ranked among the league’s best in yards (404.8, sixth) and points (30.5, fourth) per game, respectively.
The Kryptonite for the Lions, in both times good and bad, though, has proven to be that of Wisconsin soil.
From Wayne Fontes to Jim Schwartz, Detroit’s track record of futility in the Dairy State is most notably crystallized in having dropped their past 22 contests against Green Bay on the road. Additionally, Detroit, owners of three winning seasons over the past three decades, have lost 22 of their past 26 matchups against the Packers, and, since the turn of the century, have upended Green Bay only three times in seventeen games after Oct. 1.
Yet, as the NFL has proven time and again, seemingly anything is able to unfold on any given Sunday—including, possibly, a Detroit triumph in Titletown.
So, before the Packers and Lions meet for 170th time on Sunday afternoon, let us take a closer look at the 2013 version of the boys from the Motor City:
122: Points scored by Detroit in the month of September, trailing only the Bears among NFC affiliates.
3: Sacks allowed by the Lions, the fewest among any of the NFL’S 32 clubs.
48.8: Yards per punt average by rookie Sam Martin, ranking fourth in the NFL entering the weekend. Martin, a fifth-round selection (165th overall) by Detroit in the 20123 NFL draft out of Appalachian St., also boasts the second-longest punt of the season as the 23-year-old put forth a 72-yard boot against the Redskins on Sept. 22.
8: Interceptions registered by the Lions, trailing only the nine picks amassed by the Buffalo Bills.
5.2: Yards per rushing attempt given up by Detroit, which is tied with Jacksonville and San Diego for third worst in the league.
69.4: Average quarterback rating of the four signal callers to face Detroit's defense, making the Lions one of only five clubs (joining Indianapolis, New Orleans, Kansas City and Seattle) to hold an average rating of less than 70.0.
20.4: Percentage of opponent's drives resulting in turnover by Detroit's defense, good for fifth in the NFL.