Lions set for critical division clash at Green BayReuters | Updated: 12-10-2019 23:35 IST | Created: 12-10-2019 23:31 IST
With all four teams entering Week 6 with winning records, the NFC North has emerged as arguably the best division in the NFL. On Monday night at Lambeau Field, the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions will battle to determine the best team in the best division.
The Packers are 4-1 under first-year coach Matt LaFleur, including a 34-24 upset over the Dallas Cowboys last week. The other five rookie coaches have a combined record of 4-19-1. "That's something almost on a daily basis that comes up that you're like, 'Oh, OK,'" LaFleur said. "For us and for myself, specifically, I think every week we have to hit that reset button. You look at it as 0-0. That's the mentality that we have each and every week.
"The goal and I know it's probably boring to you guys, but the goal is to go 1-0 each and every week." While LaFleur has the Packers pointed in the right direction after back-to-back losing seasons, the Lions are on the upswing under second-year coach Matt Patricia. Detroit is 2-1-1 after going 6-10 last season. Its lone loss came in Week 4, a 34-30 defeat to powerful Kansas City after the Chiefs rallied late for the winning touchdown.
"During the bye week, we had a chance to look at all of our games," Patricia said. "From the overall picture, we're just trying to improve, we're trying to get better. We know there's a lot of situations in the first four games that we can improve on. ... "We've got a lot to do here, certainly with Aaron Rodgers and all the talent they have on offense."
In years past, Rodgers vs. Matthew Stafford would have been must-see quarterbacking. Neither team is leaning as much on its quarterback, though. In last week's victory over Dallas, it was running back Aaron Jones, not Rodgers, who accounted for all four of the team's touchdowns. Detroit, meanwhile, ranks seventh in the league in run percentage (45 percent) under first-year offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
"He's really got a great calmness about him as a teacher, and I think he's someone that sees the game very similar to the way that I see it and how to approach it week in and week out and what we need to do to try to win," Patricia said. The Lions are coming off their bye and are a lot healthier than they were against Kansas City when Slay, receiver Danny Amendola, and defensive tackle Mike Daniels were among the inactives. Of that group, only Daniels has not practiced this week.
The Packers will again be without star receiver Davante Adams (turf toe) for the second straight week. In his absence against the Cowboys, Green Bay's receivers caught only four of 12 targeted passes. "The fact of the matter is I'm not playing through anything when it comes to this," Adams said. "It's not a toughness thing. I've shown you guys, I've shown the world what being tough looks like on the football field. I'm not interested in winning any Medal of Honor awards. I'm going to get back when it's healed and it's ready to go. I'm going to listen to my body and listen to my doctors."
Rodgers was also on the injury report Thursday for the first time this season, listed as limited with a knee injury, but the issue is not believed to be significant. --Field Level Media