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Air & Ground matchup of Week 3
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX) -- One of the NFL's longest-running rivalries renews when the Lions host the Packers. The rivalry has been one-sided recently: The Packers have won five of the last six matchups, and gone 22-4 against the Lions dating back to the 2001 season. All time, the Packers hold a 96-66-7 edge.
After a miserable Week 1 performance against the Seattle Seahawks, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was his more familiar self in a 31-24 win over the New York Jets in Week 2. His 346 yards passing last week helped him move past Pro Football Hall of Famer Bart Starr for second on the team's all-time passing yardage list (24,732 yards to 24,718). Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford had an opposite experience, thriving in a Week 1 win over the New York Giants but struggling in a Week 2 defeat at the hands of the Carolina Panthers. To alter the Lions' fortunes against the Packers, Stafford will have to perform better than he has recently against Green Bay. Stafford is 1-6 against the Packers, has thrown two or more touchdowns in just two of those seven games and two or more interceptions in five of those seven games.
An important cog in both the Lions' and Packers' offensive machines that needs to start functioning is the running game. Joique Bell and Reggie Bush have combined to rush for 128 yards and a touchdown this season. Eddie Lacy, meanwhile, has just 77 yards rushing this season. In his last game against the Packers, Bush had 182 yards from scrimmage (117 rushing). Lacy ran for 535 yards in six games against NFC North teams last year, and has a rushing touchdown in four of his last five divisional games.
Rodgers is 10-1 in games that he has started against the Lions. That one loss? It came in a 2010 matchup at Ford Field, in which Rodgers was forced to leave in the first half with a concussion and the Packers fell, 7-3. Excluding that 2010 game, Rodgers is 9-0 with 19 touchdowns and four interceptions in his last nine starts against the Lions.
Great Moments in Air & Ground History
Packers 45, Lions 41 (Week 17 of 2011 season) -- In the season finale at Lambeau Field, Stafford and Matt Flynn produced a thrilling display of offense that a rivalry that dates back to 1930 and includes 169 all-time matchups had never before seen. Flynn was starting in place of Aaron Rodgers, who was sitting this game out since Green Bay had already clinched home-field advantage in the playoffs. The Lions were also playoff-bound, the team's first postseason appearance in more than a decade. Flynn had his finest career performance, finishing the game with 480 yards passing and six touchdowns, the final score provided the game-winner at the end of the fourth quarter. Not to be totally outdone, it was Stafford who went into the record book. His 520 yards passing was good for sixth all time, 34 yards behind Norm Van Brocklin's mark that has amazingly stood for 63 years.
Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.