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Lions' defense could make NFL history with super Sunday

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — The Lions have an opportunity to create NFL history Sunday, but it would take both an incredible performance from the defense and some help from the Green Bay Packers.

If the Lions hold the Packers to 13 rushing yards in Sunday's NFC North-deciding game, they will tie the 2000 Baltimore Ravens for fewest rushing yards allowed in a 16-game season.

On Thanksgiving, the Lions' No. 1 run defense held the Chicago Bears to just 13 rushing yards, so the team isn't ruling out the possibility of matching that mark.

"Anything's possible in this world," defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said.

Of course, the Bears ran the ball just eight times, and Green Bay's Eddie Lacy has at least 13 carries in each of the past five games and had at least 97 yards in four of those, so stopping the Packers rushing attack will be much tougher.

Unless something absurd happens, the Lions should finish the season with the league's top run defense as their 957 yards allowed — 63.8 per game — is 252 yards fewer than the second-place Denver Broncos.

Similarly, it's tough to expect the Lions to finish with the No. 1 overall defense, a title they held for much of the year before the Seattle Seahawks returned to their Super Bowl form from last season.

The Seahawks have allowed just 4,029 yards this season (268.6 per game) compared to the Lions' 4,438 (295.9 per game), and the Detroit coaches and players are more concerned with winning the division Sunday than a statistical milestone.

"It wouldn't mean much," defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. "What would mean more is if we can win our division and have a good playoff run."

"It'd be a great accomplishment," Suh said, "but I wouldn't want to achieve that without a win."

jkatzenstein@detroitnews.com

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