Lions vs. Packers: Lambeau remains pit of despair

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Josh Katzenstein of The Detroit News breaks down Sunday's Lions-Packers game at Lambeau Field (1 p.m., FOX/97.1).

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has thrown 22 touchdowns and five interceptions in 12 games against the Lions.

Packers to watch

Aaron Rodgers, QB: Rodgers is a personal Lion-killer. He has a passer rating of 111.0 with 22 touchdowns and five interceptions in 12 games against the Lions. And, of course, has never lost at home to the Lions.

James Starks, RB: A backup for the last six years, he has taken over the starting job from Eddie Lacy, who has struggled. Starks has 334 yards rushing on 78 carries. Lacy has 308 yards on 83 carries in eight games. Lacy also has a  fumble in three consecutive games.

James Jones, WR: Jones has a touchdown catch in all four Packers home games this season, and had an 83-yard TD reception in his last home game with the Packers against the Lions on Oct. 6, 2013.

Intangibles

Sad streak: Lions have lost 24 straight games to Packers in Wisconsin, last beating Green Bay on road, 21-17, on Dec. 15, 1991.

Under new management: Lions playing first game since organization fired team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew following a 1-7 start. Coach Jim Caldwell kept his job, but knows team needs a strong second half of season or he will probably be gone. Another display like the 45-10 loss to Kansas City will not sit well.

Ziggy’s excellence: Lost amid the misery of the 1-7 start has been the play of defensive end Ziggy Ansah, who is having an all-pro season. Ansah has five sacks, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in his past five games. Ansah is first in the NFC with seven sacks.

Abdullah’s plight: Lions have worst-ranked rushing offense (69.6 yards per game). Joique Bell is expected to get a lot of work against below-average Packers defense. Amir Abdullah expressed frustration over lack of playing time, but the rookie must stop fumbling to gain coaches’ confidence.

Slow receivers: According to a study by ESPN, the Packers top receivers — Davante Adams, Randall Cobb, James Jones and tight end Richard Rodgers — averaged 4.65 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, the slowest in the NFL.


Facts and figures

*Packers LB Julius Peppers has 13 sacks and seven forced fumbles in 14 career games against Lions. In the defensive backfield, rookie CB Damarious Randall leads team with 10 pass deflections.

*Packers have won last six NFC North games but are coming off three consecutive sub-par performances. They barely held off San Diego three weeks ago and then suffered losses to Denver and Carolina.

*WR Calvin Johnson has 14 TD catches in 14 career games against Packers and six 100-yard games.

*Packers, ranked 25th in total offense, have not finished season lower than 19th since 1993. Detroit’s defense has allowed league-worst 30.6 points per game.

*At least they are consistent. The Lions are also 1-7 against the point spread.