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Lions vs. Packers preview: Backups need to step up

Detroit News staff

The Detroit News breaks down Sunday's Lions-Packers game at Lambeau Field (1 p.m., Fox/WJR).

Aaron Rodgers is battling calf and hamstring injuries as the Packers head into Week 15.

Packers to watch

Aaron Rodgers, QB: Through two games, he hasn’t put up the eye-popping numbers many are used to. Rodgers has completed 57.1 percent of his passes (below his 64.9 career mark) for 412 yards, three TDs and one INT. He’s also rushed for two scores, but is coming off a three-fumble performance (one lost) against the Vikings.

Jordy Nelson, WR: Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target is back after missing 2015 with a torn ACL, and seemingly has shown no signs of rust. Nelson has fit right back into the offense and leads the team in receiving yards (105) and TDs (two). He’s also tied with a team-high 11 receptions.

Clay Matthews, LB: The do-it-all defensive star has the ability to alter drives. While he’s recorded six tackles, he has a sack in each game. Matthews also has a knack for disrupting plays, and the Lions offensive line will have its hands full trying to keep him out the backfield.

Intangibles

Time to feast: Fantasy players might want to look hard at Aaron Rodgers. He seems to always play well against the Lions, but this week could be special for him. The Lions have injuries at the linebacker position and currently rank 27th in opponent completion percentage (70.0) and passer rating (112.7).

Detroit News predictions: Lions vs. Packers

Backups are in: Because of the injury to Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick will get most of the carries against the Packers. Zach Zenner might also be involved for the first time this season.

Thehands team: Lions receivers were criticized for some dropped passes against the Titans. The team needs better efforts from Golden Tate and the usually sure-handed Anquan Boldin. On a positive note, TE Eric Ebron seems to be emerging as a big-time receiver threat.

Carrying the load: After their loss to Minnesota, the Packers expressed some concern about their offense. One area where there isn’t concern is at running back because of the play of Eddie Lacy. He has shed some weight and has gained a total of 111 yards on 26 carries, for an average of 4.3 per carry.

Facts and figures

■ The Packers are 58-25-4 versus the Lions at home.

■ The Lions snapped a 24-game losing streak at Lambeau Field with last year’s 18-16 victory. Detroit hasn’t won in Green Bay in consecutive seasons since 1990-91.

■ Lions rookie DE Kerry Hyder has three sacks in two games.

■ Lions QB Matthew Stafford needs 489 yards to pass Dan Marino (27,064) for most passing yards by a player in his first 100 games. Sunday will be Stafford’s 96th game.

■ Packers WR Jeff Janis, from Saginaw Valley State, is not expected to play because of a broken hand. The team hopes he will be ready next week.