By Chris Morgan

So far, this season for the Detroit Lions has been as good as most could have hoped for. At this point, they are already in the postseason for the first time in a few years, and they have won 11 games for the first time in many a moon. Their defense is great, their offense has talent, and they have managed to win some close games this season under new head coach Jim Caldwell. However, they have the chance to take things to a whole new level now. If they win their season finale, they will have 12 wins, take the NFC North title, and earn a first-round bye. All they need to do is win on the road against the Green Bay Packers.

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There’s only one real issue here, and that’s the fact the Lions haven’t won at Lambeau Field in over 20 years. Now, this doesn’t mean anything in and of itself. If the Packers weren’t good, then winning at Lambeau would not feel so daunting, even as a festive road environment. The problem is that the Packers are good. In fact, they are really good, and perhaps the best team in the NFL. Both the Lions and the Packers are 11-4, but Green Bay is undefeated at home, and their point differential is plus-128 to Detroit’s plus-49.

When these teams met earlier, the Lions won by a score of 19-7. They shut down Green Bay’s excellent offense, one of the first signs this defense was real. Of course, back then the Lions had Stephen Tulloch and Nick Fairley and some others. On the other hand, the Lions had Nate Freese at kicker, so that’s a position where the Lions have improved. Still, this is a real battle of strength against strength. The Lions have perhaps the best defense in the NFL. The Packers have perhaps the best offense. Aaron Rodgers is probably the best quarterback in the league, and he could win the MVP. His last two games have been a little less impressive than usual, and the Buffalo Bills managed to shut him down completely. However, that was on the road. Eddie Lacy is a really good running back. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are excellent wide receivers.

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If the Lions want to win this game, they will need to shut down Rodgers and company again. It won’t be easy, though. This is far from a given, especially without the help of crowd noise. As such, Detroit may need to score more than 19 points this time, and their offense has not taken off since these two teams first matched up, as opposed to the Packers offense. Green Bay’s defense isn’t great, but they have some talent, enough to give Detroit some hassles. Matthew Stafford is coming off an awful game, but Joique Bell and Reggie Bush ran well, and Calvin Johnson had a good game. If Stafford can curtail the turnovers, they will have a shot. Also, Matt Prater may be a better kicker than Nate Freese, but kicking in a place like Green Bay this time of years can be a tricky predicament.

The Lions have a huge opportunity here, but it is no easy task. If they lose again at Lambeau, it shouldn’t be considered a surprise or a disappointment. They will still be in the postseason. However, if they do pull the upset, we will be looking at a Detroit Lions season the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades.

For more Lions news and updates, visit Lions Central.

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Chris Morgan has been a diehard Detroit Lions fan through the good (Barry Sanders) and the bad (Matt Millen) and that love has led him to take jobs writing about sports, including as a fantasy sports “expert.” His work can be found on Examiner.com. .