Off to another winless start, the Lions face long odds as they try to end a 22-game road losing streak and a 19-game skid in Wisconsin on Sunday.
The Packers (2-1) have also won nine consecutive meetings overall with Detroit, which hasn’t won at Lambeau Field since a 21-17 victory Dec. 15, 1991.
The Lions’ road skid to Green Bay, which includes three defeats in Milwaukee and a playoff loss in 1994, has featured an average margin of defeat of more than 14 points, and Detroit lost 26-0 at Lambeau last Oct. 18.
That’s good news for the Packers, who have a short week to recover from a disappointing 20-17 loss Monday night at Chicago. After Green Bay receiver James Jones(notes) fumbled with 2:27 remaining, the Bears drove for the winning field goal.
The Packers outgained Chicago 379-276, but they allowed a punt-return touchdown and committed a franchise-record 18 penalties totaling 152 yards. They were flagged for an NFL-high 118 penalties last year.
“We’ll take a look at the film, but (18) penalties, that doesn’t cut it,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “You can’t play football like that, so we need to evaluate that and apply that to our preparation for Detroit.”
Safety Nick Collins(notes) was called for one key penalty, a roughing the passer call that helped the Bears tie the game. The two-time Pro Bowler may have created an additional problem for Green Bay after the game by confronting a fan - an incident the NFL is investigating.
Pegged as a possible Super Bowl favorite entering the season, the Packers may need to improve their running game along with their discipline.
After starting running back Ryan Grant(notes) was lost for the season with an ankle injury in Week 1, Green Bay has been held under 100 rushing yards in back-to-back games, totaling 63 against the Bears.
Aaron Rodgers(notes) is certainly doing his best to compensate. He was 34 of 45 for 316 yards and a touchdown Monday, adding a fourth-quarter rushing TD that put the Packers ahead. He also threw a touchdown to emerging tight end Jermichael Finley(notes) that was called back for a holding penalty.
“I thought our quarterback play was definitely there to have a lot more point production than we came out of that game, and really the failure was the penalties,” McCarthy said.
The Lions have done little to slow down Rodgers, who has thrown for more than 300 yards in each of his four starts against Detroit with 11 touchdowns and one interception.
Detroit (0-3) hasn’t shown much progress defensively in 2010. The Lions rank 30th in the league in total defense and last against the run.
They intercepted Brett Favre(notes) twice last Sunday at Minnesota but couldn’t score in the second half of a 24-10 loss - their 22nd consecutive road defeat, two shy of their own NFL record set from 2001-03.
“With the stuff that’s happened in the past, we have to be as close to perfect as we can be,” guard Rob Sims(notes) said. “I think we can play with anyone. We just have to get a win to get some good feelings back.”
That may be difficult if two key playmakers remain out Sunday. Quarterback Matthew Stafford(notes) will miss his third consecutive game with a shoulder injury, and rookie running back Jahvid Best(notes) may join him on the sidelines.
Best, who had 268 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns in his first two games, left last weekend’s loss with a toe injury. His potential absence may open the door for Kevin Smith(notes) to return from a torn ACL.
Shaun Hill(notes) will continue to start in place of Stafford, but he has thrown five interceptions along with three touchdowns. Second-year Lions coach Jim Schwartz is still hopeful his young team is primed for a turnaround.
“Our record doesn’t indicate it, but I think we have a lot of pieces in place to be a good football team,” Schwartz said. “We had a chance to control each of those three games and we failed to do that.”
The Lions thought they had a Week 1 win at Chicago, but Calvin Johnson’s(notes) apparent touchdown catch from Hill in the final minute was ruled incomplete. A late rally also came up short in a 35-32 loss to Philadelphia on Sept. 19.