GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Detroit Lions are so close to ending a two-decade stretch without a division title.The Green Bay Packers h

in Steckbrief 04.05.2019 02:36
von carrie201918 • 685 Beiträge

GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Detroit Lions are so close to ending a two-decade stretch without a division title.The Green Bay Packers have been so good that its a surprise when they dont win the NFC North.Upstarts vs. standard-bearers. Tackle Ndamukong Suh and one of the leagues top defences against quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the potent Packers offence. The winner of Sundays showdown between Detroit and Green Bay at Lambeau Field takes the NFC North championship and a first-round bye in the playoffs.Both teams (11-4) are already guaranteed post-season berths. But the loser gets relegated to a road game next week as a wild card.The winner gets some needed rest and a guaranteed home game in two weeks. Thats considered a huge advantage in the post-season.Yeah, theres a lot on the line. Its an opportunity to win our fourth straight division title, which would be pretty sweet. We get a chance for a bye, which would be great to get some rest for all of us, Rodgers said. A home playoff game is the most important thing; thats what we play for every year.According to the Packers, this will be the first time that teams each with 11 wins will play in a regular-season finale to determine a division champion since Dallas and the New York Giants met in 1993. The Cowboys won that game — and went on to win the Super Bowl.That year is also the last time Detroit won a division title. This often-forlorn franchise has been to the post-season just once since 2000, a 45-28 loss to New Orleans in the wild-card round in the 2011 campaign.One of the things that we talk to them about is the fact that this doesnt happen very often, Lions coach Jim Caldwell said when asked Sundays game will mean to his players.And hes just talking about the playoffs.If Detroit wins the North, it would have earned the title by snapping a 23-game losing streak against Green Bay in Wisconsin. The last time the Lions left the state happy was a 21-17 victory at Lambeau on Dec. 15, 1991.Thats so long ago that Hall of Famer Barry Sanders was still Detroits running back, gaining 85 yards. So forgive the Lions if theyre more pumped up than usual this weekend.The guys have fought some real battles and have done a tremendous job and weve got a great opportunity ahead of us, Caldwell said. And do you expect them to be a little off the ground here in the next couple of days in intensity and focus? Absolutely, because obviously were playing a great team in a historic place.Some key areas to watch on Sunday:AARONS HEALTH: The Packers practiced Tuesday, a typical day off, to get Christmas off on Thursday. Rodgers was hoping the late-week rest would help him get over a sore left calf that he strained last week against Tampa, not to mention a lingering head cold.Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the league in extending plays, and his mobility could come in handy, especially against Detroits smothering defence. Both Rodgers and coach Mike McCarthy were confident the Pro Bowl quarterback would be able to run the full game plan against Detroit.PICKY LIONS: Rodgers has been especially successful at Lambeau, where he has thrown 396 times and 34 straight touchdown passes without an interception — both NFL records. Rodgers last interception at Lambeau came Dec. 2, 2012.An improved Detroit secondary features safety Glover Quin, who leads the league with seven picks. Fellow safety James Ihedigbo has four interceptions, and the Lions have had 12 straight games with a pick.One impressive streak is going to end.SITTING OUT: Lions centre Dominic Raiola lost his appeal of a one-game suspension for stepping on Chicago Bears defensive tackle Ego Ferguson last week, meaning hell have to sit out Sundays game.Rookie Travis Swanson is next on the depth chart at centre. He might be matched up against defensive lineman Mike Daniels, one of the keys to the Packers improved play of late against the rush.RUNNING MEN: Welcome back, Reggie Bush. The veteran, who has been slowed by injuries this season, had seven carries for 54 yards and a touchdown last week against the Bears, while also catching six passes for 44 yards.The Packers running game has improved in the second half of the season following a sluggish start, which included a 76-yard outing in the Week 3 loss at Detroit. Eddie Lacy, who is over the 1,000-yard mark for the second straight season, and James Starks will have to earn yards against the Lions stout run defence.CLAY-MAKER: Packers linebacker Clay Matthews is on a pass-rushing roll with 5 1/2 sacks in his last three games to get to 10 on the season.The one thing you look for more important than the sacks is the pressure thats being generated, and I felt myself around the quarterback a lot these last several games, Matthews said.Green Bay has 10 sacks overall in its last two games.___AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL___Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP T. J. Carrie Jersey . He was signed to help with depth to the receiving corps because of the loss of Shamawd Chambers to the 6-game injured list. Carlos Hyde Browns Jersey . The Rays hope to stay alive for the postseason and salvage the finale of this series Sunday at Rogers Centre, where they dropped a 7-2 decision Saturday. Chris Archer lasted 2 1/3 innings in the no-decision, charged with a run and five hits, and Alex Torres suffered the loss in relief. http://www.footballbrownsnflprostore.com...ite-Jersey/.com) - Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh called Joe Flacco the NFLs best quarterback last week. Jarvis Landry Browns Jersey . Traditional contenders Brazil, Greece and Turkey drew the other three spots to complete the 24-team field for this summers tournament in Spain, basketball governing body FIBA announced Saturday at its meeting in Barcelona. Darren Fells Jersey . Simona Halep of Romania claimed the fifth title of her career by beating Samantha Stosur of Australia 7-6 (1), 6-2 in the womens final. After trading sets, Gasquet trailed 4-3 in the decider but broke back to 4-4 in a game that went to seven deuces with Kukushkin constantly failing on his forehand shots.HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. -- Luke Donald believes hes got the right game on the right course -- and is ready to make up for so many near-misses at the RBC Heritage. Donald had an eagle and six birdies to shoot 66 on Saturday and take a two-stroke lead over John Huh after three rounds at Harbour Town Golf Links. The Englishman has done just about everything on Harbour Town the past five times hes played -- except win. He fell in a playoff to Brandt Snedeker here in 2011, part of a run of four top-3 finishes since at the tricky, Pete Dye design. Now, hell carry the lead into the final day and is ready to make it stand up on Sunday. "If I can go out as relaxed and confident as I was today tomorrow," he said. "If I can control the trajectory (of shots) as well as I did today, then hopefully Ill be sitting here as the winner." It has been a long time since Donald has been able to say that. Once the worlds top-ranked golfer, Donald has changed coaches and the transition back to the top has not come as quickly as planned. The last of his five PGA Tour wins came in 2012, his best showing this year was a tie for fourth at the Valspar Championship last month and he was quickly bounced at the Masters after shooting 79-70. Donald acknowledged he has grown anxious waiting to win again. "I was the former world No. 1 and was there for a long time and obviously slipped down," said Donald, currently 29th. "But I havent felt my game had gotten that much worse." Certainly not at Harbour Town. Donalds round got started with a 25-footer for eagle on the par-5 second hold. He added four more on the next six holes. Donald then tied leader Nicholas Thompson with a birdie on the 14th before stretching his lead with a final one by rolling in a 15-foot putt on the par-3 17th. Donald nearly closed with a flourish when his approach on the closing, lighthouse hole nearly landed in the cup on the fly before bouncing to the edge and settling for par. Donalds not the longest hitter on tour and said some layouts are dragons he cant slay. "But this one I feel like I can plot my way around with low wedges," he said. "If you miss greens, you need to be pretty good at the short game. Certainly a course that favours my style of play." Huh shot a 68 and was at 6 under. Major champions Charl Schwartzel (68) and Jim Furyk (71), Nicholas Thompson (68) and Ben Martin (71) were tied for third at 5 under.dddddddddddd Matt Kuchar, ranked sixth in the world, shot 70 as part of a group of five golfers another shot back at 4 under. Donalds performance capped a long day at soggy Harbour Town, where 65 golfers had to finish the second round before the third could begin with K.J. Choi, Furyk and Ben Martin tied for the lead. But by midafternoon, the moisture had softened things and competitors were treated to slick greens easily accepting approach shots. At times, it looked more like a local club shootout than a PGA Tour stop. Thompson, whose sister Lexi won her first LPGA Tour major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship earlier this month, got things going with five birdies on the front nine to lead at 7 under. But bogeys at the 16th and 18th holes dropped him back into the group at 208. Schwartzel, the 2011 Masters champion, was among those with an early start and jumped into the chase with a third-round 68 to move to 5 under. He said the course held up well despite more than 2 1/2 inches of rain that fell here Friday. Schwartzel has not won on the PGA Tour since his surprising run to the green jacket, when he birdied the final four holes. "I think if I can continue the ball striking and giving myself chances, I can make a few (birdies) tomorrow and give it a shot," he said. Furyk, the 2010 winner at Harbour Town, made birdie on his second hole to take the lead at 6 under. He failed to build on that hot start, but held on to stay in the hunt. The craziest day might have belonged to Kuchar, the highest-ranked player competing at Harbour Town after the seasons first major. He followed his fifth-place showing at the Masters last week with a strong bogey-free 66 on Thursday to take the lead. Things went the other way quickly Friday, with Kuchar posting a pair of double bogeys before the rains came and suspended play. Kuchar struggled some more with a bogey on the eighth hole once he restarted Saturday. Then he made four birdies on his back nine to climb back in it. Kuchar has finished fifth or better in his past three events and has a chance to do it again at Harbour Town. "To be playing some good golf and be in contention is fun," he said. "Im excited to have my fourth shot at trying to take a title." 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