Nfc Wild-card Game: Packers At Lions

January 08, 1994|By Ken Murray

Time: Today, 4 p.m.

Site: Silverdome, Pontiac, Mich.

TV: Channels 13, 7

Radio: WBAL (1090 AM)

Line: Lions by 1 1/2

Records: Packers 9-7; Lions 10-6 (NFC Central champions)

Last week: The Lions beat the Packers, 30-20, at the Silverdome to win the NFC Central title and get home field for the wild-card round. Detroit RB Eric Lynch -- Barry Sanders' replacement -- ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns, and QB Erik Kramer passed for 182 yards. Packers QB Brett Favre threw four interceptions, running his season total to a league-high 24. Lions scored two touchdowns in fourth quarter to erase Packers lead.

Last meeting: Last week.

The series: Packers lead the series, 64-56-7, after season split.

On the sidelines: In his second season, Mike Holmgren has led the Packers to the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. He has a career 18-14 record, including 3-1 against the Lions. Wayne Fontes (43-44 career mark) has led the Lions to two division titles in five seasons. He is 7-5 against the Packers.

1 What the Packers have to do to win: Avoid the turnover binge that undermined them in last week's game. They had five in all, and Favre was sacked twice. They also must do a better job covering kicks on special teams. Detroit's Mel Gray totaled 149 return yards last week. And they need to restore some clout on defense, where they've lost five inside linebackers to season-ending injuries so far and signed stopgap Mike Merriweather this week.

What the Lions have to do to win: With or without Sanders -- who practiced Wednesday for the first time since injuring his left knee on Thanksgiving -- they must take advantage of the depleted middle of Green Bay's defense. The Lions need another smooth performance from Kramer and the passing game.

Injury report: Packers: TE Jackie Harris (knee), LB George Koonce (shoulder-injured reserve), LB Keo Coleman (ankle-injured reserve) are out. LB Bryce Paup (calf) is doubtful. Lions: S Bennie Blades (ankle) is out. CB Ray Crockett (shoulder), NT Lawrence Pete (hip), RB Barry Sanders (knee) are doubtful. RB Derrick Moore (rib), NT Mack Travis (hamstring), WR Aubrey Matthews (flu) are questionable. RB Eric Lynch (hamstring) is probable.

Outlook: Since dumping offensive coordinator Dan Henning and re-installing Kramer at QB on Dec. 6, the Lions have won three of four games to turn around a midseason slide. The Lions had given up 42 sacks in their first 12 games, but only four in the last four -- and none in the last two. With Gray (24.6 yard average in KOR), PK Jason Hanson (34 of 43 FG attempts), and P Jim Arnold (44.8 per punt), they have the clear edge on special teams. Plus, they're 5-0 at home in the postseason. The Packers don't have nearly that much momentum, with Favre in a funk and half the defense in sick bay.

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