Win Over Lions Puts Division Title Within Reach Next Week

After spotting the Lions a 14-0 lead, the Pack woke up with a strong running game and good third down defense to outscore Detroit 27-6 the rest of the way and make it 22 straight over the Kitties in Wisconsin--and 11 straight wins in the division.

In the process they took a one game lead over the Bears in the NFC North. A win at Soldier Field next Sunday would give the Pack the division title and a home playoff game.

The first half was marred by penalties by the Pack: three off sides calls, a couple of untimely holding penalties in a half dominated by the Lions, who controlled the ball, allowing Green Bay to run only 16 offensive plays. The Pack only trailed 14-10 at intermission, just like last week against the Vikings. The defensive score by Mike Daniels was huge, getting the team within striking distance.

The winning drive in the fourth quarter was a thing of beauty: seven plays, 59 yards, all on the ground, with Alex Green, DuJuan Harris and Ryan Grant all getting involved. I really like the way Harris runs: he's only 5'7", but he runs hard and doesn't go down easily. The Packers ran for 142 yards, after putting up 150 last week against the Purple. The offense is evolving as teams sit back and dare them to run. They've shown the past two weeks that they can run and that will serve them well as teams game plan against them.

Once again, Randall Cobb was the main weapon in the passing game, catching 7 for over 100 yards, including a couple of gorgeous catches in the fourth quarter that extended drives.

For the first time in his last 36 home games, Aaron Rodgers failed to throw a touchdown pass, falling a few games short of Dan Marino's record. But I doubt it will keep him up at night. The team ground out a win on a night the offense wasn't really in synch and has won seven of eight, with re-enforcements set to return to the lineup. Hopefully we'll see Matthews and Woodson return to the defense next week, as well as Lang and Nelson on the offense.

Finally, hats off to Mason Crosby, who missed a 53 yarder (a sack on third down made it just beyond the dreaded 50 yard mark which spells trouble for #2), but he made a 49 yarder in the second quarter and a 41 yarder in the fourth and seems to have steadied himself just in the nick of time.

And so we move on to Bears week, where we'll monitor the health of Jay Cutler, who left the Vikings game late with a neck injury. Early reports say it doesn't appear serous, but the Bears are in trouble, losers of two straight and their defense is fading, clearly missing Brian Urlacher and Tim Jennings.

A win on Sunday will give the Pack the North title. Believe it or not, a first round bye would also be within reach, since the 49ers play at New England and Seattle next two weeks. With a division title on the line, I invite you to join me at the Park Tavern for the big game at noon on Sunday. Bring an unopened toy or a donation for Toys for Tots and you'll have a chance at a great Packers prize.

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