The Green Bay Packers (14-1) and Detroit Lions (10-5) face off in Week 17 of the NFL season Sunday.
When: 12:00 CST, Sunday, January 1, 2012.
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI.
TV: FOX; Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick with the call, Laura Okmin on the sidelines.
Radio: 620 AM WTMJ (Milwaukee); Packers Radio Network; NFL Sunday Drive.
Series: Packers lead, 92-65-7 (Packers won last regular season game, 27-17, on Nov. 24, 2011 at Ford Field.)
Five things to watch
1. Money to be made
Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Friday that he wants all three quarterbacks to play on Sunday, but the middle man in the group has a golden opportunity to bump up his price tag this summer. Matt Flynn, the Packers backup quarterback and a free agent after the season, will likely see the majority of the snaps against the Lions. Another solid performance on the big stage may propel a quarterback-needy team to give Flynn the opportunity to start for their franchise—and the money that goes with it—next season.
2. Who needs receivers?
The Packers offense may be one of the most receiver-dependent outfits in the NFL, but they’ll be down two at that position on Sunday. Both Greg Jennings (knee) and Randall Cobb (groin) were ruled out this week by McCarthy. Their absence should mean an increase in snaps for the Packers’ four tight ends, and more specifically, rookies D.J. Williams and Ryan Taylor. Expect the two first-year players to log career highs in snaps and receptions on Sunday.
3. Clifton’s return
Packers left tackle Chad Clifton has played in some big games during his career, but Sunday’s tilt with the Lions might rank near the top. While the game alone has little overall meaning, how Clifton performs may influence whether or not he can play again in the NFL. The Packers get one chance to see him live before the playoffs begin, and if they don’t like what they see from him, McCarthy may have to go with with Marshall Newhouse as his starting left tackle in the postseason. It wouldn’t be overly surprising if Clifton wasn’t the same guy he was before the torn hamstring, as he’s 35 years old and in his 12th season in the NFL. A dud of a performance or set back with the injury could signal the end of Clifton’s NFL career.