Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DAVE DYE  |  Last updated 10/4/13
When the Detroit Lions finally start to win some games, history lessons become necessary. It's the last time since this, the last time since that. A victory Sunday at Green Bay would produce some more historical references, not to mention raise the bar a little higher for this team and start to fill up the bandwagon. Here are five storylines to follow: 1. DIVISION STANDINGS By late Sunday afternoon, assuming the game doesn't end in a tie, the Lions will be either two games ahead of the Packers in the NFC North - or tied with them. That's a big difference even this early in the season. "It would really put us in a good place," Detroit offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "We're in a good place now, but it would certainly solidify that place somewhat. Winning there would be a huge lift for our team." The Packers had an unusually early bye week to try to regroup after blowing a 16-point, second-half lead at Cincinnati to fall to 1-2 on the season. Green Bay has been outscored 39-7 in the fourth quarter, leading to suggestions that this could be the year the Cheese Heads regress. "Obviously, if somebodys down, we definitely dont want to be the team that lets them up," Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said. "We want to make sure we go in there and take care of business and not be the reason that the Green Bay Packers, if theyre down, turn around and have a miraculous season." 2. LIONS AT LAMBEAU It's hard to believe that a Detroit Lion actually said this about Lambeau Field: Its one of my favorite places to play. You walk in there and you feel all the history behind that place, including all the great games and players that have played there." Those were the words of quarterback Matthew Stafford. That history he's feeling includes victory after victory against his franchise although he's only played in the last two. Still, it's Stafford's job to try to end this 22-game road losing streak against the Packers. Detroit hasn't won there since 1991. But they ended the 21-game streak at Washington two weeks ago, so why not Green Bay, too? Linehan was part of Minnesota's staff when the Vikings went into Lambeau and won a playoff game in January 2005. "It can be done," said Linehan. The Lions' last three losses at Green Bay have come by a combined total of 13 points (seven last year, four in 2011 and two in 2010). "Streaks are meant to be broken," Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers said. "But it would be nice to not let that happen when I'm the quarterback." 3. DIVISION RIVALS The Lions haven't defeated all three of their division rivals - Green Bay, Chicago and Minnesota - in the same season since 1999. That's right, at least one of the three has swept the Lions in the season series for the last 13 years. Detroit lost both games to all three teams in 2012; to Green Bay in 2011; to Chicago in 2010; to all three in 2009 and 2008; to Green Bay in 2007; to all three in 2006; to Chicago and Minnesota in 2005; to Green Bay and Minnesota in 2004; to Minnesota in 2003; to Green Bay and Minnesota in 2002; to Chicago and Green Bay in 2001; and to Minnesota in 2000. Now, they have a chance to knock downall three in the first five weeks of the season. Detroit handled Minnesota, 34-24, in the opening game and then held off Chicago, 40-32, last Sunday. But both of those were at home. This isthe one that could really make a statement - on theroad against the teamthat has been, and is supposed to be, the bestin the division. 4. THIRD-DOWN D Detroithas beengetting off the field on third down like a championship-caliber defense. That's hard to believe if you've watched this defense over the years, but it's true. They lead the NFL in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert only 21.3 percent of the time (10-of-47). "The rate were going at now is pretty tough to sustain," Lions coach Jim Schwartz conceded. That's because over the last decade in the NFL, the best third-down rate for a season was 27.7 percent by Tennessee's defense in 2003 when Schwartz was the Titans' defensive coordinator. Denver led the league last year at 30.6 percent. "Weve got a good third-down scheme," said Lions safety Glover Quin. "Our D-line gives us an advantage because we dont have to blitz a lot to get pressure on the quarterback. "When you can just rush your four D-linemen and drop a lot of guys into coverage, you have more guys to stop the pass and that tends to help you out." 5. STELLAR SAFETY DUO The Lions remain suspect at cornerback, even more so if Chris Houston doesn't play, but they have gone from one of the worst safety duos in the league to one of the best. The addition of Quin, a free agent from Houston, has completely changed the look of the secondary. He's a savvy veteran who is versatile and durable. What's more, often-injured Louis Delmas has played all but four defensive snaps so far. "I think its their best safety combination since we have been playing them," said Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy, who is 13-1 against Detroit, including 7-1 against Schwartz. "Glover Quin has been a really good addition for them. Thats a good combination of pure safeties back there." Rodgers added of Delmas: "When he is in there, he definitely makes a big impact. Hes an athletic, intelligent safety that can cover ground and make big plays on the ball." Quin and Delmas are going to have to be better than ever this week because when Rodgers gets time, he will pick apart the Lions' cornerbacks. INJURY REPORT Houston, the team's No. 1 cornerback, suffered a hamstring injury late in Sunday's game that could keep him out this week. If so, the Lions will have to rely more heavily on rookie Darius Slay and perhaps second-year pros Bill Bentley and Jonte Green. Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews also has been hampered this week by a hamstring injury. PICK: GREEN BAY - 7 (Dye's season prediction record: 4-0)
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