Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 12/8/12

When the schedule first came out and this game was announced as one of week fourteen’s prime-time matchups, it instantly got circled as one that would have huge implications in the NFC North. Those circles have since been erased. The Detroit Lions are undoubtedly one of the NFL’s biggest disappointments in 2012, and at 4-8, staying out of the cellar is the only divisional implication remaining. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers are in the thick of a heated divisional race against Chicago.  The Packers will look to improve to 9-4 and gain the division lead over the Bears.  A win on Sunday night at Lambeau Field combined with a Bears loss to the Vikings would put the Packers one game clear of Chicago. The story of Detroit’s season has been heartbreaking.  The Lions have led three straight games at the two-minute warning and have successfully found a way to lose all three.  Someone in Detroit has to step up and lead this team to wins late in games, and the two best candidates seem clear to me. First and foremost comes Matthew Stafford.  He’s the quarterback and the captain, and his play is what makes the Lions go.  He can make all the throws and has all the tools to be truly great in this league, but I often question his leadership.  He needs to be more vocal when leading this team in the future. The other leader is Calvin Johnson.  Megatron has always been a guy who lets his play do the talking, and I respect that.  He’s the best wideout in the game right now, and his play speaks louder than his words ever could.  He needs to continue going about his business, but I would also like to see him motivate his teammates more often. This leaves the defensive side of the ball open for the taking.  Who will emerge for Detroit as the heart of the defense?  I’d like to say Ndamukong Suh, but I’m not sure he has Can Ndamukong Suh lead the Lions’ defense? the respect of his team.  It was reported that an unidentified Lion spoke out against Suh, but until that person takes claim to those remarks, I’m not sure I buy it. So if not Suh, then who will it be?  Stephen Tulloch?  Chris Houston?  Louis Delmas? It doesn’t matter who it is, it only matters that these Lions players begin to take more ownership of this team as a whole, and sometimes that begins with one man. As the end of the season plays out for the Lions, we’ll begin to see the character of this team and its coaches.  Head coach Jim Schwartz has taken some heat for this poor season, and he deserves it.  This squad is much too talented to be 4-8 and already out of playoff contention. But the Lions still have something to play for. They have been owned by the Packers in the last ten years and have no love lost for one another.  They have guys on their roster and on their coaching staff that have something yet to prove this season.  At wide receiver, the Lions are basically having an open tryout right now due to a slew of injuries and Titus Young’s immaturity. And don’t forget about the record book.  Calvin has a legitimate shot at topping Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record and Stafford has a chance to become the first quarterback to ever throw for 5,000 yards in consecutive seasons. The Packers’ defense is banged up right now and missing their star player in Clay Mathews.  Charles Woodson is also out, leaving the door open for the Lions’ potent aerial attack. This Sunday Night, do your best to tune out Cris Collinsworth’s nonsense because there should be plenty of excitement, and most likely more than a few points. The game kicks off at 8:20 and airs on NBC.   Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny Subscribe to Lions email notifications here: http://isportsweb.com/contact-2/email-notifications/

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jay Gruden gives out primo parking spots to hard-working players

Report: Colts' Jones suspended four games for PED use

Report: Royals have interest in Nick Markakis

Ezekiel Elliott domestic violence 911 call released

Manu Ginobili talks interest in 76ers before sticking with Spurs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Lakers reportedly have ‘unnamed trade target in mind

Report: Rodman a 'person of interest' in hit-and-run

Draymond Green reaches plea deal in assault case

Evander Kane arrested after turning himself in

Former NFL coach Dennis Green passes away

Michael Vick says he would only sign with contender

Why the Clippers shouldn't break up their big three

White Sox pay homage to Bo Jackson’s bat-breaking skills with bobblehead

Orioles affiliate pay tribute to David Bowie on their jerseys

Report: Rangers pushing trade efforts for Sale

Russell Martin day-to-day after sauna-related mishap

Celtics reportedly unwilling to give up much for Jahlil Okafor

Report: Jay Bruce drawing trade interest

Vitale: Trump’s speech “filled with lies,” might write in Coach K

Report: Nationals ‘want in’ on Chapman sweepstakes

Hornets co-owner blasts NBA, city for taking away All-Star Game

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

Vikings installing massive horn in new stadium

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

WATCH: Pop & Timmy have a guys' night out

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker