History Doesn’t Guarantee a Packers Victory Sunday

Randall Cobb

runs between

Justin Durant


Drayton Florence

and Pat Lee. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph

I’m sure you’ve heard by now. The Green Bay Packers haven’t lost to the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field in 22 straight games.

This topic is being discussed ad nauseum leading up to the first game of the season between the two NFC North opponents. And here I go, bringing it up again.

The last time the Packers surrendered a game to Detroit at Lambeau was in 1991, well before the Brett Favre era. In 1991, Aaron Rodgers was still playing Pee Wee football, and Packer rookies, like David Bakhtiari and Micah Hyde, were either just born or still in diapers.

Both teams are well aware of this streak, but I don’t think either one really cares about it.

When asked about it during his Wednesday press conference, Coach McCarthy brushed it off, saying, “I don’t even acknowledge the streak. It’s not going to help us Sunday. This is a division game for us. Last year is last year. Last two decades are the last two decades.”

Packers starting right guard and Michigan-native, T.J. Lang, doesn’t really care about the streak either. “You have a new team every year. So I don’t think that streak is really important. We haven’t talked about it. I doubt they’ve talked about it. It’s a new year. We both have new teams.”

If we take a step back and look at recent trends, history will tell us the Packers should win this Sunday against the Lions.

Outside of the 22-game home streak against the Lions, the Packers have also won 14 of their last 15 meetings against Detroit. Their one loss coming in late 2010 when Rodgers left the game because of a concussion and backup Matt Flynn played the entire second half and failed to score more than three points as Detroit went on to win 7-3.

This Detroit also marks the last time the Packers lost back-to-back games. With Rodgers out and Flynn starting, the Packers were beat by the New England Patriots the following week in a surprisingly close 31-27 game.

This means the Packers haven’t lost two games in a row in nearly three seasons. This shows how well McCarthy’s teams respond to adversity, but should also encourage us that the Packers will come back from the bye week after suffering a devastating loss to the Cincinnati Bengals ready to play at their best.

In fact, not only coming off a loss have the Packers been good, but McCarthy’s teams hold a 6-1 record in the games following a bye week. Over the past seven seasons, McCarthy’s 6-1 record coming off the bye is tied for first among NFL coaches.

Coach McCarthy tends to get the best out of his players coming off a break. The Packers have not only been 4-0 the past four seasons after the bye week, but they’ve also outscored their opponents 126-61 in these contests.

To add to all of this, Green Bay has also won 21 of their last 22 home games, including their last eight, which is currently the third longest home streak in the NFL behind the Seattle Seahawks (10) and the Denver Broncos (9).

So according to history the Packers should win this Sunday when Detroit comes to town, but as both Coach McCarthy and Lang astutely pointed out, all these streaks and numbers mean nothing when the two teams face off at Lambeau Field this Sunday. There are no guarantees in the NFL.

This is a new year. The Packers are still trying to figure out their identity coming off the bye week, let alone get healthy on both sides of the ball. The Lions are clearly not the Lions of old and look like a hot team coming to Green Bay this weekend.

Detroit will give the Packers everything they’ve got. History and streaks aside, expect a good game on Sunday between two teams that should contend for the division title this year.