12:30 PM ET, November 28, 2013
Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Without Aaron Rodgers in the picture for three weeks the NFC North has suddenly overtaken the NFC East as football’s most up-for-grabs division. Two of its three five-loss teams will try improve even more Thursday when the Green Bay Packers visit the Detroit Lions with plenty at stake.
Green Bay’s quarterback situation has mirrored the division’s uncertainty since the 29 year-old star went down with a broken left collarbone Nov. 4 versus the Chicago Bears.
According to what coach Mike McCarthy said earlier this week, Rodgers’ chances of playing on Thanksgiving are not looking good, which leaves the Packers’ hopes of matching the Lions and Bears for a division-best six victories in the hands of Matt Flynn or Scott Tolzien.
Tolzien has started the last two games, but it was Flynn who led the team back from a 16-point, second-half deficit in Sunday’s 26-26 tie against the Minnesota Vikings. McCarthy made the move to Flynn midway through the third quarter but still doesn’t know who would start against the Lions.
Green Bay (5-5-1) is 0-3-1 since Rodgers got hurt.
The 26 year-old Tolzien ran for a touchdown and completed 7 of 17 passes for 98 yards before the switch was made. The former San Francisco 49ers QB took over for the injured Seneca Wallace on Nov. 11 versus the Philadelphia Eagles, but combined for one touchdown pass and five interceptions in his two starts and one relief appearance.
Flynn, playing his first game with Green Bay since backing up Rodgers from 2008-11, went 21 of 36 for 218 yards and a touchdown.
The Packers have averaged 18.0 points in the last four weeks, tied for 25th in the NFL. Through Week 8, Green Bay was third in the league with Rodgers at 30.3 points per game.
According to YouWager experts, a victory would vault the Packers past Detroit (6-5), who hasn’t been able to take advantage of their division rivals’ misfortune or their own seemingly soft schedule.
The Lions have lost consecutive games for the first time in 2013, and they’ve come versus the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have a combined 8-14 record. But both of those teams have won three in a row.