Detroit LionsThe question now will be: Did third-string quarterback Drew Stanton do enough to earn a fourth straight start next Sunday in Miami?
Shaun Hill, less than four weeks after breaking a bone in his right index finger, was well enough to be Stanton's back up Sunday and most likely will be ready to start next week.
But how do you bench Stanton? In the last two weeks, he's led the Lions to victories over two winning teams with playoff aspirations. He beat the Packers at home, ending a 19-game losing streak within the NFC North.
And on Sunday he led the Lions to a 23-20 overtime win at Tampa Bay, snapping an NFL-record 26-game road losing streak. He completed 23 of 37 passes with one touchdown and no turnovers, and he led the team on two clutch scoring drives. He took them 68 yards in the final 1:32 of regulation and then marched them 63 yards in the first series in overtime.
"We will cross that bridge when we get to it," coach Jim Schwartz said when asked who his quarterback will be next week.
Stanton nearly left the game late in the second quarter with a left shoulder injury. Hill began warming up, but Stanton played through it.
"I don't know how many more opportunities I am going to get," Stanton said, "so I have to get out there and make the most of it."
When asked if he has proven that he can be an effective NFL quarterback, he said, "Yeah, but that's not for me to decide. I go out and do the best I can. You know how it is with quarterbacks. You are ultimately judged by wins and losses."
The smart money is on Stanton starting next week, assuming there is no lingering effects of the shoulder injury.
Green Bay PackersThe Packers are expecting to have Aaron Rodgers back for a critical game Sunday against the New York Giants.
Yet, in the event Rodgers endures more complications from two concussions he has sustained this season, Green Bay can take comfort in having a capable fill-in at quarterback with Matt Flynn.
The third-year player out of LSU made his first NFL start Sunday night and nearly led the Packers to an upset of the league's top team on the road. The New England Patriots rallied in the fourth quarter for a 31-27 win.
"We've got a very solid guy in Flynn," receiver Greg Jennings said. "I told him after the game, 'Hold your head up.' I would take him any day of the week if [Rodgers] isn't up. He's going to be a great quarterback."
Flynn put up better numbers than Patriots counterpart Tom Brady, the front-runner for league MVP this season, finishing 24-of-37 for 251 yards and three touchdowns, including a 66-yard strike to James Jones.
Flynn matched Don Majkowski's team record in 1987 for most touchdown passes by a rookie quarterback in one game.
"For his first start on a big stage against an excellent football team playing very well, I thought he did a number of positive things and gave us a chance to win," coach Mike McCarthy said.
Yet, Flynn was critical of his mostly solid performance, in which the Packers controlled the football for more than 40 minutes. He was sacked five times and his lone interception was a costly one, as Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington returned it 36 yards for a touchdown early in the second half.
Flynn also couldn't get off a pass on a frenetic final play of the game when the Packers were at the New England 15.
"We lost, so it has to be a losing performance," Flynn said. "We did some good things offensively. We moved the ball. But, when it counted, we didn't get it done."
The Packers fell to 8-6 with their second straight loss. Reaching the playoffs is in their hands, however, if they can win out the last two weeks against the Giants and the Chicago Bears.
Although Flynn played better than many anticipated Sunday, having Rodgers behind center again is paramount for Green Bay in its do-or-die final push.
Rodgers had a streak of 46 starts (including playoffs) end when he was deactivated for the first time since taking over as the starter at the beginning of the 2008 season. He wasn't cleared to play a week after suffering his second head injury in as many months.
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NFC North News and Notes: Dec. 20
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