Nate Caminata: I think that's a pretty decent surmise of the franchise at this point. The absence of Matthew Stafford really derailed the team this year (they either won games he started or they were winning games before he left), so it's both difficult to gauge how effective they can be while providing some hope for a fan base that is desperate. The defense has shown drastic improvement, helped in no small part by arguably the best rookie tackle in years — maybe decades. Still, winning games is the only currency in this league, and the team's identity should remain "Doormat" until they show progress in the win column.
Bill: This will be Jim Schwartz's fourth game against the Packers, and he'll be starting a fourth different quarterback, with Drew Stanton getting the call. Matthew Stafford, who the Packers have never seen at anywhere approaching 100 percent health, is on the shelf again. This is the second time this season he's missed time with an injured throwing shoulder. Concerned?
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Bill: The Lions are averaging about 29 points per game at home. If that was their full-time scoring output, they'd have the second-most prolific offense in the league. Why have they been so explosive at home?
Nate: I don't think it hurts that two of their home tilts have involved wins against subpar ball clubs, including St. Louis (44-6) and Washington (37-25). Detroit's offense is capable of being explosive, and some of its speedsters (Jahvid Best, Nate Burleson, etc.) have taken advantage of the quick Ford Field rug. Still, the wane in production is also related to this team's inability to win on the road — something they haven't done since 2007. Whether it's the mind-set or simply bad luck, they haven't collectively learned to produce and win away from home, something that has afflicted every facet of the team, including the offense.
Bill: Perhaps the Achilles' heel of the Packers' defense is matching up against opponent tight ends. Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler are a top-notch tandem, with Pettigrew having a big day in the first outing. Because of their success, is that opening up things for Calvin Johnson, who is unstoppable at 6-foot-5, or is he still the focal point for defenses?
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Bill: First-round pick Ndamukong Suh didn't do a whole lot against the Packers in the first game but it seems like he's becoming a dominant player. He's the top player on a really good defensive line. Games are won up front, so you'd think the Lions would have at least a credible defense. But they don't. What are the missing pieces?
Nate: Detroit has done everything defensively but stop opponents from scoring, giving up an average of 25 points per game. But the crux of the problem has remained the second half, where they've been outscored 139-77 in their 10 losses. To put that number into perspective, Green Bay's top-tier defense has given up 182 points the entire season. Penalties and missed tackles have plagued the team, and it seems whenever a big defensive play is made, they shoot themselves in the foot on the very next down.
Obviously, the defense has improved eons since last year, but the youth and chemistry is undergoing development.