Behind Enemy Lines: Pack Worried about Lions?

Are the Packers concerned about a loss to Detroit? Is Aaron Rodgers the answer in Green Bay? What is the NFC North consensus of the Lions? Packer Report Publisher Bill Huber answers these questions and more as we go Behind Enemy Lines.

Nate Caminata ( Publisher): As an 0-15 team walks into Lambeau (where they haven't won dating back to 1991), is there an unsettling feeling/general fear within the organization and fanbase that comes along with a potential for loss? Or is it already chalked up as a win?
Bill Huber (Packer Report Publisher): There's no fear among the players and coaches, though they certainly aren't chalking this one up for a win. Teams that are 5-10 and on a five-game losing streak can't chalk up a win against anyone. Besides, division games are different, as you know. The Lions have hung in there against the North teams all season, so there's no reason to expect anything different on Sunday. As for the fans, yeah, they're afraid. Very afraid. It's been a horrible season already. Losing to the Lions would really create a firestorm and exponetially up the heat on coach Mike McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson.

NC: The Packers season certainly didn't unfold as many expected, especially after a strong-start to the Aaron Rodgers era. If Brett Favre ends up playing in the post-season, what will the immediate story be in Green Bay, and is it deserved?

This image, coupled with a losing season, didn't exactly inspire much confidence in Green Bay's front office brass
AP Photo
BH: Well, for many fans, Favre can do no wrong. That the Packers won 13 games with Favre and will win less than half of that number is proof that Thompson and McCarthy let their egos get in the way of the franchise. On the other hand, the way I see it, unless Favre can rush the passer, stop the run or open a hole on third-and-1, then it doesn't really matter who's behind center. Rodgers has had a good season. Favre, on the other hand, has been horrible in his last four games. His late-season fade is a reason why the Packers decided to go in another direction.

NC: Many blamed the Packers' defense for the struggles that plagued the team through 2008, but how much of the blame falls upon Rodgers? Does he remain the "answer" in Green Bay?
BH: There's no doubt he's the answer. It's not like he's been throwing three interceptions in all of these losses. Has he come up short in some close games? Yes. Does he deserve some blame? Yes. Then again, if Mason Crosby makes a field goal in the final seconds against Minnesota, if the special teams can cover a kickoff against Carolina, if the defense doesn't yield 400-plus passing yards to the Texans or if Crosby makes a field goal in the final 25 seconds against Chicago, we aren't talking about Rodgers' late-game failings.

NC: Knowing that the Lions are entering a upheaval during the off-season, what is the general consensus on Detroit from a division rival? Is there a concern that the team now has the potential to turn it around, or will they remain a doormat in the eyes of their closest competitors?
BH: That's a tough question. It all depends on who takes over for Matt Millen. Get a legit football mind who can hire a legit NFL coach and bring in legit NFL players, then there's reason to believe the Lions will become relevant. Look at the Atlanta Falcons, who were a disaster last year with Michael Vick in prison and the coach quitting to go back to the collegiate level. Now, the Falcons are one of the league's top surprises. If the Falcons can do it, so can the Lions. But they need leadership first.

NC: Evidently, anyone can turn it around in today's NFL. With that said, is there really a profound difference between a team that finishes 0-16, and a team that finishes 6-10 (or a similar mark)? Or, like most things in sports, is it purely about the image that it portrays rather than a testament to the state/future of a franchise?
BH: I was talking to ESPN's Ron Jaworski the other day, and he said the NFL is an 8-8 league. Get a few breaks and stay healthy, and you win 10 or 11 games. Don't get any breaks and don't stay healthy, and you win five or six games. With that said, 0-15 is unbelievably bad. From the outside looking in, the Lions have some talent, but not nearly enough. They don't have a quarterback, they don't have a difference-making lineman and their secondary is horrible. There's a lot of holes to plug. Then again, the aforementioned Falcons looked like a lost cause at this time last year.

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