Trying to break horrific hex at home

Packers may use different approach to Sunday's game at Lambeau Field

If a downtrodden Detroit team that can't attract so much as a half-hearted boo from any of its disinterested fans is willing, Green Bay will gladly give the Lions the run of its spacious locker room at Lambeau Field.

Given how they've won four of seven games on the road but are a mind-boggling 1-5 at their shrine of a stadium, the Packers would rather dress the part of visitors when the NFC North rivals meet Sunday.

"We can't get comfortable (playing) here," linebacker Nick Barnett said Wednesday.

Head coach Mike McCarthy, perhaps willing to try anything at this point, has wondered whether allowing the players to transport themselves from the team's Green Bay hotel to the stadium on the morning of the game is such a good idea.

"It's been recommended to put 'em on the bus before the game, drive around the parking lot and pull in," McCarthy quipped. "But, I don't think that's going to do it."

Barnett jokingly says why not.

"We'll all go get in that little (visitors') locker room back there," Barnett said. "When we go to away (games), they've got the little locker room and we're all close together. So, just get in the bus, take the bus here and then go in the little locker room and get dressed. Maybe that'll help."

The arrival of the meek Lions just might cure the Packers' allergic-like reaction to their once-venerable venue. Detroit has lost 15 straight games to the Packers in Wisconsin, last returning home with a win in 1991.

The Packers will have to win one of their final two games at Lambeau to avoid equaling the 1986 team's 1-7 mark for most futile home record in club annals since the league expanded the schedule to 16 games in 1978. Green Bay hosts Minnesota on Dec. 21.

Without revealing if he's a superstitious type, McCarthy indicated Wednesday that some changes might be made to the team's itinerary during the weekend in an attempt to finally save face on the home front. The Packers have been outscored 73-10 in their last two outings at Lambeau. They sent thousands of disgruntled fans to the exits when they trailed 31-0 at halftime against the Jets in the most recent home game Dec. 3.

"We've talked about all the potential distractions, reasons (for playing lousy at home), but frankly, we need to play better," McCarthy said. "I think you can make too big of a deal of a problem, and that's what you're potentially going to have as much as we're talking about it.

"The bottom line is how you play. If there's anxiety, whatever all the potential problems are, it still comes down to playing football. And, we need to do a much better job of playing at home."

The Packers' home-field woes started before they suffered the ignominy of two losses by shutout this season. They have won only 14 of their last 33 games at Lambeau, extending back to a 27-7 loss to Atlanta in the first round of the NFC playoffs in the 2002 season. It was the first postseason home defeat for the Packers, who were 8-0 at Lambeau during the regular season.

After eking out a 16-13 win over the Lions late in the 2004 season, Green Bay has gone a reprehensible 4-12 at home. The Packers were 3-5 last season, when they were just 1-7 on the road.

"We're not about excuses. There really is no excuse. We're playing at home; we've got to win games here," Barnett said.


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