Packers lead in wild card hunt

With a commanding 34-12 win over Detroit today, the Green Bay Packers have vaulted themselves back into serious playoff contention as the current leader among NFC wild card teams.

The Packers did their part to enhance their own playoff chances today by pounding the Lions into submission 34-12 to improve to 7-3 with their third straight win.

As has been the case in most of Detroit's games over the past two years, they were thoroughly dominated after catching a break by recovering a fumble on the opening kickoff and converting it into an early touchdown to take a 7-0 lead. From that point on, however, it was all Packers.

With the win, Green Bay improves to 7-4, which, for the time being, has them at the top spot among wild card teams. The Giants and Eagles each sit at 6-4. The Giants play later tonight against the Broncos (6-4), while the Eagles play Sunday at home against Washington (3-7).

With a sweep over Green Bay, the Packers still don't pose much of a threat to the Vikings in the NFC North – the Vikings entered play this week with a three-game leading over the Packers with the tie-breaker advantage, which effectively gives them a four-game lead. But the Packers wild card hopes remain very much alive.

It won't come easy for the Packers down the stretch. They play host to the Baltimore Ravens Sunday, Dec. 7. After that, three of their final four games will be on the road in difficult venues – at Chicago, Pittsburgh and Arizona.

The Packers have won three straight since suffering a stunning loss at Tampa Bay Nov. 8 – a defeat that may come back to haunt them. Since then, they delivered a blow to the Cowboys with a 17-7 win and all but eliminated the 49ers from postseason consideration with a 30-24 win last Sunday.

When the Vikings left Lambeau Field victorious Nov. 1, they all but eliminated the Packers from any hope of winning the division title. But Packers fans are far from going away, as Green Bay has found its way back into the thick of the wild card discussion.

THANKSGIVING DAY NOTES

  • Guard Anthony Herrera (concussion) and FB Naufahu Tahi (ankle) were the only players who sat out Thursday's practice.

  • The Bears will be without linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa, who is out with a knee injury. With both he and Brian Urlacher out of the lineup, so is much of the teeth of the Bears defense.

  • The power of Jerry Jones runs deep in the NFL. Whenever a team uses a formation in which a running back or wide receiver takes a direct snap, in the play-by-play data provided by the NFL, it is referred to a "Wildcat" formation. However, when Dallas runs it, it is called a "Razorback" formation – a reference to Jones' Arkansas roots. Perhaps there will be a marketing deal for Jones to make additional millions in his new football palace.

  • Brett Favre will play in his 282nd consecutive game Sunday – tying the ironman record of Vikings great Jim Marshall. Earlier in the season, he broke Marshall's record for consecutive starts. Sunday will be Favre's 280th consecutive start.


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