Lions at Packers -- Week 14
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wis. (grass, outdoors)
When: Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Forecast at kickoff: 33 degrees, light snow possible, overcast skies.
Spread: Packers by 6.5
2012 records -- Lions (Overall: 4-8, NFC North: 0-4); Packers (Overall: 8-4, NFC North 3-0)
Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Nov. 18, 2012: Packers 24, Lions 20; Jan. 1, 2012: Packers 45, Lions 41 Series record: Green Bay’s Week 11 win over Detroit extended its lead in the series to 92-65-7.  
What matters: With their playoff chances virtually gone, the Lions’ top priority must be to put aside all of the distractions that have hurt the team in recent weeks -- like the ouster of cancerous WR Titus Young -- and focus on ending their current four-game skid. There’s no better way for the Lions to start building momentum heading into 2013 than by ending their current 21-year losing streak in the state of Wisconsin.
To beat the Packers, Detroit must repeat the fast start they had against Green Bay in Week 11 -- the Lions led at halftime for just the second time all season -- while avoiding the defensive lapses that allowed the Packers to become the first of three consecutive teams to beat Detroit after trailing with two minutes remaining in regulation time.
Whether or not the Lions can get out of the blocks quickly on the frozen tundra depends on the effectiveness of two key personnel groups. Detroit’s running game doesn’t need to dominate Sunday for the Lions to win, but RBs Joique Bell and Mikel Leshoure need to be effective enough to force Packers’ LBs to pay attention to them. If they can establish the ground game early, it will be easier for QB Matthew Stafford and his receivers to dictate the tempo of the game.
Defensively, the embattled Lions’ secondary must prove they can limit the types of big plays that allowed former Packers’ QB Matt Flynn to throw for 480 yards and six touchdowns when the Lions last visited Lambeau. Fans who would point out that the DB corps isn’t the same as it was that day should also remember that Detroit allowed six pass plays of longer than 25 yards to the Colts in Week 13. That’s something they simply can’t afford to repeat Sunday if they want to win.
Who matters: It goes without saying that WR Calvin Johnson will see a healthy amount of targets Sunday, but he needs to get some help from Detroit’s other receivers for the offense to truly shine. That means TEs Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew need to put forth a solid effort alongside receivers Mike Thomas, Brian Robiskie, and Kris Durham. If Stafford isn’t able to use multiple targets, it will allow the Packers’ vulnerable secondary to focus solely on limiting Johnson’s impact.
The Lions’ D-line must also produce a similar effort to the one that saw them hit Colts’ QB Andrew Luck 13 times last week. The unit sacked Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers three times in the teams’ first meeting this season, but it also gave Rodgers too much time to pick apart the Lions’ shaky secondary when it counted. DTs Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh have become a fearsome partnership in recent weeks. They need to continue their recent trend of collapsing opposing passers’ pockets Sunday night.
Key matchups: WR Johnson vs. Packers CB Tramon Williams: In the buildup to the teams’ Week 11 meeting, Williams became the second corner in a month to use the “Optimus Prime” moniker to try and get some headlines alongside Detroit’s “Megatron.” His performance against Johnson, however, didn’t match his self-promotion. Johnson had 143 yards and a touchdown against Williams, and will look to post similar numbers Sunday. If the Packers don’t commit multiple defenders to stopping CJ, he could be in for a special night against Green Bay’s injury-riddled secondary. ... OTs Jeff Backus and Gosder Cherilus vs. Packers’ pass rush: This matchup has less to do with Backus’ and Cherilus’ ability to contain Green Bay’s blitz than it does with their ability to finish the game. Both players enter Sunday’s contest with injury issues, and the loss of either one would be a significant setback. Rookie T Riley Reiff could fill in at either tackle spot, but he’s still a developing player. Reiff struggled when Backus was injured against Green Bay in Week 11, and the resulting forced throws from Stafford caused the offense to stagnate.

Injuries of note: The Lions released the following status report for Sunday’s game: Questionable: Backus (hamstring), S Louis Delmas (knee), Fairley (quad), CB Chris Houston (ankle), CB Jacob Lacey (foot/achilles) and DE Corey Williams (knee). Probable: Cherilus (knee), DE Lawrence Jackson (concussion), WR Kassim Osgood (finger) and LB Ashlee Palmer (thumb).

Inside stuff: If offensive coordinator Scott Linehan chooses to use four-receiver sets to try and get the offense going early, look for RB Bell to get a significant amount of playing time in the first half. His pass protection skills, explosive running style, and ability to catch passes out of the backfield could serve Linehan better in a fast-paced offense than the hard-charging Leshoure, who tends to look for contact rather than actively trying to avoid it.

Connections: Lions’ CB Pat Lee was a second-round draft pick of the Packers in 2008. Corey Williams (2004-07) was also originally drafted by the Packers. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2004 NFL Draft.

Stat you should know: 0-6 -- That’s the Lions’ record in prime time and holiday games since Detroit’s win over Chicago on Monday night Football in Week 5 of the 2011 season. Since that time, the Lions are 0-3 on Sunday Night Football (including a special Saturday night playoff broadcast), 0-2 in Thanksgiving Day games, and 0-1 on Monday Night Football.

Record watch: With 125 receiving yards vs. Green Bay, Johnson will set a new NFL record with six-straight games registering 125+ receiving yards. He and former Lions WR Pat Studstill (1966) are the only players in NFL history to record five-straight games with 125+ receiving yards.

Looking ahead: After their trip to Lambeau, the Lions travel west to face the Cardinals in their final road game of the regular season. If Detroit doesn’t win Sunday, the matchup could be a preview of a 2013 Lions-Cardinals matchup that would take place because of the teams’ last-place finishes in their respective divisions.

Prediction: Packers 31, Lions 20
Follow Lions reporter John Kreger on Twitter at @CBSLions and @JohnKreger