McCarthy: Packers' season 'just getting started'

Green Bay Packers (at Detroit; 70%) - If the Packers beat (or tie) the Lions, they are NFC North champs and in the playoffs. That's assuming, however, that both teams are playing to win.

The winning team on Sunday clinches the NFC North championship and a home playoff game. Despite the losses, the Lions still control their own fate, and the victor of their final game in the season will be headed to the playoffs.

The Lions offense has struggled in recent weeks, averaging just 15.6 points per game while posting three straight against-the-spread losses, but they have won six in a row straight-up on home turf. dMeanwhile, the Packers have tallied five consecutive outright victories but are winless against the spread in four games this season as road chalk. Rodgers threw four touchdown passes, two to Nelson, in the Packers' 34-27 win over the Lions at Lambeau Field earlier this season.

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson continues to lead the team with 91 receptions for almost 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns, though Rodgers has proven that he can get the job done with a slew of targets. If the Seahawks tie their game (they already have a tie this season), they need the Falcons to lose and the Packers and Lions to finish their game in a tie. Now they have the chance to finish doing that against the Lions at Ford Field on Sunday night.

"I think it was a reflection of how we felt and how close we felt we were to winning games as opposed to losing those games", McCarthy told Detroit reporters.

Elliott's second TD of the night put the Cowboys up for good and Dez plunged the dagger into the Lions by taking a flip from Prescott on the reverse and lofting a left-hand throw to a wide-open Witten for a 10-yard score. Even if both of those things don't happen, the Lions will have an incentive to win on Sunday night, as opposed to backing into the playoffs along with a division rival via a tie. Against the Vikings, they had four: two by Perry, one by Mike Daniels and one game-changing one by Matthews that resulted in a Sam Bradford fumble that Daniels recovered.

Pittsburgh Steelers score 21 in 4th vs. Baltimore Ravens, clinch AFC North
Had he fallen short, it's questionable whether the Steelers would have been able to stop the clock and kick a tying field goal. During their six-game winning streak, the Steelers have certainly had far more aesthetically pleasing victories than Sunday's.

"I mean, he does everything that you could possibly want a quarterback to do", Lions coach Jim Caldwell said about Rodgers.

It was no surprise to Packers' receiver Jordy Nelson that Rodgers spoke out the way he did, or that he backed up his words.

A win over the team that has dominated the division and his team for many seasons could elevate Stafford to elite status among his peers. Aaron Rodgers referred to it last weekend as "a different headspace".

"I'm not anxious about that kind of stuff now or probably even after the fact", Stafford said.

So if you want to say the modern National Football League started with Unitas, you can start the conversation with him, and then get right to Montana, and Brady and Peyton Manning and John Elway, who changed his place in the history of his sport by winning two straight Super Bowls for the Broncos before he retired. According to running back Rashad Jennings, that's the plan.


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