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Packers visit Lions in Season Finale (Keys to the Game)

The (7-8) Green Bay Packers travel to Ford Field to take on the (8-7) Lions in their season finale Sunday Detroit. Let's take a look at this week 17 matchup with the Fox 11 Keys to the Game.

DETROIT, Mich. - The (7-8) Green Bay Packers travel to Ford Field to take on the (8-7) Lions in their season finale Sunday Detroit. Let's take a look at this week 17 matchup with the Fox 11 Keys to the Game.


PLAYING FOR PRIDE - For the first time in nine years, week 17 will mark the end of the Packers season. With a playoff berth off the table, how will this team respond on the road against a hostile NFC North foe? Green Bay would have to turn the calendar back to 2008 to find a campaign in which they finished with a losing record. Mike McCarthy was confident that his team would be ready to play after being shutout by the Vikings in their final home game last week. In what has become a disappointing season, finishing on a high with a victory over their division rivals could be a strong kickstart to a potentially grander 2018.

HUNDLEY'S FINAL HOORAH -On the road, Brett Hundley has had the look of a starting NFL quarterback (110 Passer Rating), a role he'll have one more opportunity to fill in 2017. After a tough home finale (17-40 130 2INT) the Packers backup signal caller has a chance to finish on a high note against the league's No. 28 pass defense. Hundley will be shorthanded without the services of key offensive pieces such as Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson and Aaron Jones but that simply means it's an opportunity for other players such as Jamaal Williams, Geronimo Allison, Michael Clark and others to showcase their skills in an NFL environment. No. 7 and company are playing for their future against the Lions and how what they put on film will go a long way in determining whether or not they factor into the 2018 season. For Hundley, whose 3-5 in spot starter duty for Aaron Rodgers, this game could determine whether or not the front office makes a move in that department heading into the off-season.

STOPPING STAFFORD - The Lions are a one-dimensional offense. Last in the league at running the football (78YPG), Detroit finds the endzone via the right arm of star quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Packers have seen plenty of the ninth-year pro over the years, including in the 30-17 Monday Night throttling at Lambeau Field. In the lopsided affair, Stafford threw for 361 yards and two touchdowns. If Green Bay is going to have a chance in this game, they're going to have to dial up the pressure early and often against No. 9. Clay Matthews and Ahmad Brooks will be firing off the edges with safety help in the "nitro" package as well throughout. Damarious Randall is out for the contest which means another shorthanded secondary against an offense predicated on the aerial assault. If Stafford has time to air it out, it could be a long afternoon in the Motor City.

PLAYING FOR DOM - According to multiple sources, the Packers will relieve defensive coordinator Dom Capers of his coaching responsibilities following this contest. The team has yet to comment on these reports but by now, this information has certainly trickled down into the Packers locker room. With several starters expected to play, including many who've played for Capers since he took over the reigns in 2008, will they play their best game for one of the more respected voices of this franchise. The NFL is a business and Capers will ultimately take the fall for a situation which goes well beyond coaching. The numbers don't lie, this unit has struggled the past five years and is currently No. 22 in total defense. However, much of the blame also can be placed on general manager Ted Thompson, who's decisions have left this team exposed at several areas on the field and to the players who haven't performed up to the standards set in Titletown. With that being said, how will players such as Clay Matthews, Mike Daniels and Morgan Burnett raise their level of play in Capers' finale?

CARPE DIEM IN DETROIT - For players like Vince Biegel, Lenzy Pipkins and Michael Clark, this is their moment. Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy want to get a good look at this team's two-deep and will rotate a lot of players on the football field Sunday. One big play could be the difference in whether or not there's a roster spot waiting at a specific position next season. With potential coaching and wholesale changes on the way, the 46 players dressing in week 17 will have 60 minutes to put forth the effort needed to justify their future with this organization. After missing the postseason for the first time in nine years, and with No. 12 in "win now" mode, Green Bay is looking for the right pieces, not the long term projects.

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