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Lions' Record Not Packers' Concern


For the first time during the Packers' current five-game losing streak, there is actually more outside attention being paid this week to the losing streak their opponent is on, with Detroit coming into the regular-season finale at 0-15.

But the Green Bay players insist they're as focused as ever on fixing their own shortcomings, not on the prospects of the Lions making history as the league's first 0-16 team, or the possibility of Detroit avoiding that history at the expense of the struggling Packers.

"It will be real easy to ignore, because I have a feeling we both didn't have our seasons go the way we wanted to," offensive lineman Daryn Colledge said.

"It's the last game of the year. This is it. Everybody's gotta go home. Everybody's got one more chance to prove to their coaches and prove to their fans that they're the players that deserve to be in that town playing football. We're not taking this game lightly."

While some players confessed that, obviously, being the team that gets Detroit into the win column is not something they want attached to an already disappointing 2008, the primary motivation this week is ending this five-game losing streak before the season officially concludes.

The Packers have lost their last four games by four points or less, with all of them decided in the final two minutes of regulation or in overtime. That has taken a toll, and the team's desire to win the finale is built much more on that than on who the opponent is.

"We definitely don't want to give Detroit their first win, but most of all, we have to get out of this slump we're in," receiver James Jones said. "Whatever it is, however we lose - close games, games by 10 points, games by 4 points - we have to go out there and play hard and get a win for ourselves."

From a preparation standpoint, it's business as usual around the facility with the exception of a slightly adjusted schedule due to the Christmas holiday. The only time the players and coaches are addressing Detroit's record is when they're engaged with the media. Outside of that, particularly in the film room and on the practice field, they're simply preparing to try to beat another NFC North opponent.

"That's the beauty of the coaches' tape," Head Coach Mike McCarthy said of watching film this week. "When you turn it on, there's no volume, there's no commentating, there's no records on it. That's why you sit in a dark room on Mondays and Tuesdays and evaluate the film. You have to do that.

"You have to go through the procedure of game-planning week in and week out, and that's the way we approach the game."

Some of Detroit's personnel has changed since the Packers beat the Lions back in Week 2, so that has been studied as part of the preparation and game-planning.

Quarterback Jon Kitna is on injured reserve, replaced by Dan Orlovsky. Receiver Roy Williams is now in Dallas, elevating John Standeford into the starting lineup. Injured defensive linemen Jared DeVries and Cory Redding have been replaced by Cliff Avril and Shaun Cody. Travis Fisher and Kalvin Pearson are also new faces in the secondary.

That's plenty for the Packers to focus on as it is. As for the idea of the team feeling any extra pressure to win because the Lions are 0-15, that's a good start down the wrong road in some players' minds.

"You just have to go win," linebacker Brady Poppinga said. "You can't be afraid, you can't be tight, you can't go in playing not to lose. That's not how we're taught, nor is it the philosophy of the organization. You're going to approach it like any other competition knowing the next game is the biggest game, and to go compete you have to take it."

{sportsad300}That said, the Packers aren't oblivious to the Detroit storyline surrounding this game. But it's one thing to be aware of it and another to let it affect how you prepare and how you play.

The players acknowledge that the Lions will be fighting for the full 60 minutes to get a win in their last chance, but to focus on the other team's motivations rather than your own would be self-defeating.

"It's more important for us to get a win simply because we haven't won in over a month," receiver Greg Jennings said. "That's pretty much our mindset."

As it has been, and should be.

"I didn't think about (the fact) that Chicago was 8-6 last week when we were playing them," quarterback Aaron Rodgers said. "It was just we're lining up against them, they're trying to stop us, and we're trying to score.

"All the record stuff, that's for pre-game and for you guys to talk about and make a story about. But once we get on the field, it's 11-on-11. It's football, and obviously there's history on the line either way."

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