Notebook: Lions Plenty Motivated

The Detroit Lions have seen a promising season slip away, and they enter Sunday’s regular-season finale at Lambeau Field out of the NFC playoff picture. But that’s not to say the Lions are devoid of motivation. - More Audio | Video | Packers-Lions Game Center Mike McCarthy Press Conference Transcript - Dec. 26


The Detroit Lions have seen a promising season slip away, and they enter Sunday's regular-season finale at Lambeau Field out of the NFC playoff picture.

But that's not to say the Lions are devoid of motivation.

Much like the Packers had several important goals in front of them heading into their regular-season finale in Chicago last year, the Lions have their share this week as well.

At 7-8 and coming off a victory over Kansas City, Detroit has a chance to end the season on a two-game winning streak, a much more palatable finish after a six-game losing streak derailed the team following a 6-2 start.

The Lions also have a chance to break a string of six straight losing seasons if they can finish 8-8.

And perhaps most significantly, they have a chance for their first win on Wisconsin soil in 16 years, having lost 16 straight contests in this state (three in Milwaukee, 13 in Green Bay, including one in the postseason) dating back to a 21-17 decision on Dec. 15, 1991, at Lambeau.

"Winning this ballgame won't get us into the playoffs, but right now we're playing for pride and the love of winning," second-year Detroit linebacker Ernie Sims said. "I want to win. The name of the game is to win."

Detroit comes to Green Bay a bit banged up, missing its top wide receiver (Roy Williams) and running back (Kevin Jones) to injuries. But with the NFC's last playoff spot likely going to a 9-7 team, it's easy to play the "what if" game with the Lions, particularly when two of the losses during their six-game losing streak were at home by scores of 16-10 to the Giants and 28-27 to the Cowboys, when they blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead.

"I know we're going to get 100 percent out of them," Packers center Scott Wells said. "They've got a good football team. They've lost a couple of close games this year or else their season might have gone a completely different direction."

Will he or won't he

If the Packers don't play their starters long enough on Sunday, it may be difficult for running back Ryan Grant to get the 101 yards he needs for 1,000 on the season.

Grant is bidding to become the eighth different 1,000-yard rusher in team history, and his feat would be rather remarkable, considering he had just 27 rushing yards through the season's first six games. He has 899 going into Sunday.

For the Lions, Grant's milestone is just another motivational tool, no matter how long he's in the game.

"We're definitely going to make sure it doesn't happen," Sims said. "We feel like it's all on our shoulders for him not to get that 1,000 yards. Whatever it takes, that's what we're going to have to do."

Always a team-first guy, Grant hasn't talked much about the 1,000-yard mark and has kept his focus on whether a given game ends in victory or not. And as for his sudden rise to stardom in the second half of the season, Grant's not concerned about how he got here, just where he and the Packers go from here.

"It doesn't really matter to me whether or not I'm a surprise to people," Grant said. "I feel like I might have come underneath the radar a little bit, but I hope that people are starting to recognize our team and what we're doing."

{sportsad300}Another award

To go along with his Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year award this season, Brett Favre also has been named the 2007 United States Sports Academy Male Athlete of the Year after a worldwide online vote presented by and

The ballot was open for voting from Dec. 1 through Christmas Day, and hundreds of thousands of votes were cast. Golf star Tiger Woods and New England quarterback Tom Brady finished second and third, respectively, in the male voting.

Belgian tennis star Justine Henin was named the Female Athlete of the Year. She was followed in the voting by American tennis star Venus Williams and swimmer Natalie Coughlin.

Injury update

Cornerback Jarrett Bush appears ready to return to action this week after missing the last two games with a calf injury. Bush was a full participant in practice on Wednesday.

Only one player - fullback Korey Hall - has been ruled out of this week's game. He has a hip injury.

Meanwhile, receiver Greg Jennings (ankle) did not practice, while nine players were limited in practice. They were offensive tackles Chad Clifton (shoulder) and Mark Tauscher (ankle), guard Junius Coston (ankle), tight end Bubba Franks (knee), receiver Koren Robinson (knee), defensive tackle Ryan Pickett (groin), quarterback Aaron Rodgers (hamstring), and cornerbacks Al Harris (heel) and Charles Woodson (toe).

The status on all those players will be updated later in the week.

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