GREEN BAY – The 2018 season comes to a close on Sunday vs. the Lions at Lambeau Field.
Keep an eye on the following:
1. Hometown hero: The underdog story of the year, receiver Jake Kumerow, scored his first NFL touchdown last week against the Jets. The Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater product quickly became a fan favorite in training camp this past summer, but he injured his shoulder diving into the end zone on a long TD reception at Lambeau Field in the preseason, delaying his activation to the roster. If he can end 2018 with a score in front of the home fans, Lambeau could get as loud as it’s been in a while.
2. Record-chaser: Assuming receiver Davante Adams is able to play – he missed practices on Wednesday and Thursday with a sore knee and is officially listed as questionable – he needs just two catches to top Sterling Sharpe’s single-season franchise record of 112 receptions. He also needs 134 yards to surpass former teammate Jordy Nelson’s record 1,519 yards from 2014. Detroit’s top corner, Darius Slay, is one of the best cover men in the division and the entire NFC. It should be a fun matchup and stat-watching day.
3. Sack attack: The most pleasant surprise on the Packers’ defense this season unquestionably has been third-year outside linebacker Kyler Fackrell, who leads the team with 9½ sacks, needing just a half-sack for his first double-digit season. Also, if Green Bay’s defense can record at least two sacks as a team, the Packers will have posted their most sacks in a season in six years.
4. Clamping down: The Lions have scored more than 27 points just twice all season – and one of those times was in their victory over the Packers back in Week 5. Injuries and other issues have produced a prolonged struggle for Detroit’s offense, which hasn’t scored more than 17 points in any of its last five games nor more than 22 in any of its last nine. Green Bay defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s crew has a big opportunity to atone for a rough first half back in early October.
5. Singular number: For all the frustrations this season, home field has generally been friendly to the Packers, who are 5-1-1 at Lambeau heading into Sunday. Strangely enough, over the last five years, the Packers have enjoyed just one season with fewer than two home defeats, when they went undefeated in 2014. They lost three home games (with one tie) in 2013, three in ’15, two in ’16 and four last year. A win over Detroit would make for a historical anomaly, as the Packers’ 6-1-1 home mark would be a first since the advent of the 16-game schedule in 1978.