GREEN BAY – It was just four short years ago, at the combine, following the Packers' win in Super Bowl XLV. Packers Coach Mike McCarthy was conducting his combine press conference when he identified the Lions as a team on the verge of something good.
"I definitely think Detroit is a team the rest of the league needs to be aware of," McCarthy said.
It didn't happen, however, as quickly or as fully as McCarthy might've expected. The Lions came within a bad call of a playoff win last season. Who knows how high they might've reached.
A season later, it appears the Lions as we knew them four years ago, which is to say as a team on the rise, are about to undergo a reconstruction. Two weeks ago, the Lions owner pulled the plug on the team's president and general manager. What does that mean for everybody else?
It means the Lions team coming here this weekend, in the first game since the front office shakeup, is playing for its individual and collective futures. Jim Caldwell knows that, and so does his quarterback. Martha Ford fired two shots over the bow.
"It's a fact. You don't hide from it," Caldwell said.
So, how does this all pertain to the Packers, who are on a two-game slide and in desperate need of a win at home to take with them to Minnesota next week in what will be the biggest NFC North game of the season to date? In one form or another, it'll be for the division lead.
It means don't be lulled to sleep by the Lions' 1-7 record. It belongs to the men who were dismissed. Since then, Caldwell has wiped the slate clean. The Lions team coming here this weekend is 0-0.
Here are 10 things the Packers have to do to beat the Lions.
1. Convert third down – It's the best way for an offense to help its defense.
2. Cover Calvin Johnson – He can singlehandedly beat a team.
3. Pressure Matt Stafford – He's a different quarterback when he has time to throw.
4. Have faith in Aaron Rodgers – He's "The Man." He's the player that makes the Packers go.
5. Stop the run – The Lions are last in the league in rushing, but the Broncos are No. 28 and look at what they did. Defense begins with stopping the run.
6. Call better plays than the Lions – Gotcha!
7. Get Davante Adams involved – He can be a game-changer for this team. The Packers need him.
8. Tighten the middle of the field – It was too loose in Denver and in Carolina.
9. Win back the faith of the fans – They provide the advantage that has made the Packers unbeatable at home.
10. Enjoy the weather – It's supposed to be warm and sunny. It'll probably be the last warm and sunny day at Lambeau Field this season.