And while there’s little carryover from 20 years ago to today, the streak is significant, considering McCarthy and the current Packers have won 12 of 13 meetings between the teams.
Even Schwartz himself was a bit overwhelmed by the streak, saying that the Lions hadn’t won in Wisconsin since “1981” before correcting himself.
“It’s not an oddity,” Schwartz said. “That’s a place we have to win. It’s a division opponent. If we want to get our franchise to where we want it to go, that’s a place that, No. 1, we have to be able to come out with wins at Green Bay. To get one there would go a long way to giving us the confidence to be able to do it in the future.”
One oddity, though: This will be the second time the teams have met in a one-month span, as the Packers came from behind to win, 24-20, at Ford Field on Nov. 18. According to Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements, playing a team again so quickly allows the coaches to go back and use some of the things they wanted to do in the first meeting and didn’t get to.
“You still study the film, but you have a pretty good recall of the film you’ve already studied, plus you have a few extra games to look at,” Clements said. ‘Plus, you’ve played them once already, so you kind of have an idea (of how they’ll play you). You see what’s successful or unsuccessful and try to make sure correct the unsuccessful things and change around the successful things.
“When you play a game, there’s a lot of things in your game plan that you don’t always get to, so you have a head-start as far as that’s concerned. You just don’t use the same plan; you revise it.”
Let it snow: The weather forecast calls for snow Sunday, starting in the morning before tapering off right around kickoff. According to The Weather Channel, the area can expect 2 to 4 inches of the white stuff to fall, most of it coming before the game. So folks hoping for a redux of the Packers’ victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the 2007 NFC Divisional Playoffs – folks like Packers safety Morgan Burnett – are likely to be disappointed.
Burnett remembers seeing highlights of that game on TV and wishing he could someday play in such conditions.
“I never really had a chance to play in an all-white snow game. Me coming from the South, that’s something I really look forward to,” Burnett said. “I’ve never experienced anything like that. If we do get that, that would be pretty fun. When we’d see that back home, you know, we don’t get snow like that in Atlanta, so we’d always wondered what it’d feel like. And the little bit (of snow) we do get, we were quick to run outside and play in it. So if we do get snow, it’d be like being a little kid going outside.”
Of course, snow brings with it the question of who’s got the advantage. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has always insisted that the offense has the edge because its skill position players know where they’re going while defenders must react. Burnett, a defensive player, said the opposite.
“Rain, sleet or snow, you’ve got to go out there and play. If it’s snow, it’s more of a defensive advantage because the offense has to do a great job of protecting the ball,” Burnett said. “In snow, in cold weather, that ball can slip out a little easier.”
For the record, Capers said he was unlikely to alter his game plan for the snow, saying his adjustments would be based on “how the game is going.”