“You look at the guys we have in there, we’re doing a good job,” Matthews insisted. “Ultimately sacks, hurries and pressure, it’s all the same. We’re trying to make the quarterback as uncomfortable as possible, and I think with me getting closer to being a healthy as I can, Mike Daniels playing real well, Mike Neal playing well, Datone (Jones) coming on and hopefully with the addition of Nick Perry coming back, we’ve got some guys up there who can rush the passer.

“It’s about putting ourselves in that position to rush the passer by stopping the run. I feel good about, when we have the opportunity to tee off in a passing situation, we feel good about getting home.”

That might be easier said than done against Matthew Stafford, who’s only been sacked 14 times this season. But with Perry expected to play and Matthews using a small cast – he still isn’t far enough along to switch to a brace, he said – and the defensive linemen contributing, there might be home for even more production in this department. It’d also help if the Packers offense could put up some points and let the defense play with a lead for a change.
“First, getting everybody back healthy is going to help our defense out and our pass rush and our pressure, but you’ve also got to look at these past couple weeks – we’ve been playing from behind,” Matthews said. “It’s difficult because you know you have to play a little more honest. Especially this past week, (Minnesota) is a run-dominated team. We feared the run moreso than the past playing last week. But that doesn’t mean we’re playing less aggressively; it’s just your priorities. You’ve got to play the odds, and part of that is understanding where you’re at.

“If we can get a lead early, maybe we can turn that number up past six.”

THE PREDICTION

It would appear Rodgers, with 10 days before the team’s next game, will make his triumphant return next week against Atlanta on Dec. 8. At least, the Packers hope it’s triumphant. But even if it is, it might be too late if they don’t manage a Thanksgiving miracle. There’s certainly a formula for the Packers to win at Ford Field without their fearless leader, especially given the way the Lions have found new and exciting ways to lose. But when you don’t have a quarterback who can erase your mistakes, you can’t make any. That’ll be the requirement in this one – take the ball away, don’t give it away, have the offensive and defensive playcallers on top of their games and have a role player step up with an unexpected performance. The guess here? That’s asking too much.  Lions 31, Packers 27. (Season record: 8-2-1)

– Jason Wilde