GREEN BAY -- It is Week 3 of the NFL regular season -- and the Green Bay Packers return home this Sunday, September 25th to face the division rival Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.
Kickoff is set for noon -- and you can watch the game ONLY ON FOX6!
Heading into this matchup, the Packers are coming off a tough loss vs. Minnesota. The game was played Sunday, September 18th at the Vikings' brand new US Bank Stadium. The Packers lost to the division rivals 17-14 and are 1-1 on the season -- middle of the Pack in the NFL -- but bottom of the league when it comes to offensive statistics.
Who thought you'd say that about the Packers?
But if you watched them Sunday night in Minnesota, you can understand why.
Green Bay is 29th in total offense, 31st in passing offense. Aaron Rodgers is 31st in passing offense. So yes -- the Packers came up short on the scoreboard against the Vikings, but it's more than just the number of points a team is scoring in terms of the way the head coach evaluates his offense.
"I've never been a stat guy. We've been playing to the strengths of each other. I'm talking about the offense, defense and special teams. When you don't have balance -- I've coached a team that wasn't balanced. And the result is what it was. I have great confidence we'll score a lot of points. But my point is, I don't do cartwheels over being number 1 in the league in scoring," Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said.
Rodgers was sacked five times during the matchup with the Vikings, and there were two turnovers in the fourth quarter that quashed the Packers' comeback and sent the crowd of 66,813 into a deafening frenzy in celebration of their team's first regular-season win at the new stadium.
The Vikings were without their starting quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, who suffered a season-ending injury to his left knee on August 30th.
Vikings' star running back Adrian Peterson was hurt in the game vs. the Packers, suffering a right knee injury after a five-yard run late in the third quarter. Peterson will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He could return this season.
The Packers on Wednesday, September 21st in practice focused on ball security after the turnovers vs. Minnesota -- and one player wasn't happy with that.
Rodgers had this to say about Wednesday's "wet ball drill:"
"It's a silly drill. It's my least favorite drill in the game. I did it (Wednesday) as a favor to the coaches. I don't like that drill because it's unrealistic. If it is an actual rain game, the ball comes into the umpire. He wipes it off and puts it down. You don't dunk a ball directly into water and try to throw it. To me it's an unrealistic drill -- but we do it and I participated in that," Rodgers said.
This season marks the first time since the strike-shortened season of 1982 that the Packers have not played a game in Green Bay until Week 3, according to Packers.com. The Packers have been on the road for four straight weeks (including preseason matchups). Green Bay opened the regular season with two away games for the first time since 1924.
The Packers have a bye following the matchup with the Lions, and Sunday's game marks the first of four consecutive home games for the green and gold. It is the first time the Packers have played four consecutive home games during a single regular season since 1963, according to Packers.com -- and the second time in four years that the Packers will have a bye in Week 4 (2013).
This Packers season is the first time since since 2008 (Week 1 vs. Minnesota and Week 2 at Detroit) that Green Bay has played against division opponents in two of the first three games.
Green Bay has won the last three games against Detroit at home in the month of September (1998, 2001, 2003) by a combined 66 points (97-31). The Packers and Lions have split the season series each of the last three years. The Packers have won 24 of the last 25 games against Detroit in Wisconsin, including a ’94 playoff game, according to Packers.com.
The Packers/Lions rivalry began in 1930 at City Stadium in Green Bay. The Packers won 47-13. Two seasons later, the teams began a yearly series. Sunday marks meeting No. 174 in the all-time series.
The Packers lead the regular-season series 96-68-7 (.582) and have won both postseason contests the two have played. Green Bay’s 96 wins over the Lions are the most the Packers have against any team, according to Packers.com.
The Packers and Lions last met in the regular season on December 3rd, 2015 at Ford Field. The Packers won, 27-23. In that game, Green Bay was down 20 points in the third quarter -- when wide receiver Randall Cobb recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.
Packers QB Aaron Roidgers put the Packers within striking distance after running for a 17-yard touchdown with three minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Tight end Richard Rodgers capped off his career night with a 61-yard game-winning Hail-Mary touchdown in front of Detroit defenders to finish with eight receptions for 146 yards (18.3 avg.) and one touchdown.
CLICK HERE for much more on this week's matchup via Packers.com.
Meanwhile, Packers officials have released the following traffic information for those headed up to Lambeau for Sunday's game:
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Northeast Region reminds motorists heading to Lambeau Field on Sunday, September 25, for the Green Bay Packer/Detroit Lions football game that I-41 and adjacent roadways from Oneida Street north to Lineville Road in Brown County are under construction.
Sunday’s game may have a significant impact on traffic operations. WisDOT encourages those traveling to the game to pre-plan their trip. Other tips include using alternate routes, adjusting your leave to ensure you reach the destination on time, and following the traveler information on the message boards.
I-41, WIS 172 and I-43 could experience significant backups near the stadium, as could the I-41 interchanges at Oneida Street, WIS 172 and I-43. Barrier walls, orange barrels, and narrow lanes will affect travel. Due to the I-41 Project construction, Ashland Avenue through De Pere and Ashwaubenon will also experience increased traffic congestion as additional motorists use this as an alternate route. The heaviest congestion is expected three hours before and after the game.
Here is a list of the major highways in northeast Wisconsin most Packer fans will be traveling as they head for Lambeau Field, and the road conditions they should anticipate.
I-41/Velp Avenue interchange
WIS 172 and I-41/WIS 172 Interchange
WIS 441, US 10 and Roland Kampo Bridge
US 41, Oconto County
US 141, Marinette County
Freeway Service Team
The I-41 Project Freeway Service Teams will be working in Brown County on Sunday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Freeway Service Team will assist motorists - free of charge - who are involved in minor crashes or are experiencing a breakdown. If necessary, the Freeway Service Team quickly relocates disabled vehicles from the highway’s travel lanes and/or shoulders to safe, pre-designated locations away from traffic.
Services the team provides include:
Please note if you are involved in a crash:
The WisDOT’s Division of State Patrol advises you to immediately call 911 if you are involved in a crash. If there are no injuries and the vehicles can be moved, report the other vehicle’s license plate numbers as you may then be advised to move off the main portion of the roadway to a crash investigation site or to a ramp out of traffic. This will assist first responders in reaching you while helping to clear traffic delays during the critical travel times before and following the game.
Additionally, if your vehicle becomes disabled in the I-41 work zone between De Pere and Suamico, notify authorities immediately, and WisDOT will send the Freeway Service Team vehicle to your location. Motorists can then contact their motor club or towing preference after WisDOT has relocated your vehicle to a more accessible and safe location.
Travelers should allow extra time and can check online for real-time traffic information, including travel times, lane closures and incidents, at 511 Wisconsin online at www.511wi.gov or by calling 511.