Final Word: NFC North

December, 3, 2010
12/03/10
4:00
PM ET
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Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 13:

[+] EnlargeDrew Stanton
AP Photo/Paul JasienskiLions quarterback Drew Stanton will be making his second NFL start Sunday against Chicago.
Bad combination: The Chicago Bears are tied for the NFL lead with 26 takeaways this season. In the Detroit Lions' Drew Stanton, they'll face a quarterback who has thrown seven interceptions in 104 career attempts while also losing two fumbles. That's nine turnovers in one start and eight relief appearances. If the Lions are going to take any pressure off Stanton, it will have to be with a running game likely to feature No. 3 tailback Maurice Morris. I don't like Stanton's chances of navigating the Bears' defense mistake-free, which is what he'll have to do in order to win this game. The Bears have 16 interceptions this season, 13 of which have come against their standard four-man pass rush. That means they'll be sitting back in coverage Sunday, simply waiting for Stanton to make a bad decision or an inaccurate throw.

History in the making? The Lions haven't won an NFC North game since defeating the Bears in Week 8 of the 2007 season. Since then, they're 0-18 against the Bears, Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings. Overall since that 16-7 victory against the Bears, the Lions have lost 46 of 51 games. Only one of their five victories over that stretch has been against a team with a winning record at the time, their Week 8 victory against the Washington Redskins this season. For those hoping or believing the Lions will win Sunday, I present these facts without comment to provide context for how historic such a victory would be.

Loving Lambeau: How big of a late-season home-field advantage is Lambeau Field? Beginning in 1992, the Packers are 34-6 in regular-season home games played in December or January, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. That .850 winning percentage is by far the best in the NFL over that span. (The New England Patriots are No. 2 at .789.) The 18-year trend has spanned multiple coaching tenures, from Mike Holmgren (13-1) to Mike Sherman (13-2) to Mike McCarthy (7-2). And if you're keeping track, it's been even longer since the Packers lost a regular-season game -- at any point in the season -- to the San Francisco 49ers. The last time was in 1990, and the Packers have since won eight consecutive games against the 49ers. I realize every game stands on its own merit, but from a pregame perspective, this is a pretty good matchup for the Packers.

Brown and Blue all over: You might not recognize the Packers on Sunday when they first trot onto the field. They'll be wearing throwback uniforms from the 1929 "Acme" Packers team that won the franchise's first world championship. In those days, the Packers wore blue jerseys, brown pants and brown (logo-free) helmets. So that's what they'll be wearing Sunday. If you're interested, Packers.com published a photo gallery this week of staff members putting the final touches on said uniforms. I'm no style maven, so I'll let you be the judge.

Mettle testing: With a quarterback who committed 22 turnovers in the first 10 games of the season, Minnesota Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier wants his team focused on the running game. That sentiment makes especially good sense for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills, who are giving up significantly more yards rushing per game than any other NFL team. Opponents are averaging 167.4 yards per game against them. The next worst rush defense is the Arizona Cardinals, who are giving up 146.5. This matchup is good timing for the Vikings, who at best will have a gimpy Adrian Peterson (ankle) on the field. Whether or not Peterson plays, you can expect significant doses of rookie Toby Gerhart and possibly No. 3 tailback Albert Young as well.

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