Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) falls over the goal line for a touchdown after recovering his own fumble.
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ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions ended one long road skid this season and get a shot at halting another this weekend.
The Lions (3-1) have lost 22 straight games in Wisconsin, including 19 straight at Lambeau Field. They head to Green Bay on Sunday with a chance for a third NFC North victory that would keep them atop the division.
Players and coaches certainly have heard plenty about the streak, but they are trying to approach the Packers like just another opponent.
It’s the same mindset we have every time we play a road game,” quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “Lambeau’s a tough environment but it’s no different than any other place.”
Detroit ended a 21-game losing streak at Washington last month, a skid dating to 1935. The Lions’ last victory in Green Bay was Dec. 15, 1991 — a few months after rookie guard Larry Warford was born.
Past schedules almost always seemed to send the Lions to Green Bay in December, but weather shouldn’t be an issue this season. Stafford said it’s not that big a deal.
“I think we set a franchise record for offense there a couple years ago when it was snowing,” he said. “Everybody likes playing in good weather and we’re no different than anyone else.”
The Lions had perhaps their best overall performance of the season in Sunday’ 40-32 win over visiting Chicago. The Lions led 40-16 midway through the fourth quarter, sacked Bears quarterback Jay Cutler three times and had four takeaways, including a fumble returned for a touchdown. Running back Reggie Bush, who missed the Washington win with a knee injury, amassed 173 yards from scrimmage, including a 37-yard touchdown run.
At the very least, the Lions should make the trip with plenty of reasons to believe they have a chance to end the skid.
“Right now, we’re doing well and we know we can do a lot better, but our confidence is on the high end,” said safety Louis Delmas, who had two interceptions in the win over Chicago.
The Lions’ defense will have its hands full against quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who has eight touchdown passes against three picks in the Packers’ first three games. Asked to rate him, Delmas said he’s definitely in the top three.
“He might be No. 1 in arm strength,” Delmas added. “He’s very smart and he can run. He’s an athlete.”
Rodgers also has been sacked 10 times and faces a Detroit defensive line that has seven so far.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81), defended by Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman (33), catches a two-yard touchdown from quarterback Matthew Stafford.
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Coach Jim Schwartz said a win this weekend would be huge for his team, but not because it would end the streak.
“No. 1, it would be our fourth win of the year,” he said. “No. 2, it would make us 3-0 in our division. It would give us another chance to put a loss on a division opponent. We certainly want to end the streak, but that’s not our rallying cry. Our rallying cry is ‘Green Bay’ and ‘division game.’ Those are the things that will mean more to the players.”
The Lions’ streak of futility in Wisconsin includes a playoff game at Lambeau Field and three defeats at Milwaukee County Stadium. The teams meet on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit.
NOTES: Receiver Nate Burleson, who suffered a broken arm in a Sept. 24 car accident, posted photos of his totaled 2009 GMC Yukon on Instagram Tuesday. “I’m releasing these pix for 2 reasons: 1) I walked away from a totaled vehicle #Blessed. 2) I have to hear all the pizza jokes . lol I’ll start - Yes I am the 5th Ninja Turtle,” he wrote on his account. The crash happened after he tried to keep pizza boxes from sliding off the front passenger seat.
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