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Packers 60-second rant: Look for points aplenty on Turkey Day

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Dan Arkush
Executive editor

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Posted Nov. 22, 2011 @ 6:55 p.m. ET
By Dan Arkush

I'm not quite ready yet to make a final prediction on the Packers' highly anticipated Turkey Day bash with the Lions, taking place in the Motor City just two short days from now. But one thing I think I can safely predict is that there's no way only 10 total points will be scored, as was the case the last time the Packers invaded Motown.

Even if, God forbid, Aaron Rodgers goes down in a heap very early in the game and is forced to the sideline — as he was in Green Bay's ugly 7-3 loss in Week 14 last season, which is the last time the Lions and Packers met — both teams have way too much firepower, and way too many defenders prone to breakdowns, for there to be a low-scoring repeat.

After being duped into believing the Packers' defense might have been finally getting its act together following its strong effort against the Vikings, I am back to having major concerns about a unit that had all kinds of problems stopping a very ordinary Tampa Bay offense.

I will give some credit to Bucs RB LeGarrette Blount for what really was a tremendous effort on his 54-yard TD run the other day, which brought back memories of Marshawn Lynch's wild-card stunner against the Saints. But I counted at least four really lame tackle attempts by the Packers on that play, and all of a sudden, it seems like the defense is regressing both against the pass and the run.

The Lions' defense, meanwhile, hasn't looked anything like the unit that was so dominant against the Packers in Week 14 last season. I still think DT Ndamukong Suh has enough talent to become a perennial Defensive MVP candidate. But I have yet to see a truly dominant performance from Suh this season, which surprises me.

Take the "over," I say, whatever the number is.

One final rant: Green Bay's offense appears to have dodged a bullet, with it looking like RB James Starks' knee might be healthy enough to allow him to play on Thursday (Starks participated on a limited basis in today's practice). That's a good thing, although it's not a given Starks will suit up.

While I still think Ryan Grant is capable of making his presence felt, I really like the way Starks looked on those check-down passes in the last game. He is blossoming into a well-rounded performer very capable of becoming an every-down back not too far down the road.

With the colder weather upon us, I see him becoming an increasingly important contributor.

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