The Lions have a long way to go before they're on the same "playing field" as the Green Bay Packers.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers recorded their fourth consecutive victory over the Lions Sunday, 31-24, and put on display what a true playoff-caliber team looks like.
Rodgers was his usual terrific stuff, throwing for 290 yards and three touchdowns on 26-of-33 passing.
But, it wasn't just the play of Rodgers that was key to the Packers' Week 14 win at Ford Field.
They also got it done on the ground with Aaron Jones leading the way (15 rushes for 69 yards) and through a strong defensive performance, which saw Green Bay limit Matthew Stafford to 244 passing yards and a lone TD.
Sure, Stafford can play at a high level, and still produced a passer rating of 100.6.
And rookie running back D'Andre Swift has shown signs, including briefly on Sunday at Ford Field, that he's good enough to be the lead back in Motown for a long time.
However, there's more to a highly competitive NFL team than just those two elements.
Specifically, you also have to have a competent defense that's able to make stops in the second half of games.
That's a huge part of the formula for success for an organization.
The difference between the Lions' and the Packers' defenses was on full display in this Week 14 tilt.
Both defenses went into halftime, having allowed two scores each, with the game tied up at 14 apiece.
However, once the two teams came out for the start of the second half, their respective defensive units went in opposite directions.
Detroit's defense faltered, while Green Bay's got better and limited the Lions' offensive attack to 10 second-half points.
Subsequently, the game's momentum shifted largely in favor of the Packers.
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Sure, Stafford did lead Detroit on a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive in the fourth quarter that cut the team's deficit to one touchdown, 28-21, with 6:30 to play.
However, Rodgers & Co. answered right back, via a 57-yard Mason Crosby field goal.
Cory Undlin's defense wasn't as bad as it was in its first outing of the season against the Packers in Week 2, when it allowed 488 total yards and six offensive scores.
However, it still wasn't good enough -- a clear-cut sign of how the Lions aren't on the same level as Green Bay. Yet, to the credit of Detroit interim head man Darrell Bevell, his players fought until the bitter end.
"I'm proud of the team. Like I said at the beginning of this thing, these guys are ready to fight. They want to continue to play, week in and week out," Bevell told reporters after the game. "You know, I think, as you saw, they were in it until the end. And we were going toe to toe with one of the best teams, obviously in our division, but also in the NFC. So, I couldn't be happier for these guys and the way that they played."
A tutorial on what it takes to be a winner in the NFL in 2020 was hugely visible Sunday, courtesy of the Packers.
Now, the onus is on the next Lions regime to use it as a blueprint to build a winner in the Motor City.
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