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Cheese Curds, 12/29: Packers' secondary faces tough test against Lions' passing game

Green Bay's defensive backfield will be challenged this Sunday by a strong group of receivers in Detroit.

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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As the Green Bay Packers prepare to face the Detroit Lions on Sunday, they will have to prepare for a physical group of receivers that will line up in blue. Both teams are likely to put up some significant yards and points through the air, but containing the Lions' Matthew Stafford and his wideouts will be a tall task.

Detroit's receiving corps is not an overly explosive one - of the five players who average more than one reception per game, just a single one averages more than 12 yards per catch: Marvin Jones. Jones has a 17.1-yard average, but he is catching barely 50% of his targets. Instead, the Packers will be dealing with a consistent short passing game, as Stafford uses possession receivers Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin to great effect.

This means the secondary will need to be sure in their tackling on Sunday to prevent yards after the catch. If they can lock down the receivers at the catch point, it should be tough sledding for the Lions.

Here's a look at a few members of the Packers' secondary in today's Cheese Curds.

Aaron Rodgers looks to 'find that zone' again |
The Packers' QB hasn't thrown a pick in six straight games (knock on wood) and he was responsible for all five of the team's touchdowns last Sunday. If he can harness that same "headspace" over the next few weeks, nobody stands a chance.

Packers hope to find some help for Gunter |
LaDarius Gunter barely played last season, but he has been the team's steadiest and healthiest corner this year and he'll be the one counted on the most this Sunday to keep Matthew Stafford's receivers limited.

For Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Charles Woodson's advice, pep talk were game-changers - ESPN
Even though the Packers didn't play in the Hall of Fame Game this summer, their top safety had a meaningful conversation with a man who will surely be inducted in Canton in a few years. That conversation has been a huge benefit for Clinton-Dix, who earned his first Pro Bowl nod this year.

One Big Play: Week 16 – Minnesota Vikings | Pack to the Future
This film review piece actually looks at a pair of big plays - Clay Matthews' strip-sack and Aaron Rodgers' touchdown scramble.

Why NFL Coaches Take No Chances - WSJ
Believe it or not, Mike McCarthy is mentioned as one of the most aggressive coaches in the NFL - perhaps in part due to his propensity to go for it on fourth down.

How all 31 first-round picks have played | PFF
Kenny Clark's play is discussed here, but it is described as mainly "nondescript" as he gradually gets worked into the defense.

Should an NFL team rest its starters in Week 17? 5 things to consider. -
Former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz breaks down a handful of qualities to think about when deciding whether or not to sit key players. Of course, for the Packers it is pointless to consider, since the NFC North and a home playoff game are on the line on Sunday.