Packers prepare for playoffs with victory over Lions

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December 30, 2007
— The Green Bay Packers didnít have to choose between playing it safe and playing to win on Sunday.

The Packers finished their turnaround regular season with a 34-13 victory over the Detroit Lions while resting several key players for the playoffs.

Brett Favre extended his quarterback-record consecutive starts streak to 253 games, but even he didnít keep his helmet strapped on for very long. Favre led the Packers (13-3) to touchdowns on their first three possessions before handing the ball to backup Craig Nall in the second quarter.

Many of Favreís most prominent teammates didnít dress for Sundayís game and werenít really needed to beat Detroit (7-9) and tie a franchise record for most victories in a season. The Lions delivered an uninspired performance in what might have been their last game with Mike Martz as their offensive coordinator.

Having already clinched the NFCís No. 2 playoff seed, the Packers rested top wide receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings, cornerback Charles Woodson, defensive end Aaron Kampman, tight end Donald Lee and defensive tackle Ryan Pickett. The Packers are assured a first-round bye and one home playoff game, but Dallas has home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

Green Bay wasnít able to completely avoid injuries Sunday, as running back Ryan Grant left the game with a stinger in the first quarter, and cornerback/punt returner Will Blackmon was carted to the locker room with a foot injury just before halftime.

Grant provided the bulk of the Packersí offense before his injury, scoring on a 27-yard cutback run on Green Bayís first possession and rushing for a total of 57 yards before he got up holding his left arm after a 1-yard run.

Favre finished the Packersí second drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Koren Robinson. Packers safety Atari Bigby then intercepted Jon Kitnaís pass and Favre drove the Packers for a 4-yard pass to Bubba Franks that put Green Bay ahead 21-3 with 14:12 left before halftime.

Favre was 9-of-11 for 99 yards and two touchdowns before he was replaced by Nall, who tossed a 32-yard touchdown to Ruvell Martin on fourth-and-2 late in the third quarter. Nall played instead of second-stringer Aaron Rodgers, sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Kitna was 22-of-48 with a touchdown and two interceptions for Detroit.

The Lions began the game with a 54-yard kickoff return by Aveion Cason that led to a 35-yard field goal by Jason Hanson. Detroit didnít score again until Kitna found Shaun McDonald wide open for a 30-yard touchdown pass just before halftime, making the score 21-10.

It was an unimpressive showing on both sides of the ball for the Lions, who lost seven of their last eight games after starting 6-2. Detroit hasnít won in Wisconsin since 1991.

Detroit was without injured running back Kevin Jones and wide receiver Roy Williams on Sunday, and played amid multiple media reports that Martz would be fired after the season. A team spokesman had no comment on Martzís status. Martzís agent, Bob LaMonte, did not immediately return a telephone message left by The Associated Press on Sunday.

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