All was looking good for the Detroit Lions not too long ago. But that’s the beauty of the NFL. You have to play all of the games. On Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, Jim Caldwell’s club saw its five-game winning streak fall by the wayside. The New York Giants’ defensive unit slammed down hard on Matthew Stafford and company in a 17-6 victory by Big Blue. Combine that loss with the fact that the suddenly-resurgent Green Bay Packers have reeled off four consecutive victories, and suddenly the Men from the Motor City have only a one-game lead in the NFC North with two games to play.

And what a pair of contests.

The 9-5 Lions travel this week to Big D to take on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football. Six days later they will host the Packers in what could be a game for all the marbles in the division.

On the Matt

Make no mistake. It has been a big year for the first overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft. Stafford has thrown for 3,720 yards this season, completing an impressive 66.3 percent of his passes. He’s connected for 22 touchdowns and been picked off only eight times in leading the team to the top spot in their division.

As we know, all but one of the Lions’ 14 contests have been decided by seven points or less. And thanks to the clutch play of the eight-year signal-caller, Detroit has won a lot more than it has lost.

Following a 1-3 start, Caldwell’s club is 8-2 in its last 10 games, losing only to the Houston Texans and Giants over that stretch. Can you only imagine where this team would be without Stafford’s heroics this season?

Secondary opinions

While the game in Dallas is obviously very important, it’s the clash with the Packers at Ford Field that is really the major concern.

That’s regardless of what happens this weekend for each of these NFC North rivals. Keep in mind that Green Bay held on for a 34-27 win over the Lions back in Week 3 at Lambeau Field. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has always put up big numbers in this series.

Dating back to 2008, he’s 12-3 as a starter.

The two-time NFL MVP has thrown for 3,758 yards and 30 touchdowns with only six interceptions. It’s safe to say that if the Lions do manage to win their first division title since 1993, they would have earned it in a big way.

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