Green Bay Packers: With Detroit Lions Stalking, Is Pack Still Tops in NFC North?

Sam Tastad@@samtastadCorrespondent IIISeptember 30, 2011

Aaron Rodgers is ready to lead Green Bay over the stalking Detroit Lions, and the rest of the NFC North.
Aaron Rodgers is ready to lead Green Bay over the stalking Detroit Lions, and the rest of the NFC North.Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Green Bay Packers are tied with the up-and-coming Detroit Lions for first place in the NFC North. Here is why the Pack are still tops in the NFC North with Detroit stalking them: 

The Packers have what it takes to hold off Detroit, but certainly the Lions will give Green Bay a run for its money.

The Packers just won the Super Bowl, while Detroit is still young. The question for Detroit is can it withstand a full season with quarterback Matthew Stafford and overtake Green Bay for the NFC North division title? 

Let's dig deeper into why the Pack still have the upper edge over Detroit:

1. The Green Bay Packers are more experienced. 

The Packers have been to the playoffs, and won. The Lions haven't been to the playoffs since 1999.

The Packers are more experienced and have what it takes down the stretch. Green Bay knows how to play when injuries and bad luck hit its team. Just remember last year when it had 16 players on injured reserve.

The Packers have a better core of players who know how to win. They have veteran leadership in key players like Charles Woodson, Donald Driver, Chad Clifton and Aaron Rodgers.

2. Aaron Rodgers is better than Matthew Stafford.

Sorry, Lions fans, but it is true. Stafford has to learn to stay healthy to be considered at the level of Aaron Rodgers.

Stafford has played in 16 games in three seasons, and Rodgers has only missed one start in the same time span.

Rodgers has a Super Bowl, and Stafford has shown a little promise as an NFL quarterback, but raised more questions with his injuries. Can he stand to play a whole season?

Certainly Stafford has the weapons around him in wide receiver Calvin Johnson, running back Jahvid Best and an emerging star in tight end Brandon Pettigrew.  However, will the Lions continue to flourish in 2011?.

3. The Green Bay Packers core of players is better.

I am not saying the Detroit Lions players aren't skilled and talented, because they are. They are probably the best young team in the NFL right now. 

The Lions are building an explosive offense and an very good defense. 

Detroit is still learning to win. It had to comeback to win over the Minnesota Vikings last week, and it was impressive.  

The Lions offense and defense have solid chemistry, but can they keep it up the rest of the season? This week they get their first tough test when they face off against the Dallas Cowboys.

As for the Packers, they have a better core of players. They know what it takes to win. Green Bay is better coached, is deeper at every position and make plays when it needs them most.

One key statistic for Green Bay is it is 49 percent on third downs. The Packers get it done when they need it most. 

4. The Green Bay Packers are more consistent. 

The Lions are on a seven-game winning streak stretching back to last season. Can they keep it up? 

Consistency is key in the NFL, and teams have to be have their A-game week in and week out. 

Can a young team, like the Lions stay focused? Veteran Kyle Vanden Bosch will have to keep the Lions afloat. 

As for the Packers, they have leadership and are disciplined. They know how to win in adversity.

Charles Woodson has been through it all—injuries, losing, you name it. Aaron Rodgers had to sit and be patient while being the backup to Brett Favre for three years. Donald Driver has been nothing but a hard worker and it paid off last year.

Let's not forget Chad Clifton, who has endured injury through his long career. 

We will just have to wait until Thanksgiving Day when the Packers and Lions square off. For now, both teams need to keep winning to keep pace for the NFC North division title.