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Sunday Insider: Northern Intelligence

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG
  • Star Tribune
  • December 29, 2012 - 5:59 PM

Putting Brad Childress in lockdown at a Minneapolis hotel before he had a chance to interview in Green Bay in 2006 no longer seems as if it would have been all that necessary. The Pack hired Mike McCarthy, whose 32-9 division record since 2006 ranks second behind only Bill Belichick's 33-8 record against the AFC East. McCarthy is riding a franchise-record 12 consecutive division victories. He's also 1-0 in games played in February.

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Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has the single-season receiving record and needs 108 yards more to reach 2,000. But he's not the only guy in Detroit whose individual stats are being padded while playing on a 4-11 team that often plays from behind. Quarterback Matthew Stafford needs 305 yards against the visiting Bears on Sunday to become the first NFL quarterback to post consecutive 5,000-yard passing seasons. The Saints' Drew Brees probably will beat him to the mark, because he needs only 219 yards to do it.

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Things could get ugly in the trenches between the Bears and Lions at Ford Field on Sunday. First, Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton called the Lions "dirty" and "cheap." Then he said center Dominic Raiola was "old and just talks." Then Raiola returned fire, calling Melton "a clown." Raiola also ripped Melton's selection as an NFC Pro Bowl starter. "I mean, this guy, he made it to the Pro Bowl?" Raiola said. "This guy made the Pro Bowl? [Over Vikings tackle] Kevin Williams ...? [Over Lions tackle Ndamukong] Suh, who's a better player than this guy? Come on." Kind of makes you miss Pat Williams' trash talking, eh?

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