The Detroit Lions travel into historic Lambeau Field Sunday night to do battle with the Green Bay Packers. The Frozen Tundra has been a house of horrors for The Detroit Lions as they continue to battle ghosts of the past and present. Detroit hasn’t won in Green Bay since George H. Bush was President all the way back on December 15th, 1991 by a score of 21-17.
This Packers team hasn’t been overly impressive on the year as they are average in almost every way except you guessed it, quarterback. Still though Aaron Rodgers isn’t having the assault on the record books or even putting up a ton of yards. He however is throwing touchdowns which in the end will win you football games (obviously). In addition to the touchdowns, Rodgers has also taken care of the football with only 8 interceptions thrown on the year. Furthermore the Green Bay QB has sported a league high QB rating of 105.0 on the year showing incredible patience and ability to come through in big spots. This could seen three weeks ago when the Lions did a good job at containing Rodgers (for the most part) however it was Rodgers coming through in the end to help put his team over the top.
The Packers no question will take advantage of being home where they boast a 5-1 record. Green Bay though will still be without their heartbeat on defense in Clay Matthews something the Lions will certainly need to expose. Without Matthews the Green Bay ability to create pressure goes down tremendously.
Despite the Lions for the most part being out of playoff contention, this is still a game that’s going to tell us a lot about the team and especially the coaching staff. After all the distractions, the preseason hype and disappointment you have to wonder if this team has tuned out the coaching staff. Essentially this game on the road will tell if Schwartz deserves another year.
The key once again this week is quarterback Matthew Stafford who had a less than desirable game against Green Bay last time. In that game at Ford Field Stafford was 17-39 with 2 INTs, a game any QB would want to forget. Stafford though must remember the mistakes made last time out especially with the overthrows and the misses on the screen opportunities. Stafford should be able to put up yards but needs to be mindful of the opportunistic Packers secondary. They will sit in coverage and jump a route if things become routine as they did last time out against the Lions. Bottom line the Packers secondary is still dangerous even without Charles Woodson who continues to be sidelined with a collarbone injury.
In terms of the Lions’ running game I would not be surprised to see Joique Bell become more of a feature on offense this week as he has quite frankly been better than Mikel Leshoure. As for the rest of the offense it hinges on the league’s best play maker right now, Calvin Johnson. He is playing out of his mind this season as he just keeps getting yards no matter what teams throw at him. With that said who steps up this week in single coverage? The hope for the Lions is Pettigrew as he is a threat in the middle of the field, if he can just hang on to the football.
Defensively the line has picked up the pressure, but needs to work on filling gaps instead of over playing to get a sack. The Linebacking core is under heavy watch with D’Andre Levy a free agent in the offseason and playing for a job next year here in Detroit. With that in mind this upcoming draft is linebacker heavy with talent across the board and with the Lions having up to 7 starters to replace the whole defense has really been put on notice.
In the end though I can’t see Detroit going into Green Bay and getting a win. The Packers are currently tied with the Bears for the NFC North lead and just a couple of wins away from securing a spot in the playoffs. There’s no way the Packers take the Lions lightly and Rodgers should beat up on a Detroit secondary that lacks real talent.
Packers 34, Lions 24