Look Ahead To The Detroit Lions


Well, that certainly what I was expecting. Although the team fought valiantly in the second half, the Green Bay Packers lost their second in a row to an undefeated team, falling to the Carolina Panthers 37-29. With the loss, the Packers dropped to 6-2, which is still good enough for a shared lead in the NFC North, with Minnesota also boasting a 6-2 record.

In the first half of the game, the team didn’t look different from the game against Denver. Besides one drive, the team’s offense stalled pretty much all the time, and they were quickly down 27-7 at half. In the second half, however, the team started to look like the group fans are accustomed to seeing.

The offense finally began clicking and the defense started to hold (including an amazing, tight-rope walking interception by Damarious Randall), and the Packers actually had a chance to tie the game with two minutes left. However, Aaron Rodgers was pressured heavily and threw an interception to seal the deal.

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While the team did look competent in the second half of last weeks game, it’s still a mystery as to what team we’ll see this week. The good news, however, is that they finally return home to the cozy confines of Lambeau. The other good news? They’re playing the Detroit Lions. Let’s take a look.

Who Are They?

Not an undefeated team! The Detroit Lions (1-7) are basically the polar opposite of who the Packers have had to face for the last two weeks. Where the Panthers and Broncos were some of the best teams in the NFL, the Lions may actually be one of the worst.

With a 1-7 record, they currently hold the worst record in all of football and are far from the divisional threats they were last year, which might be music to the ears of Packers’ fans. However, they are still a divisional opponent, and still pose a threat on both sides of the ball.

Offensively, the team is still dangerous, despite being a bit inept at times. Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate are still two of the leagues more talented wide receivers, and Matthew Stafford can still throw the ball with the best of them despite major offensive line problems.

In the backfield, Ameer Abdullah, the Lions’ rookie known for his blazing speed, hasn’t exactly jumped off the pages (the Lions currently have the worst-ranked running game in the NFL), but looks to be getting a much increased role in the coming weeks. While not much has changed offensively, the Lions are a totally different defensive team.

When Ndamukong Suh left the Lions in free agency at the beginning of this year, the team knew it would be tough to replace. When defensive linemen Nick Fairley also left, it created a gap that not many players could plug up. While the Lions did acquire Haloti Ngata, it hasn’t done much to bolster the group.

Ranking in the bottom 10 in both total and rushing defense, this Lions defense has also given up the most points per game so far this season, a recipe that could spell doom for them going into Wisconsin.

What to watch for: 

Speaking of going into Lambeau, have we mentioned yet that the Lions don’t seem to do well there? In fact, the Lions haven’t defeated the Packers on the road in 24 straight games, with the last time being in 1991. On the flipside, Green Bay currently has a 12-game win streak at Lambeau Field, the longest active streak of any team at home. Needless to say, history is not on the Lions’ side.

For Green Bay, this game marks the start of a crucial four-game stretch that could ultimately end up deciding the division. To make matters worse, the team must play their next three games in just a 12-day span (Detroit on the Nov. 15, at Minnesota on the Nov. 22, and then at home on Thanksgiving, Nov. 26), something that no player would be happy about.

For the Packers to come out of this hole 4-0, they’re going to need a lot of production from their offense, and for their injured players to be ready. Unfortunately, the latter part might not be looking great.

As of practice Friday, four key players for Green Bay are officially listed as questionable for the game: Sam Shields, Mike Neal, Ty Montgomery, and Eddie Lacy. Lacy, as you may have heard, is already being benched in favor of James Starks, but his presence in the game would still be needed, as McCarthy does favor to go for one-two punches with his running backs.

Montgomery is also a key part of an offense that’s been struggling to get in rhythm, and without Sam Shields, Johnson could end up having an extremely great Sunday afternoon.

Keys to Victory: 

With or without Shields, the main key to victory for Green Bay when playing Detroit is always to try and slow down Johnson. While he was held to less than 100 yards in both games last year, he is still an extremely dangerous receiver, and with no real idea on who might be covering him, it’s going to be something you want to keep an eye on.

Something else to keep an eye on as well will be how committed to the running game Green Bay becomes. With Starks coming in to start, he could potentially kickstart an offense that’s been looking for something to happen.

For the Lions, the task is always the same: contain Rodgers, and hope for the best. Coming in with one of the league’s worst offenses (26th overall) and defenses (26th) doesn’t make things look great for Detroit. Combine that with a Packers team that:

A. Is hungry for a win.

B. Is coming home to a crowd that’s hungry for a win

C. Hasn’t lost to Detroit at home since 1991 …

… and it almost seems impossible for them to lose. That’s why I once again have Green Bay winning, although this time I’m a bit more confident in the pick.

Next: Best Of The Packers: Top 10 Punters/Kickers Since 1960

Prediction: Green Bay 28, Detroit 17