Green Bay Packers: 5 Players in the Spotlight against Detroit

Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images /

All eyes will be on these five Green Bay Packers’ players during their Monday Night matchup with the Detroit Lions.

The Green Bay Packers will enter Monday Night’s matchup at 4-1 while the Detroit Lions have had some extra time to prepare as they are coming off of their bye week and sit at 2-1-1 on the season. Like most NFC North matchups this is going to be a hard-fought game and the winner will be alone at the top of the division.

Green Bay is coming off of a huge road win in Dallas and they will be determined to snap their current four-game losing streak to the Detroit Lions. However, if that is going to happen they’ll need this handful of players to step up, and produce.

Jaire Alexander and Kevin King

As I just mentioned, the Green Bay Packers did win last week but they gave up a number of big plays and quite a bit of yards through the air. In total, Dak Prescott would throw for 441 yards and Dallas had four passing plays of at least 25 yards, along with 226 yards for Amari Cooper alone.

Well, this week will be another tough test for the Packers’ secondary as Matthew Stafford and the Detroit offense likes to throw the ball downfield. They currently rank seventh in the NFL in passing yards per game with 267. Meanwhile, Kenny Golladay is becoming a true number one receiver, and Marvin Jones brings that big-play potential with 15.4 yards per catch this season.

To stop this game from turning into a shootout, the Packers will need Jaire Alexander and Kevin King to lock those two Detroit receivers down.

Aaron Jones

The Green Bay Packers will once again be without star receiver Davante Adams, so the offense is going to have to rely heavily on running back Aaron Jones just as they did a week ago in Dallas. It was a career day for Jones with 107 rushing yards, four touchdowns and another 75 yards through the air. While we can’t expect him to have games like that weekly, the Packers do need Jones to be effective when he’s given opportunities.

As always establishing the run is key as it helps open up the passing game and makes life easier for Aaron Rodgers and other members of the offense. Just last week we saw how well the Packers can move the ball when the opposing defense has to worry about the running game. Whether it’s on the ground, through the air, or both, Green Bay needs to emphasize getting the ball into Jones’ hands against Detroit.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison

Without Adams in Dallas, it was a prime opportunity for the rest of the Green Bay receivers to make an impact on the game, but that didn’t exactly happen. As a whole, the wide receiver group would catch only four passes on 13 targets for a total of 55 yards. Quite underwhelming to say the least.

Fortunately, the Green Bay Packers had Jones to lean on and the tight ends were effective in the passing game. However, there is no guarantee that’ll happen again this week against Detroit, so the Packers will need Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison to step up.

The Smiths

Talk about a couple of home run free agent signings by GM Brian Gutekunst. Za’Darius Smith’s and Preston Smith’s play on the field and leadership off of it has been worth every penny that the Green Bay Packers have paid them.

Through the first five games, the Smiths have combined for 10 sacks and a whopping 54 total pressures. Their ability to get after the quarterback has led to some key sacks and has forced the quarterback to make some poor decisions which this opportunistic Green Bay defense has turned into turnovers.

Their one relatively quiet game this season came against the Philadelphia Eagles and it’s no coincidence that the Packers lost that game. Pressuring and getting after Matthew Stafford will be key and as we’ve seen from Stafford in the past, he will likely make a mistake or two.

Jimmy Graham

It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster season for Jimmy Graham up to this point as he has flat-out disappeared at times but over the last two weeks, he’s been a top target of Aaron Rodgers. Against Philadelphia and Dallas, Graham has been targeted 12 times while catching nine of those passes for 102 yards and a touchdown.

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Graham has been Rodgers’ safety valve recently and as I previously mentioned, without Adams in the lineup and some inconsistencies with the other receivers, Rodgers needs a reliable target in the passing game. And that is exactly what the Green Bay Packers paid Graham all that money to do.