Green Bay Packers v. Lions: Getting to Know the Opponent

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 14: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions drops back to pass during a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 14, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 14: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions drops back to pass during a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 14, 2019 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions are coming to town this Sunday. Here is what you need to know about the Green Bay Packers’ opponent.

Week 2 of the NFL season is almost upon us, and the Green Bay Packers are looking to move to 2-0, both on the season and in the NFC North. Coming to town are the pesky Detroit Lions, who are coming off a heartbreaking and very Lions-like loss to Chicago.

While my guess is that most will agree that the Packers should win this game, in recent years, the Lions have played Green Bay very tough. In fact, as I’m sure you recall, despite the Packers winning both games against Detroit last year, they never led in regulation.

In this week’s edition of ‘Getting to Know the Opponent,’ to help you prepare for the Lions, I worked with Bob Heyrman of Detroit Jock City, where they cover anything and everything Detroit sports. Bob was kind enough to answer five of my questions about the Lions, and as always, I reciprocated and answered five of his about the Green Bay Packers, so be sure to check that out as well.

Now, let’s dive into the Detroit Lions!

It’s Year 3 for Matt Patricia, is this his make or break year?

It is indeed a make-or-break season for head coach Matt Patricia, along with general manager Bob Quinn for that matter. Both entered the 2020 regular season needing to show promise, along with proving to ownership that this organization is making strides in the right direction.

Over the offseason, the Detroit Lions endured a shift in ownership. It was Martha Firestone Ford giving way to her daughter Sheila Ford Hamp. But before Sheila took the reins, Martha had a meeting with team President Rod Wood, Quinn, and Patricia, stating Detroit needs to be playing meaningful games come December. Sheila was also in that meeting, and since overtaking the organization, she exclaimed those sanctions would remain in place.

After last week’s embarrassment, there is a real chance Detroit will start the season 0-4 heading into their week five bye, and that may become doomsday for both Quinn and Patricia.

Takeaway: Not that the Lions have to make the playoffs, but I imagine that they’ll have to at least be competing for a playoff spot at the end of the year for Patricia to be back. Like many of the Bill Belichick disciples before him, on his own, he’s struggling to find success. This Detroit team plays hard, but in the win column where it matters most, they aren’t producing.

What would you say is the strength and weakness of this Lions team?

The strength of this Detroit Lions team comes on offense. It’s a high-powered offense that has Darrell Bevell running the show. His down-field attacking philosophy plays perfectly to Matthew Stafford’s strengths.

Stafford, at 32-years old, still possesses one of the stronger arms in the league, keeping defenses honest. Bevell likes to set-up those deep passing attempts to Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and Marvin Hall with a respectable run game.  Adrian Peterson proved last week that he’s still capable of getting the job done on the ground rushing for 93 yards on just 14 totes, averaging a stellar 6.6 yards per carry.

Detroit’s weakness continues to be its team-defense. It seems like a vague statement, but it is true. It’s a team that struggles defending both the run and pass. Matt Patricia’s ‘bend-don’t-break’ style of defense also allows for an abundance of yards against. This was a historically bad defense last season, and after yielding 21 unanswered fourth-quarter points to the Chicago Bears last week, things don’t look too promising.

Takeaway: The Green Bay Packers should win this game by two scores, but I could see Detroit hanging around because of their explosive offense. Last season the Green Bay defense was susceptible to the big play, and we saw a bit of that on Sunday against Minnesota as well. If Stafford is given the opportunity, he will take advantage, just as he did in their Week 6 matchup.

Defensively, I’m not sure how the Lions are going to stop this Packer offense. Aaron Rodgers is red-hot, and I see Aaron Jones having a big day on the ground as well.

Who is a player or two that Packer fans may not be as familiar with but could make an impact?

If any other market had posed this question, the answer would quickly be Quintez Cephus, but you are too familiar with his work.  He’s looked brilliant early on in a Detroit Lions uniform, and if I may add, I wasn’t very excited when Detroit selected him in the 2020 NFL Draft, but the young man has quickly won me over.

A player to watch is center Frank Ragnow.  Usually, fans want to see a flashy running back or pass-catcher, but Ragnow is a budding-star on this youthful Detroit Lions offensive line.  In addition to being a tremendous pre-snap signal-caller, Ragnow will regularly create push on the interior in the run game, and he’s proven to be a reliable pass-blocker.  Last week Ragnow was rewarded with an excellent overall grade of 80.0 according to Pro Football Focus and an elite 81.3 mark as a run blocker.

Takeaway: Naturally, I am a Badger fan and a huge fan of Quintez Cephus. By all accounts, and as Bob points out, he was excellent in camp. With no Kenny Golladay last week, Cephus was targeted 10 times, hauling in three for 43 yards, and I expect him to have plenty of opportunities this week as well.

Meanwhile, Ragnow will be up against a Green Bay Packers’ run defense that still looked underwhelming last week, even before Kenny Clark left the game. With Clark possibly out for this Sunday’s game, and facing a backfield of Kerryon Johnson, Adrian Peterson, and D’Andre Swift, the interior defensive line will have their hands full again.

Stafford was off to a hot start last season before being injured. Ultimately the Lions ended with 3 wins. What are the expectations this season?

Matthew Stafford had been on pace to throw for 5,000 yards and nearly 40 touchdowns before being shutdown with that lingering broken back injury.  The expectations entering the 2020 season had been similar offensive production and doubling their total wins from three to six.  It’s a daunting Lions schedule, and many fans expect an eight-win season, but I can’t come up with more than six, and with that week one loss, it’s possible the high-water mark is just five.

Takeaway: There seemed to be quite a few people out there this offseason that were quite high on this Lions team heading into 2020. However, I tend to agree with Bob. I don’t see them truly competing for a playoff spot, and the five to six win range sounds about right.

What is your prediction for how Sunday’s game plays out along with a final score?

The Detroit Lions are banged up in their secondary.  Their top two corners, Justin Coleman and Desmond Trufant, are both out Sunday due to injury.  The third overall pick, Jeff Okudah, missed week one with a hamstring injury, so his status remains in limbo, and if he is activated, it may be on a pitch-count.

Next. 5 Burning Questions for Week 2. dark

After watching Aaron Rodgers carve up the inexperienced Vikings corners last week, I’d expect more of the same against Detroit.  I don’t expect the Lions will have an answer for Davante Adams, in particular, the stellar receiver may go for 200.  I’d expect Green Bay to score early and often, winning this week two matchup comfortably, 38-24.

Takeaway: I’ll save my detailed prediction for our Saturday morning article here at Dairyland Express when we make our staff predictions. But yeah, the Green Bay Packers win.