Final thoughts on Packers must win matchup with Detroit

Lions quarterback Jared Goff makes a pass against the Packers during the first half on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at Ford Field.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff makes a pass against the Packers during the first half on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at Ford Field. /

At 3-5, the Green Bay Packers find themselves in a mid-season must-win game as their playoff hopes hang in the balance against a 1-6 Detroit Lions team.

As always, I have my final thoughts on the upcoming Packers matchup.

-As bad as things have been for the Packers’ offense, this matchup with Detroit could be a get-right game for them. This Lions’ defense is by far the worst in the NFL from a statistical standpoint. They don’t pressure the quarterback well and are bad against both the run and the pass. On the flip side, if the Packers continue to struggle, then there may be zero hope for them to figure it out this season.

– I’m hoping that after the performances we saw from Romeo Doubs and Samori Toure last week, there will be more opportunities for the rookies moving forward. There will still be mistakes made, but trust has to take a back seat at 3-5. The Packers’ trio of rookie receivers all bring needed big play ability.

– Christian Watson was going to be featured heavily in Buffalo had he not been injured. I’m hoping for the same formula this week if he’s healthy. Even without being targeted, his speed on vertical routes and crossers has to be accounted for, which can open up the passing game for others.

– Aaron Jones could be in store for a monster day.

– Hopefully, David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins will both be good to go, and the offensive line can find some consistency. Through eight games, the Packers have utilized seven different offensive line configurations. While there are a number of reasons behind the offense’s struggles, this lack of continuity is a big reason why.

– With the Packers not elevating Travis Fulham from the practice squad on Saturday, at least one of Allen Lazard and Christian Watson should be available. I’d guess that both play.

– This is a Lions’ defense that blitzes a lot but can’t generate consistent pressure. This is a good thing for Aaron Rodgers, who has been very good when blitzed this season.

– I am worried about the defense. The Lions’ ability to move the ball on the ground, plus their willingness to take deep shots, is a bad combination for the Packers. Joe Barry’s defense is predicated on stopping the big passing play, so I’m concerned that with that potential, he won’t provide the front seven with any additional help, which will lead to a big day for Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift, if he plays.

– With or without pressure, chances are Jared Goff will give the Packers defense a turnover opportunity or two, but the odds of that greatly increase when he is under duress. The Green Bay secondary will have to take advantage of those opportunities—something they haven’t been very good at this season.

– Behind a very good offensive line unit, the Lions have been one of the best running teams in the NFL by both yards per carry and DVOA. The Packers’ run defense, meanwhile, has been one of the worst. Expect Detroit to lean on the run game to try and control the time of possession.

– The Lions may be 1-6, but their offense can put up points, and under Dan Campbell, they will play hard for 60 minutes. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the Packers, which is another cause for concern–not to mention that, for whatever reason, strange things happen to Green Bay when at Ford Field.

– Amon-Ra St. Brown and his YAC ability will stress the Packers’ defense and their poor tackling. I don’t expect any changes to be made at safety–although I’m still curious to see if Green Bay goes with Rudy Ford over Darnell Savage in obvious running situations.

– Having Krys Barnes available is a big boost as well, given that the Packers will be without De’Vondre Campbell. While this is his first game back from injury, he could see a decent number of snaps in an effort to slow the Lions’ run game.

– Well, it’s now or never for the Green Bay Packers. This is a must-win.