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Game Preview: Lions @ Packers For All The Divisional Marbles

The Lions head to Green Bay to take on the Packers in a game that will decide who the champion of the NFC North division will be. Does this sound odd to anyone else? In all my years as a Lions fan (at least the ones I can remember), the Lions have never played in a game to end the season that will determine who wins the division, unless of course the role they played was spoiler. I….I’m not sure what to do with my hands.

Offense

The Lions offense is terrible. They make scoring points look extremely difficult despite having arguably the game’s best wide receiver in Calvin Johnson and one of the more sure handed wide receivers in Golden Tate. There are a variety of reasons for this, reason’s I’ve pissed and moaned about all season: bad play calling, poor offensive line play, bad play from the quarterback, bad rushing attack. And on and on and on. The point is, it’s not going to be fixed. Luckily for Detroit, they have a good defense and the Lions need to score just enough points to win.

On the flip side, Green Bay is as much of a balanced team that you will find in the NFL. Not only do they have one of the leagues top scoring offenses, but their defense has been playing much better this season than in season’s past. While their defense isn’t as good as Detroit’s, it doesn’t have to be. Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the league. Period. That’s not me being trying to pander to the predominantly Packer audience we have here at FiveYardSlant, that’s me spitting the truth. For as good as Rodgers is on any given Sunday, he’s even better at home. In their previous four home games, the Packers have averaged 44.25 points per game.

A tall task awaits the Detroit Lions, that is for sure.

Defense

*DISCLAIMER*

For as much knob slobbing that I just did for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense, I’m about to do the same about the Detroit Lion’s defense.

This. The one chance the Lions have in this game. The Detroit Lions defense this season is far and away the best defense I’ve ever seen from a Lions team. It’s the reason I’ve attempted to watch them play week in and week out, more so this year than in year’s past. It’s fun to watch, especially in today’s NFL. Deandre Levy is a stud. Glover Quin? Leads the NFL in interceptions. James Ihedigbo has been the run stuffing safety that every team would love to have, and the pairing of Quin and Ihedigbo makes for one of the top safety tandems in the NFL. Then there’s the defensive line. Ndamakong Suh has upped his play this season, and Ziggy Ansah appears to have improved his game from an impressive rookie season. The two of them have been a nightmare for team’s to block. Then there are guys like Jason Jones, George Johnson, Darryl Tapp, and CJ Mosely who have played their roles well. This is a defense that, despite losing two of their better defensive players in Stephen Tulloch and Nick Fairley, has continued to chug along. Lions fans such as myself have been spoiled this year, and I for one greatly appreciate the product that Teryl Austin has coached up.

Okay, knob slobbing over.

Green Bay has a very respectable defense, and one that is more than capable of making you pay for mistakes. Ranking both 13th in total defense as well as points per game, this is a unit (giggity) that has gotten better as the year has gone on. Green Bay as a team (no doubt aided by Aaron Rodgers ability to avoid turnovers) is number one in the league in turnover differential. In fact, Green Bay has forced one more turnover than Detroit. This is exactly what a Dom Capers coached defense tries to do, force turnovers and get pressure on the Quarterback. You can’t really blame Dom Capers for this approach, because forcing a turnover often leads to number 12 scoring points as a result. If the Lions don’t take care of the football, this game can get out of hand fast.

Prediction

Does the storybook season for the Lions (never mind how sad winning a division title equates to a storybook season by Lions standards) have a storybook ending?

No, no it does not.

Detroit’s anemic offense continues to aneme, and while Detroit’s defense puts up a valiant effort, they can’t make up for the poor offensive play. Look for the time of possession to be dominated by Green Bay, and Detroit’s defense gets gassed. This game will almost be a carbon copy of the New England/Detroit game from earlier in the season.

Green Bay – 35

Detroit – 10