Let’s start this off with the Taiwanese version of Lions and Packers
The red hot Detroit Lions (4-7) will host the Green Bay Packers (7-4) on Thursday Night at Ford Field. The Lions will be looking to SWEEP the Green Bay Packers and enter the playoff hunt with a fourth straight win. The Packers have lost four of their last five games on the season and three of their last four against Detroit. The Lions dominated the Packers at Lambeau Field earlier this season with an 18-16 Lions’ victory. Let’s take a look at the matchups
Elite day for Stafford
Stafford has completed 64.9% of his 410 passes for 2,944 yard at 7.2 Yards per Attempt. Stafford has 20 touchdowns with 12 interceptions (many not his fault) and 90 QB rating (and rising). Stafford had the best game of his career on Thanksgiving (130 QB rating).
Green Bay is allowing 59.3% completion (6th), 7.4 YPA (22nd) with 14 TDs and 11 interceptions. Green Bay allows 82.7 QB rating (7th in league). Green Bay’s pass defense is strong but they do give up some yardage once a pass is completed. Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate will need to outperform the 81 and 59 yards respectively from Week 10. Calvin against Shields or Randall will be great matchups to watch. Tate against Heyward and Randall should be a good one too. The Detroit receivers must win their matchups.
Eric Ebron had 28 yards and Riddick had 25 yards in Week 10 which should be improved upon in the friendly confines of Ford Field. Pettigrew and Lance Moore had the two touchdowns. Moore also ran a poor route which caused Stafford’s lone interception. Moore may not play with ankle injury suffered against the Eagles.
If protected, Stafford can pick apart the Packers pass defense. The protection has been better since the bye with a simplified Cooter scheme. Stafford was well protected in the last game against Green Bay and was not sacked on the day. Stafford having a good day will be the key to sweeping the Packers.
Detroit Run Game against Packers Run Defense
Detroit is struggling to run the ball. Detroit runs at a rate of 3.5 YPC. Detroit had a terrible day in Week 10 at Green Bay with only 1.7 YPC. Green Bay allows 4.2 YPC (19th) and can give up some efficient rushing yards. Detroit must establish the run efficiently on Thursday night. This will help with time of possession and keep the ball out of Aaron Rodgers hands.
Aaron Rodgers is a good QB but has Regressed
Rodgers is still a very good QB with a 97 QB rating due to 24 TDs and only 4 interceptions. Rodgers has been subpar though with 60.5 % completion, 78 bad passes (MOST IN LEAGUE), 20% bad pass percentage (2nd worst in league) and 6.88 YPA this season.
Rodgers had 333 yards and 2 TDs with 0 interceptions in the failed comeback attempt against Detroit in Week 10. Rodgers only completed 57% of his 61 passes for 5.46 YPA on the day. Green Bay’s offense punted nine times before two late touchdowns due to a Calvin Johnson muffed onside kick and two missed Detroit extra points.
The Lions coverage has been strong since the bye. New faces such as Nevin Lawson, Quandre Diggs and Isa Abdul Quddus have played well. Darius Slay has been a shut-down cornerback all but one game this season. Slay should handle James Jones on Thursday. Glover Quin is a good free safety and leader for Detroit. His ankle injury will be a key for Detroit. Hopefully, Quin can play because the Packers know how to exploit James Ihedigbo. Quin playing well is what God intended.
The Lions pass rush will be the key to the game. Detroit got solid pressure in Week 10 and successfully blitzed Rodgers. Ziggy Ansah (11.5 sacks) could have a monster game against Bakhtiari. Ngata and his atomic bull rushes will be a handful for the Packers interior offensive line. Jason Jones, Devin Taylor and Carraun Reid will need to chip in to complete the sweep. Reid and Jones each had a sack in Week 10. The Packers may have some trouble due to injuries as Bulaga, Tretter, Linsley and Lang are all questionable.
Fat Eddie and the Starks Express
Lacy has played well the last two games. Green Bay has a strong 4.4 YPC on the year. However, Detroit’s run defense has been lights out since the bye. Detroit allows 4.0 YPC but has 8 very good games out of 11 in run defense.
Detroit held the Starks Express to 2.6 YPC in Week 10. Fat Eddie didn’t play that game but will return. Lacy was shut down at Ford Field last season and the Lions have enough fire power to shut him down on Thursday night. However, if Fat Eddie gets his momentum rolling, the Packers offense could spring to life.
Matt Prater is perfect on the year in field goals (14/14) but missed two huge extra points that allowed Green Bay a chance to win in Week 10. Prater has been out of practice with an illness. He must recovery or it will be Sam Martin kicking field goals. Crosby missed a 52 yard field goal against Detroit. Abdullah had 103 yard kick return against Green Bay and Tate is dangerous on punt returns. Detroit should have the advantage on special teams if Prater plays.
Detroit must continue to avoid turnovers. Detroit has turned the ball over only once in the last 3 games and it is not a coincidence that they are 3-0 in those games. Green Bay forces a below average 14 turnovers on the year and Detroit should limit the turnovers on Thursday night to 1 or none.
Green Bay protects the ball very well. Despite 13 fumbles (same as Detroit), Green Bay luckily only lost 4 of them. Green Bay only has 4 interceptions on the year due to Rodgers. Green Bay avoided all turnovers in Week 10. Detroit would do well to force 1 or 2 turnovers on Thursday.
The Lions match up very well with Green Bay. The Lions are a hot team that can get in the playoff hunt with a 4th straight win and SWEEP of the Green Bay Packers. The Packers have been struggling in four of the last five games. I hope the Lions win on Thursday for my offseason sanity (or insanity).