Here are five things to watch during today’s game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers that could help tell the story when this one is in the books.
1. First Quarter Score
Trailing at the half has been a common theme for the Detroit Lions in 2012 but their propensity to get off to slow starts is more fundamental than that. It won’t take a full half to know what direction this game is going – the first quarter may be all we need to get an accurate gauge.
The Detroit Lions’ most successful outing against Aaron Rodgers came at Ford Field two years ago when they were able to put heavy pressure on Rodgers, sack him twice and come away with an interception. The Lions wound up knocking Rodgers out of the game and came away with a 7-3 win. No one is advocating going for a knockout blow, but the Lions have dictate the game on defense instead of allowing Rodgers to pick them apart.
The Packers are riding a four game winning streak after starting 2-3 and if you’re looking for what changed look no further than turnovers. The Packers have committed just two turnovers in their last four games while forcing seven by their opponents. Not much has been easy for the Lions this season and some that has been self-inflicted as they have played just one game without turning the ball over – their win over the Jaguars.
4. Running Game
The Lions and Packers aren’t among the league leaders for running the football. Look out if one of the teams is able to mount a consistently effective ground game as the extra threat makes each offense even more formidable.
5. Return Game
Randall Cobb is one of the league’s most dynamic young players and already has a punt return for a touchdown this year. The Lions have made a lot of progress in cleaning up the historically bad coverage units from earlier in the year but Cobb is a big threat. They will have enough trouble keeping Aaron Rodgers off the scoreboard without having to worry about the Packers scoring on special teams.