Will the Detroit Lions end their long road losing streak to the Green Bay Packers? We’ll find out on Sunday but here is a look at what the SideLion Report staff sees for the game ahead.
Matt Pelc – Lions’ players seemed a bit irritated that the week leading up to the Washington game featured talk of how the Lions had never won there. This week has had similar talk. Can the Lions prepare as they did two weeks ago to snap yet another streak, this time the 22-game Wisconsin losing streak?
The Lions have shown the ability to wage great battles on the road against the Packers over the past couple of years. They blew a 14-0 lead last season and let an Aaron Rodgers-less team beat them in 2011 in an offensive battle. Those two games took place in December, this one will be in a not-yet frozen tundra, so that should help the Lions.
A win on Sunday would be huge. Setting aside the fact that getting the Green Bay monkey off their back would be huge for the franchise, perhaps more importantly they’d be 4-1 with a 3-0 divisional mark.
There is no question that the Lions CAN win in Green Bay this season, but WILL they? The Packers usually play good at home no matter who they are playing. They won decisively in their only home game, but lost both road games. They had a bye last week to figure out what went wrong in Cincinnati and to prepare for the Lions.
Had this game been at Ford Field, I’d think the Lions would win. I would expect the Packers to use the energy of their fans, and the extra planning of the bye week to help them avoid a 1-3 start. The Lions will eventually get a win here, and probably within the next few years. Just not Sunday. Packers 31, Lions 23
Braden Shackelford – This game has a lot riding on it for both teams, but particularly for the Lions, who are on their way to shedding the “same old Lions” label. Winning against the Packers at Lambeau Field for the first time since 1991 (I was born in 1992) would put that theme away for good and would bring the Lions to 3-0 in the NFC North. Among other things, a win at Lambeau would show that the Lions are legit playoff contenders, but in order to do so they have to play consistently for four quarters, something they have yet to do.
I think this is the Lions best chance to beat the Packers, they have a ton of confidence, the trio of Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush, and Matthew Stafford have been unstoppable, and the defense has been spectacular in forcing pressure and creating turnovers. On the flip side, the Packers are coming into the game fresh off a bye week and they have had extra time to game plan for Bush and Johnson. The Lions have their weapons, and the Packers have theirs, the best quarterback in football in Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, and Jordy Nelson, and a much improved run game. This game, much like every other NFL game, will come down to who turns the ball over least. I think the Lions will come to play Sunday and give the Packers a run for their money.
Prediction: Lions win 35-33
Justin Simon – Vegas doesn’t agree, but I think this game will be closer than a touchdown difference. Obviously not winning in Green Bay in over 2 decades has something to do with it, but as Lions fans saw in week three, losing streaks are meant to be broken. The Lions had some injury worries early in the week, but with both Calvin Johnson and Chris Houston returning to practice on Friday they should have a few less health concerns going into Sunday’s game.
The Packers haven’t seen a combo like Johnson and Bush yet this year, but the Lions haven’t seen a quarterback anywhere near the quality of Aaron Rodgers. I believe it comes down to those match ups. If Johnson and Bush are able to get going the Lions should be able to keep up with the Packers offense. And the Lions will need their pass rush to get to Rodgers or he could simply pick the Lions’ secondary apart all day.
My head tells me to go with Vegas, but as the saying goes: the heart wants what the heart wants. Give me Lions 34 – Packers 31 in a shootout.