Detroit vs. Green Bay: Chalk up another ‘L’ for the Lions
By Jay Schmidt
Look, the Detroit Lions are not going to win when they face the Green Bay Packers this Sunday at Lambeau Field. Its simply not going to happen. Detroit has not claimed victory in the state of Wisconsin since 1991. Think about that. A lot can be accomplished in 18 years but apparently winning just one game at Green Bay is not one of those things. Expect this epic losing streak to extend to 19 years, and here’s two big reasons why:
REVOLVING DOOR IN THE LIONS SECONDARY
Phillip Buchanon, Anthony Henry and Will James have been interchangeable in the starting cornerback slots and none of the three have found any shred of consistency. Aside from James’ pick-six interception return last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the cornerbacks have been a lackluster. Even lackluster might be giving them too much credit. With nickle back Eric King gone for the year on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, the Lions signed veteran DB DeMarcus Faggins this week. Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz is basically throwing any defensive back option against the wall to see if it will stick. At safety, Louis Delmas has been the only consistent, albeit a little bit reckless, presence. Delmas needs to reign it in a little and play smarter. At the other safety spot, Marquand Manuel and Ko Simpson have been exchanging injuries and playing time. All in all, this has been a secondary re-arranged more times than one of those little hand-held mosaic puzzles with just one piece missing. Problem is, Lions are missing three or four pieces back there. Expect Aaron Rodgers to pick apart the Lions on slants and deep outs, as receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver have historically enjoyed outstanding days against Detroit. Oh…and count on Packer TE Jermichael Finley to have at least one TD reception in the red zone, as Delmas will surely misdiagnose a play and get burned by the TE escaping wide open into the back of the end zone.
NO CALVIN JOHNSON
All indications point to the Lions best player sitting on the sideline this Sunday. Johnson is still recovering from a knee injury sustained against Pittsburgh and it looks like he will be held out of the Green Bay contest. So without Detroit’s only real offensive threat in the lineup, the Packers should be able to crowd the box with eight defenders AND still be able to hold their own in coverage. Bryant Johnson, Dennis Northcutt, Derrick Williams and John Standeford are not going to scare anybody. Williams had a couple nice grabs against the Steelers and Northcutt seemed to come to life in his expanded role once Megatron was out of the game, but keep in mind that Green Bay has arguably the best starting defensive back tandem in the NFL in Charles Woodson and Al Harris. Harris has especially owned the Lions in his career and has been a nightmare for assorted Lions receivers, in particular former Lion WR Roy E. Williams, who called Harris the best DB he has ever gone up against. Look for Harris and Woodson to bully the Lion receivers at the line of scrimmage to bump them off their routes, making it difficult for the Detroit QB (either Daunte Culpepper or Matthew Stafford) to get the ball off in time before the ensuing Packer rush collapses the pocket. If slow decision-making Culpepper plays, he could be looking at the ground even more than he did during the failed final drive against the Steelers.