The Detroit Lions face off against the Green Bay Packers this Sunday with Aaron Rodgers and company coming to town.
Last Sunday, The Packers were trailing the Jets 21-3 nearing halftime before Rodgers and the Packers’ offense led a late surge to come from behind and win 31-24. It will be a tough challenge for the Lions to defend against Rodgers as he’s had plenty of success against them. The Packers are 9-0 against the Lions in games that Aaron Rodgers has started and finished.
The dangerous and deadly Packers offense will feature three or four wide receiver sets quite often, so the Lions will quickly need to find an answer at the nickel cornerback position with both Bill Bentley and Nevin Lawson out for the year.
Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin will have to be on his “A” game when dialing blitzes because if we’ve learned anything over the past six years, you cannot defeat Aaron Rodgers with a constant four-man rush.
On the flip side, Green Bay’s defense leaves a lot to be desired. They’ve given up a whopping 176.5 rushing yards per game on 4.8 yards per attempt to start the season, and their defensive line has struggled mightily.
The Lions have struggled running the ball on offense to start the year, so this may be a perfect opportunity to get things going on the ground.
OT Bryan Bulaga – Knee – Questionable
CB Casey Hayward – Glute – Questionable
DB Micah Hyde – Knee – Probable
LB Brad Jones – Quadricep – Out
LB Andy Mulumba – Knee – Out
The Lions are favored by 2.5 points
Keys to Winning
It goes without saying, but the most important thing for the Lions will be putting pressure on Aaron Rodgers and his offensive linemen. Through two games, Rodgers has been sacked a total of seven times and has fumbled the ball three times.
Rodgers has been lights out to start the year, but when pressured, he’s completing just 47.4% of his passes at 5.1 yards per attempt.
The Lions have gotten plenty of pressure from their interior line this year, but they’re going to need more out of their athletic defensive ends if they want to be successful. Unfortunately, the Lions are pretty banged up on defense currently, with defensive linemen Ezekiel Ansah, Nick Fairley and George Johnson questionable for Sunday’s game, among others.
Another key factor for Sunday’s game will be the turnover battle. Against the Panthers, the Lions turned the ball over three times and couldn’t force any for themselves. If they want to beat the Packers, they cannot afford to squander as many opportunities as they did against Carolina.
The Lions haven’t had much luck against the Packers with Aaron Rodgers under center. Though these teams are closely matched in talent, we have yet to see the Lions play disciplined football. I believe the Lions will be very competitive this year, but I wouldn’t call them contenders until they learn how to stop shooting themselves in the foot.
I predict the Lions come out on top early, but a few late turnovers give the Packers hope, and Aaron Rodgers makes the best of what’s given to him. Nate Freese is given a chance at redemption but fails to hit the game tying field goal as time expires, and the Lions lose 27-24.
(Hopefully this is a reverse jinx)