If Vince Lombardi, Bobby Layne and Alex Karras were alive, all would likely agree that regardless of year, when the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers square off, the most important match up should take place along the lines.
Call it trench warfare. With the strength of Detroit’s front four and Green Bay’s quarterbacking under Aaron Rodgers, a premium has been placed on winning the point of attack along the line and dominating the match up.
More often than not, if the Lions can get in Rodgers’ grill and harass him, they stand a greater chance of winning the game. Problem is, that’s easier said than done sometimes thanks to his excellent decision making, which can mitigate even the slightest error by his line.
With the strength of Detroit’s front four and Green Bay’s quarterbacking under Aaron Rodgers, a premium has been placed on winning the point of attack along the line.
That line itself is also fairly good. With veterans like Josh Sitton, T.J. Lang and new blood such as Corey Linsley, David Bakhtiari and Derek Sherrod, who could be forced to step in at right tackle again in place of the injured Bryan Bulaga. It’s a stout, athletic group capable of getting a running game going and providing Rodgers more time than he needs to make decisions.
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However, it’s also a group that’s previously been dismantled by Detroit. On Thanksgiving Day, the Packers started Matt Flynn who had torched the Lions before, but the story that day was the seven sacks allowed by Green Bay’s offensive line. Flynn had no time to make decisions and was harassed nearly from the get-go.
Earlier in the year, Detroit had only gotten one sack on Rodgers in a game at Lambeau Field. Not surprisingly, that game was a blowout in favor of the Packers. In Green Bay wins against the Lions, Rodgers has time to survey the field and
How well Detroit does at home will depend on the activity of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley in the middle, the health of Ziggy Ansah on the edge as well as Jason Jones and the contributions of others, such as Devin Taylor. The Lions have plenty of bodies capable of creating mismatches.
If they’re able to turn up the heat, there’s no reason they can’t harass Rodgers enough to force some mistakes in the pocket. He won’t look like Flynn on Thanksgiving, but could still make errors. Much like the days of Bart Starr, Karras, Layne and Ray Nitschke, pressure on the quarterback will tell the story of the day.
Often times, the more things change, the more they stay the same.