Detroit Lions: How to beat the Green Bay Packers in Week Nine

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 29: Matt Prater
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 29: Matt Prater /

Divisional games are very important for the Detroit Lions to stay in the playoff hunt as the NFC North title will come down to the wire.

Thanks to an injury to Green Bay Packers’ starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the Detroit Lions get a better crack at the division title.

Regardless of who’s at QB, this team is always hard to beat, especially at Lambeau Field.

Score touchdowns, not field goals

Detroit’s placekicker Matt Prater is as automatic as they come, but the kicker can’t be the only offense a team has in a game. Rarely is that a recipe for success. The yards piled up last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which have a much better defense than the Packers. This is pretty encouraging for the Lions heading into a pivotal division matchup.

Nothing about Green Bay’s defense screams anything problematic. With their offense stumbling with backup quarterback Brett Hundley at the helm, this could very easily be a lopsided win for Detroit. Red zone and third down conversions need to improve mightily.

Better choice of play-calls/personnel

Getting the ground attack off and running would help open up the offense even more. Against the Packers, who struggle to stop the run, the Lions would be wise to take advantage of this matchup.

Sprinkle in more play-action (which worked pretty well in Week 8) and maybe a pass on first down, and you have a more efficient Lions offense. Another pivotal factor hampering Detroit is the lack of correct personnel usage.

No offense to any of the running backs not named Zach Zenner, but when will the Lions’ coaches get through their heads that he is the key to unlocking the running game? And why was Dwayne Washington activated over Zenner in Week 8? The failure to use him properly and putting him in tough and too-predictable-to-stop situations is hurting his play.

Instead of lining him up in painfully obvious short yardage situations with an offensive line that isn’t designed to blow defensive lineman off the ball, perhaps Detroit should get him involved on normal downs. Ameer Abdullah is the perfect change-of-pace back and is better off in that role. Theo Riddick needs to be used way more because he does damage in the open field.

Mark my words, the sooner Zenner is the main back, the sooner this running game is off to the races. Abdullah and Riddick will only benefit from this move.

Attack the Pack’ running game

Usually with a backup quarterback in the game, teams like to implement more running plays to help take some of the pressure off them. Expect a healthy dosage of running back Aaron Jones.

Ever since I noticed him in the pre-draft process leading up to the 2017 NFL draft, the rookie out of University of Texas-El Paso has been impressive. He has turned into a real steal as a fifth round gem.

Next: Detroit Lions - Is Jim Bob Cooter on the hot seat?

The Lions need to slow him down as well as quarterback Hundley from breaking big plays with their legs. Busted plays could result in big plays for the Packers wide receivers and without Rodgers, they are still very much as dangerous a group as any in the NFL.