Returning from their bye week, can the Detroit Lions open their 2019 divisional slate with a fifth straight win against their arch-rivals from Wisconsin?
The Detroit Lions return from their bye week with a respectable 2-1-1 record. Waiting for them is a crucial matchup against a divisional rival.
The Lions travel to Lambeau Field for their first divisional 2019 game on Monday against the Green Bay Packers, in what could go a long way in determining bragging rights in the NFC North. The Packers are coming off of an impressive road win against the Dallas Cowboys while the Lions are looking to bounce back from a tough home loss against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4.
The Lions have beaten the Packers four straight times, and a win on Monday night would cement their status as a team to be reckoned with in the NFC. Naturally, there are myriad obstacles in their way wearing green, white and yellow, as the Packers have an impressive group of playmakers on both sides of the ball.
So how can the Lions pull out a much needed Week 6 win? Here, and each week, we’ll scout each team’s offense, defense, and special teams units, how they match up against each other and offer two players to watch from each squad.
When the Lions have the ball
The Lions scored 30 points for the first time this season in their Week 4 loss to the Chiefs and may need a similar output against the Packers. A balance between the air and the turf will be key, and the Lions’ ground game finally awoke in that contest, registering a season-high 186 rushing yards.
Tailback Kerryon Johnson, despite a critical fumble on an ill-advised goal-line stretch, registered 125 yards running the ball. More production like that would be a nice boost against Green Bay’s 26th ranked run defense (138.2 rush yards against per game).
Quarterback Matthew Stafford has done an excellent job of spreading the ball around this season, with four different Lions catching at least 11 balls through four weeks. Kenny Golladay continues to be his number one option and will look to take advantage against a relatively inexperienced Packers secondary.
That secondary features the highly regarded Jaire Alexander at cornerback, who is emerging as a serious talent in his second season. Expect to see him and receiver Marvin Jones in close quarters for most of Monday night. Tramon Williams, the elder statesman of the Packers’ defense and their only defensive back over the age of 26, is having a resurgent season and should see time matched up on several different Lions wideouts.
At safety, the Packers will be without rookie first-rounder Darnell Savage (ankle) but the Lions will see a familiar face on the back end in former Chicago Bear Adrian Amos, who registered a game-clinching interception against his former team on opening night. He tends to line up deeper in zone coverages, but expect him to see time covering Lions rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson, as Hockenson should be able to return from a concussion suffered in Week 4.
The Packers’ defense has been significantly energized by the installation of edge rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith. Their relentless attack has allowed defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to roll back on his blitzing, and the Lions’ offensive line will have to be sound in order to keep Stafford upright.
Expect to see heavy use of two and even three tight end sets, with some chip help to aid the Lions’ tackles. These formations confounded the Chiefs in Week 4 and could help the Lions move the ball early on in this contest.