When the Packers have the ball
Aaron Rodgers has only played a full game against the Lions once over the past two seasons – he was forced out by an injury early in last season’s finale. Still, his dominance over Detroit seems to be moving further into the past as the Lions have controlled this matchup since the start of 2017.
Rodgers though remains a singular talent, capable of taking over a game at any given moment. His unique arm talent aside, he is always dangerous on scrambles when the play breaks down. The Lions have been victimized several times this season on key third and fourth down scampers by quarterbacks, and they will need their linebackers to be disciplined and vigilant whenever Rodgers leaves the pocket.
Rodgers will be without the services of his favorite receiver, and the most well-rounded wideout in the division in Davante Adams (turf toe). It’s a major loss, and the stable of pass catchers behind him hasn’t been able to bridge the production gap this year. Consider that Adams has totaled 25 catches and 378 yards in four games, while behind him, wideouts Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Jake Kumerow have combined for just 29 grabs for 360 yards. It’s as big a dropoff in talent as you’ll find among NFL receiving corps.
This should be a distinct advantage for Detroit, particularly the way that their cornerbacks have been performing in 2019. Darius Slay seems on track to return from a hamstring injury that cost him the Chiefs game, veteran Rashaan Melvin has been a solid addition and Justin Coleman has been making plays all over the field. It will be interesting to see if the Lions are careful with Slay’s workload in his return from injury, particularly if the Packers run sets with fewer wideouts in favor of run-heavy formations.
Speaking of that running game, nothing was a bigger factor for the Packers in their impressive road victory over the Cowboys last week. With their passing game hampered due to Adams’ absence, they leaned on third-year tailback Aaron Jones, and he delivered. Jones piled up 107 rushing yards on 19 carries with a whopping four touchdowns on the ground. He figures to get a similar amount of touches on Monday, and the Lions can’t afford to give up their average of 124.8 rushing yards against Jones and company.