Game Info: Sunday, October 7th at 12:00PM CST on FOX: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Odds: Pick ‘em; o/u 51
Detroit Lions: 1-3 (Lost @ Dallas Cowboys last week 24-26)
Head Coach: Matt Patricia (1-3, first NFL season as HC)
All-Time Series: Packers lead 100-70-7, includes 2-0 record in Postseason (Lions swept Packers last year for the first time since 1991)
Injury Report: DE Ezekiel Ansah (OUT-shoulder), G TJ Lang (OUT-concussion), TE Michael Roberts (OUT-knee), DB Quandre Diggs (QUES-hand), DL Da’Shawn Hand (QUES-ankle), LB Eli Harold (QUES-unknown), WR Marvin Jones Jr. (QUES-ankle), CB Nevin Lawson (QUES-illness), DB Tracy Walker (QUES-ankle), S Tavon Wilson (QUES-back)
Detroit Lions Expected Starting Lineup:
|OFFENSE||DEFENSE (4-3 alignment)|
|QB||9||Matthew Stafford||LDE||61||Kerry Hyder|
|RB||29||LeGarrette Blount||DT||97||Ricky Jean-Francois|
|RB2||33||Kerryon Johnson||DT||92||Sylvester Williams|
|RB3||25||Theo Riddick||RDE||93||Da’Shawn Hand|
|WR1||15||Golden Tate||WLB||52||Christian Jones|
|WR2||11||Marvin Jones Jr.||MLB||40||Jarrad Davis|
|WR3||19||Kenny Golladay||SLB||42||Devon Kennard|
|TE:||82||Luke Wilson||CB||23||Darius Slay|
|TE:||87||Levine Toilolo||FS||27||Glover Quinn|
|LT||68||Taylor Decker||SS||28||Quandre Diggs|
|LG||77||Frank Ragnow||CB||24||Nevin Lawson|
|C||60||Graham Glasgow||CB||31||Teez Tabor|
|RG||79||Kenny Wiggins||K||5||Matt Prater|
|RT||71||Ricky Wagner||P||6||Sam Martin|
After starting the season with a humiliating 17-48 loss to the New York Jets at home the Lions have since turned in a very impressive win against the New England Patriots and have suffered own the wire road losses at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys. QB Matthew Stafford leads the Lions offense for the 10th season and still supplies a dangerous aerial attack with a talented receiving core of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr. and second year man Kenny Golladay who has shown flashes of great potential. The ground game features their second-round draft pick in Kerryon Johnson who ranks 16th in the NFL in carries even though he has been splitting carries with bruising veteran LeGarrette Blount and third down back Theo Riddick. Lions fans have been clamoring to see more carries for Johnson just like how Green Bay fans are clamoring for with RB Aaron Jones. While both teams are led by talented quarterbacks, injuries may force both teams to rely on their ground games to get the job done on Sunday. Here are some keys to a Packers victory:
RUN IT DOWN THEIR THROATS
With Aaron Jones back in the fold, the Packers running game has an exciting new dimension to it to go along with bruising back Jamal Williams and swiss-army knife Ty Montgomery. Since returning from a two-game suspension Jones has led the Packers with 107 yards rushing on 17 carries with 59 of those yards being after contact. The Lions run defense on the other hand has been awful so far in 2018 ranking as the second-worst in the NFL. Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott ran for 152 yards last week and with star DE Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah declared out for Sunday’s contest and the Packers receiving core severely ailing it will be imperative that the Packers’ run game steps up.
SLOW DOWN THE YOUNG KIDS
The Lions have one of the more balanced receiving units in all of the NFL and with Kenny Golladay they now also present a dangerous weapon in the slot. The 6’4” second year wide-out from Northern Illinois University has amassed 23 receptions, 330 yards and two touchdowns through four weeks. His counterpart on offense Kerryon Johnson, the rookie running back out of Auburn University is averaging 5.7 yards per carry on 38 attempts to go along with 11 receptions out of the backfield. Two weeks ago, against New England, Johnson ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns to help give Head Coach Matt Patricia his first win in the NFL against his former employer Bill Belichick. While Tate, Jones Jr., Blount and Riddick provide veteran stability as the Lions’ offensive playmakers, it’s the young tandem of Johnson and Golladay that need to be contained or it could be a long afternoon for the Jekyll and Hyde Packers’ defense.
GET TO STAFFORD
Through the first six seasons of his career Stafford had a rough time against the Packers’ defense and had a record of 3-9, but since 2015 Stafford has feasted on the Packers’ defense averaging 313 yards in the air and accumulating an 112 passer rating. With starting LG TJ Lang declared out for Sunday, the Lions offensive line will be a missing a major link and the Packers’ new defensive scheme had led to 13 sacks thus far in 2018, good for fourth overall in the NFL while only committing 22 penalties, fourth fewest in the NFL.
A combination of blitzes to confuse the shuffled Lions’ offensive line combined with improved secondary play and this week’s likely return of CB Kevin King and possible debut of CB Bashaud Breeland could pay dividends allowing the Packers’ pass rush to get to Stafford. The Lions’ have only given up six sacks this season, but three of them came last week in their loss to Dallas and in week one their whole unit looked lost. With DE Mike Daniels lined up against Lang’s replacement at RG Kenny Wiggins it will hopefully be a long afternoon for Stafford.
PREDICTION: Packers 24, Lions 20
January 1st, 2012- Packers 45, Lions 41- QB Matt Flynn leads the Packers in the regular season finale at Lambeau Field
At 14-1 with home-field advantage wrapped up for the Packers, QB Matt Flynn got the start as the Packers rested some key starters against the 10-5 Lions. Flynn and Stafford would combine for an aerial shootout totaling exactly 1,000 yards passing and 11 touchdowns through the air. After the Packers retook the lead with just over one minute to play on a touchdown reception by TE Jermichael Finley, CB Sam Shields would then cement the victory with an interception of Stafford on the Lions’ last gasp drive of the game.
Flynn finished the game with a stat line of 31/44 and set franchise records in both yards (480) and touchdowns (6). Since then Rodgers has tied both record marks. The Packers would go on to lose in the Divisional round to the New York Giants while the Lions fell to the New Orleans Saints in the Wild Card round.
NEXT MATCH-UP VS LIONS: The Lions make their annual trip to Lambeau Field on the last day of the regular season, Sunday, December 12th at noon (time may change due to NFL flexible scheduling). Last season the Lions defeated the Packers at Lambeau Field for the second time in three seasons after losing in Wisconsin 24 straight times.