The Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions are headlining Monday Night Football this week. The Packers are coming off a bounce back win over the Cowboys after losing to the Eagles in week 4. The Lions are coming off a bye week after putting up a great fight against Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Lions have been a surprise team for many this season and the Packers have shattered expectations after two disappointing seasons. Monday Nights game is crucial for both teams and here is what you should look for:
Aaron Jones Keeps Stepping Up:
Aaron Jones had the best game of his career against the Dallas Cowboys last week. He was a workhorse for the Packers last week totaling 182 yards (107 rushing, 75 receiving) and 4 touchdowns. Jones’ 75 yards receiving led the Packers and was the only player to score a touchdown for the Packers last week. The Packers desperately needed someone to step up because the Packers were without star receiver Davante Adams.
The Packers will look for another big game from Jones this week with Davante Adams missing his second week with turf toe. The Lions give up the 25th most yards per attempt with 4.8, so Aaron Jones could be in for a big game. In the four games this season the Lions have given up a 124.75 rushing yards per game. Aaron Jones could be in for a big game this week, especially with Mike Daniels missing another game for the Lions. The Packers came into the season wanting to solidify their run game and they have been doing just that.
Will a Receiver Please Stand Up?
The Packers receivers not named Davante Adams have been disappointing this year. Last week against the Cowboys, out of the top six in receiving yards for the Packers only two were wide receivers. (Aaron Jones 66 yards, Jimmy Graham 41 yards, Geronimo Allison 28 yards, Robert Tonyan 23 yards, MVS and Tra Carson both with 18 yards) The Packers desperately need a receiver to step up with Davante Adams out. The Packers will rely heavily on their run game again this week, and if Aaron Jones can have another big day it will only open up the field.
The Lions’ defense is 29th in yards given up per pass completion, so this week is a great chance for a receiver to step up and have a big game. There were hopes that Valdes-Scantling would be the receiver to step up last week, but he was only targeted four times with one reception and 18 yards. Aaron Jones was the hero last week, but will a receiver step up this week with a big game? Fans sure hope so.
As mentioned earlier in the article Davante Adams is missing his second game with turf toe that he suffered week 4 against the Eagles. The Packers were hoping that it was not a serious, which it does not seem to be, but the Packers do not want to rush him back and risk further injury. Two more players were ruled out for Mondays matchup, tight end Robert Tonyan and safety Darnell Savage. The Packers offense will be okay without Tonyan. He had one target last week which he made a great contested catch on for 23 yards, but he is not vital to their success. Savage on the other hand is a big blow to the Packers’ defense. The Packers are already with starting nickel safety/linebacker Raven Greene, so losing another safety could be hard to overcome. The good news is that his ankle injury doesn’t seem to be serious, so he will hopefully be ready for week 7.
The Lions will be without former Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels. Many fans, including myself, were looking forward to seeing him play again and revenge games are always interesting. The Packers released Mike Daniels to free up $8 million in cap space and signed with division rival Detroit Lions. Even though I wanted to see him play, his absence only helps the Packers offense. Hopefully fans will get to see him back in action when the two teams finish the season off in week 17.
Packers Need to Stop Kerryon Johnson:
The Packers defense is one of the best in the NFL, but it has its weaknesses. The Packers have had trouble stopping the run. Against the Eagles the Packers gave up 176 rushing yards and two touchdowns. The story was the same against the Broncos and Vikings when they gave up a total of three rushing touchdowns of which one was a 75 yard home run by Dalvin Cook. The Packers had their full against the Cowboys with Ezekiel Elliot in the backfield, but they held him to only 62 rushing yards. Even though Elliot only had 62 yards, he still managed 5.2 yards per carry.
The Cowboys went away from the run when the Packers jumped into a 31-3 lead, and needed Prescott to throw them back into the game. The Packers defense did a great job creating turnovers which helped the offense, but Elliot still was efficient on the ground. This week the Lions will look to take advantage of an unproven Packers’ run defense. Kerryon Johnson went off against the Kansas City Chiefs in week four with a total of 125 rushing yards and 32 receiving yards. That was by far his best performance of the season after failing to reach 50 rushing yards in any of his previous three games even though he is averaging 18.5 carries per game. The Lions will hope to get the same production out of Johnson this week and show it was not just a one time performance.
Can the Packers Snap the Losing Streak?
The Packers have lost four straight contests to the Lions and five out of the last eight. The Lions would have six out of the eight, but Rodgers pulled off his iconic hail mary throw with no time remaining to steal the win. The Packers improved defense will be the key to beating the Lions. The Lions have scored over 30 points in each of the last four games including a 31-0 shutout win to finish the 2018 season. Not only do the Packers want to snap this losing streak, but with a 2-0 record in the NFC North, the Packers want to strengthen their number one stop in the division and get closer to a playoff spot. The offense has improved every week and the defense is still one that can change the game at any moment. The Packers have everything they need to get the win against the Lions.
Packers 27- Lions 17