Shawn: The talk locally has centered around whether the game against the New York Giants or the Chicago Bears constitutes the must-win game for the Green Bay Packers. The easy answer, of course, is that neither do, that the must-win game is actually this weekend against the Detroit Lions. A loss this week would likely force the Packers to sweep their home games to have any shot of making the playoffs. A win this week, and I believe, a win in either home game would put the Packers in.
As usual, the Lions’ season was over a long time ago. However, home games in the last five weeks against all three division opponents gives them a chance to affect who wins the division and who makes the playoffs. After a narrow loss to the Bears last week, the Lions have their last chance for a big division win this week. So, I expect the Lions to be up for this game, and I would be surprised if they can’t keep the game close through the first half.
The Lions best chance to win this game lies in their pass rush and their running game. Both are improved this season, though neither are lighting the world on fire. With both Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith, the Lions like to attack the edges in the running game, and this is exactly where the Packers have struggled this season. The Lions need to avoid mistakes to win this game, and the best way to do that would be to keep the ball out of quarterback Drew Stanton’s hands as much as possible. If the Lions can get pressure on Aaron Rodgers with their front four, they may at least have a fighting chance to slow down the Green Bay passing attack or force mistakes out of the Packers.
Ultimately, the answer for the Packers is the same as it was last week. If they play well, they win. If the Packers play the way they did in the first quarter last week, the Lions can win. If they play the way they did in the last three quarters, the Packers should win this game easily. Personally, I expect the Packers’ offensive line to have a good game. The Packers should have some success running the football again with James Starks, and this will help slow down the Detroit pass rush. If the Lions don’t get to Rodgers, they have little chance of keeping the Packers’ offense below 30 points.
Rodgers has been red hot, and Greg Jennings has had some big games against the Lions in the past. I expect another big game here from both. Like the 49ers, the Lions may be able to make some plays against the Packers’ defense, but without a touchdown from their special teams and a couple mistakes by the Packers’ offense, I don’t see the Lions being able to keep up. I expect the Packers to pull away in the 3rd quarter, once again.
Packers 38, Lions 17
Sarah: I think this game will be closer than most people expect.
Detroit Lions quarterback Drew Stanton had a pretty good game against the Chicago Bears last week, becoming the first QB to put up a 100-plus rating against the Bears’ second-ranked defense. Detroit should be able to put up 20-plus points, but they’re awful running the ball and will struggle against the Packers’ big front line.
The Lions defense has proven much better at home, and that’s really their only chance at winning this game. They will have to prevent big Green Bay passing plays and to do that they will have to pressure Aaron Rodgers into a few mistakes. The Packers running game is just as anemic as Detroit’s, and that probably won’t change much this week. This game will be won through the air.
The last time these two teams met, the Lions committed 13 penalties for 102 yards and turned the ball over three times. Their turnover ratio is simply horrendous.
In the end, Detroit is simply outgunned on both sides of the ball. They will have to be perfect to win, and that’s just too much to ask. Green Bay should start to pull away early in the second half in another must-win matchup for the Pack.
Packers 34, Lions 21
Monty: The Detroit Lions continue to disappoint me in their efforts to overtake the Minnesota Vikings.
That is, the Vikings, being the biggest group of shitbags to ever put on NFL uniforms, should really be the worst team in the NFC North. Fourth place.
Yet, the Lions, year after year, fuck things up.
They will get their comeuppance on Sunday.
Packers 595, Lions 3