(Photo Courtesy of Wisc-tv)
This has to be the game of the week; the winner will win the NFC North Championship. The loser will most likely end their season right here in this game. It has been a long time since the Lions have played a game this big, Ford Field will be rocking Sunday Night as the Football world will be zeroed in as this two rivals do battle yet again. The Packers have the advantage of experience as they have been in this situation many times, while the Lions very rarely have been in a situation like this.
Green Bay Packers(9-6)
The Packers at one point were 4-6 since then they have strung together five consecutive wins. Aaron Rodgers has played flawlessly in those five games throwing 11 TD passes and zero interceptions. Jordy Nelson has had a great season grabbing 14 TD passes, because of injuries the running game has been a struggle. The Packers weakness has been on pass defense where they rank 29th in the NFL.
The Detroit Lions are a team people have been skeptical about all year, and the last few weeks has done nothing to quiet the doubters. Matthew Stafford was mentioned as being a possible MVP until the last month. The Lions have lost three straight games and look to be in trouble heading into Sunday night’s showdown.
Keys to the game
Can Detroit run the ball?
Running back Theo Riddick (wrist) has missed the past three games and did not practice Thursday, but Zach Zenner provided a spark to the running game with 67 yards and two touchdowns on 12 rushes last week. If the Lions can run the ball, they can limit opportunities for Rodgers to take over the game. The Packers are better against the run than they are the pass, but they are not great against the run.
Can Detroit slow down the Packers offense?
Top cornerback Darius Slay (hamstring) missed last week’s game but practiced on a limited basis Thursday. His return would be a huge boost for a defense that is near the bottom of the league with 25 sacks. The Lions have the worst pass defense in the NFL and a run defense that’s headed downhill fast. With one of the league’s worst pass rushes and only 10 interceptions on the season, the Lions are allowing quarterbacks to complete nearly 73 percent of passes this year, though you only needed to watch how easy it was for the Cowboys to score on Monday night to understand the poor form of the Lions defense heading into Sunday’s game. I do not see any way the Lions can defense, Aaron Rodgers, here.
Can Matthew Stafford will his team to a win?
Stafford has been known as one of the toughest QB’s in the NFL, and he will have to be at his toughest on Sunday. An injury to his middle finger has bothered him most of the last month. Stafford if he can comfortably throw can have a huge day against Green Bay’s secondary. There will surely be multiple opportunities to hit Golden Tate down the field if he is healthy enough to make those throws the Lions have a chance.
I believe when all is said and down, the Lions will use home field advantage and the toughness of Matthew Stafford to win this game in a shootout. Lions 38 Packers 35.