Well, Packer fan it seems like a long time since we’ve last seen the Green and Gold take the field, but don’t you worry; the bye week is over and The Packers are back this week. The last time we saw the Packers they unfortunately took a loss at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. In that game against the Saints the Packers offense at times looked very disjointed and the offense didn’t seem to flow well with Hundley under center. But they’ve had a very timely bye week to work some issues out and hopefully have everyone else healthy for the first time in what seems like forever. So, let’s take a look at this week’s divisional matchup with the Lions of Detroit.
3 BURNING QUESTIONS
How will the offense look?
This is probably once again the most important question of the week. As I alluded to earlier the offense at times looked disjointed with Hundley running the show. It seemed as though he didn’t at this point have a perfect handle on the offense but it also seemed as though he only had a small portion of the offense available to him. A big part of this may be his lack of time to prepare as a starter. Although it is a backup’s job to do their best to be prepared in the event that they need to start; it is a very difficult proposition to make your first career start off of one week of real preparation. After an extra week off though hopefully we will have an entirely different look to the offense though. Hopefully with extra prep and a little more confidence Hundley will and the offense will come out with better rhythm and the coaches will open up the playbook a bit more and let Hundley get out there and play.
Can the Packers run game overcome Detroit’s defense?
Monday night one of the most important parts of the offense might end up being the rushing attack headed by Aaron Jones and Ty Montgomery. But the question is will they be up to the task against Detroit’s stout run defense? So far this season Detroit ranks fourth in the NFL in yards per carry allowed allowing only a meager 3.6 yards per attempt. So far both Jones and Montgomery have had their ups and downs but this week would be an ideal week for them to perform well. The best way for Hundley to have success is allow him to lean on the run game and set up some play action and some bootlegs.
Can the defense hold up late in the game?
If there is one thing that these two teams have in common it is the fact that lately both have been known to start out a bit slowly. In the case of the Lions this has been a recurring theme for quite some time. But the Lions, led by Matt Stafford, are also known for coming storming back in the fourth quarter. Assuming the Packers are able to get the run game going and the offense moving, will the Packers defense be able to hold back the inevitable flurry of Matt Stafford downfield passes late in the closing minutes of the game?
2 KEY MATCHUPS
The tackles vs Ezekiel Ansah
If the Packers are going to have success through the air on Monday night it will be imperative to give Brett Hundley a clean pocket with which to work. An inexperienced young quarterback needs to be pressured as little as possible. Part of this will start with the run game taking pressure off of him and keeping the defense honest but the most important matchup will be the Packers bookend tackles David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga keeping pass rushers off of Hundley as much as possible. Ezekiel Ansah is the premiere pass rusher for the Detroit Lions as he is tied for the team lead in sacks with 4. If the Packers are able to neutralize Ansah for most of the night it will give the Packers offense a big chance to put up some big numbers.
Kevin King vs Golden Tate
For the Lions every game over the past three season has had one thing in common. In no games over the past three seasons have the Lions had a rusher hit the 100 yard mark. Because of this there has been constant pressure on quarterback Matt Stafford and forced him to be responsible for most of the offensive production since 2014. Stafford shoulder this responsibility well and spreads the ball around very well but like any quarterback he has a favorite, go to target. This would be Golden Tate who has 17 more receptions than any other player on the team. Tate is a precise route runner who does an excellent job using his quickness and speed to set up defensive backs who are tasked with covering him. Against the Packers that job will likely go to rookie cornerback Kevin King who so far this season has welcomed any challenge sent his way. If he is able to smother Tate and keep Stafford from getting the ball to his favorite target this could be a long night for the Lions offense.
ONE BOLD PREDICTION
This week I think that the Packers get an early lead and maintain it throughout the game and very predictably the Lions try to come make a big comeback late in the game. Unfortunately for Detroit fans this doesn’t quite work out as well as they are accustomed to. This is because safety/ linebacker Josh Jones is going to come up huge with a big interception late in the game to seal the win for the Green Bay Packers. Jones will probably spend a lot of time covering young up and coming tight end Eric Ebron. Matt Stafford, unable to get the ball to Golden Tate will try to force a pass to his big athletic tight end and Jones is going to come up huge and guarantee the Packers a hug win!