A great high scoring game should take place on an NFL Sunday afternoon as the Detroit Lions (1-1) will visit the Green Bay Packers (1-1) at Lambeau Field. This series has a lot of history, since this will be their 172nd regular-season meeting. Packers have the series lead at 96-68-7 but that shouldn’t affect the game too much since the Lions and Packers split the season series last year, with each team winning on the road.
Fans might remember one their most historic meeting back in the 1993 playoffs, when Packers Sterling Sharpe caught the winning 40-yard touchdown pass with 55 seconds to play to take home the trophy.
The Lions have not forgotten that forsaken day, but have put bad memories behind them. They have had a lot of success last year and it was all due to how they handled the pressure. Another guy, Aaron Rodgers, will have to deal with that pressure again Sunday when they try to get their second win against those Lions. Rodgers got sacked five times and had three fumbles (with one lost) in Green Bay’s loss to the Vikings last week.
Ziggy Ansah might not play for the Lions because of an ankle injury, so Haloti Ngata, Devin Taylor and Kerry Hyder will have to shoulder more of the pass-rushing load, but they should be able to handle it. The Lions won’t have starting running Ameer Abdullah back in the line-up due to a season-ending foot injury that he incured in a Week 2 loss to the Tennessee Titans. That will be a great advantage for the Green Bay Packers for holding up against the run after the first two games, will allow the Packers to focus on disrupting the Lions’ effective passing attack with applied pressure.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford won’t have Calvin Johnson anymore, but the Packers secondary won’t have cornerback Sam Shields either who is out with concussion, so he’ll have to use the big-play potential of Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr. and Anquan Boldin as well as the speedy check-down back Theo Riddick.
Key matchups will be Lions WR Golden Tate vs. Packers CB Quinten Rollins. Tate, is fast, and is the Lions’ leader in receptions for the last two years. But he is off to a slow start this season with just nine catches for 54 yards, so he needs to pick it up. He had two drops last week against Tennessee, but a more favorable matchup Sunday should come his way since starting cornerback Sam Shields be out. Rollins has so far played quite well as a rookie, and has two pass breakups this year.
Another good matchup to watch for Lions DT Tyrunn Walker vs. Packers LG Lane Taylor. Walker has started of the season kind of strangely with six tackles, but no sacks in two games. Last week, he played fewer snaps than backup Khyri Thornton. But this week Walker will have a favorable matchup against Taylor, who is a first-time starter. The Packers has cut long-time Lions nemesis Josh Sitton before the season to give Taylor the job instead, so that should play into Walker’s hands.
Players to watch out for are RB Dwayne Washington. He’s replacing Ameer Abdullah’s who out with a foot injury, and that means new energy at running back position for the Lions. Theo Riddick will start this week and get most of the snaps, but Washington will be looking to get the No. 2 role. Riddick had a career-high 11 carries last week, but he’s much better suited to play a receiving role out of the backfield. Washington has shown his critics a lot of potential despite playing limitedly so far. He’s playing in a lot the Lions’ goal-line sets, and if he gets on a streak, there’s no reason why the Lions won’t put him in more clutch situations in their running game.
We think Aaron Rodgers will be very eager to bounce back from a lousy game and will try to come up big at home, but the Lions might be able to put a stop to that confidence by shutting key offensive plays to squeak out a win away from hom.