Here we go again … sticking our necks out with our weekly predictions – this time taking a look at the Packers vs. Lions.
The following is how we feel. Let us know how you feel about our picks.
Bill Walton: When the Detroit Lions come into Lambeau Sunday night they won’t have much to play for except pride and whatever satisfaction they might derive from beating the Packers in their place. Detroit has lost 19 in a row at Lambeau. They’ll probably want to break that streak. The Packers would like nothing more than to extend it to 20.
Once again the Packers field a team that is missing several veteran leaders due to injury. One effect is that OT Don Barclay will start at RT. He’ll be the third OT to start there this season. He had what many are calling a good game against Minnesota, but his work will be cut out for him this week agains the Lions D line. RB Ryan Grant has returned to the team after Starks was injured against the Vikings last week. Expect Alex Green to get most of the carries against the Lions but Grant will have some opportunities. WR Jennings is back…but Nelson is out again. It’s times like these that make me really appreciate the guys who put this team together. No other team in the league has the kind of quality depth at the receiver positions that the Packers do.
A late-season divisional game in the snow at Lambeau on Sunday night? What’s not to love about this one? The Packers need this one and it won’t help the Lions at all.
Wife and cat person Deneen thinks the Packers will win 42-14. John and dog person John sees the Pack on top 35-14. I’ll go with the Packers 38-17.
Go Pack GO!
Jason Hirschhorn: This is the first rematch of the season for Green Bay. At this point, we can probably conclude that the Packers have the superior talent. The only personnel change for Detroit since the first matchup is the “loss” of Titus Young. Granted, there aren’t a whole lot of bodies left in the Lions receiving corps, but Young’s absence shouldn’t be a difference maker.
For the Packers, they’ve swapped Jordy Nelson for Greg Jennings and T.J. Lang will probably be an emergency lineman at best this week. While Detroit made considerable inroads against Green Bay’s offensive line earlier, this should be minimized somewhat by the snow that’s expected to fall in time for Sunday night. In my estimation, the sudden dearth of healthy defensive linemen is a bigger concern for Green Bay at the moment. It’ll be up to rookies Jerel Worthy and Mike Daniels to fill the void and stop the Detroit ground game. If they can’t, Mikel Leshoure will have his fourth consecutive game with a touchdown.
Assuming the snow isn’t too heavy, the weather favors the Packers. The greatest impact of snow is on the players’ ability to accelerate, and that means the offensive players can often find greater separation through breaks. The Packers ran behind new RT Don Barclay often in his debut, and that should continue this week. Barclay hasn’t shown he can replicate Lang pass protection, but in an admittedly small sample size he was stronger in the run game. If the Packers can continue to average over 4 yards per carry behind Josh Sitton and Barclay, they shouldn’t have as many stalled drives as last time.
Packers 28 – Lions 13
Ray Rivard: Well, here it is December. This is supposed to be the time of year when the Green Bay Packers take over due to their ability to play in cold weather games. Sunday against the Lions they get their chance. Unfortunately, the Packers aren’t really built anymore for these types of games. With their speed and reliance on the pass, the Packers the past few years have become a team that plays better indoors and on a fast track.
But the Lions are a similarly-built team. So, when you compare the two, this game will come down to how the defenses react. I can see the Packers picking off Matthew Stafford a couple of times, because, well, he’s Matthew Stafford and it seems he’s always throwing the ball the to Packers. If the Packers can do a good job in controlling the Lions’ run game – something they were unable to do last week against the Vikings – they should be in good shape.
In addition, if the offensive line can hold together against the Lions’ stout defensive front, they should give Aaron Rodgers enough time to pick apart the Lions secondary. Given the fact that weather could play into this game, I feel the fact that the Packers are playing at home should be to their advantage. While this game will probably be close through the first half and into the third quarter, I think the Packers will do just enough to get the win. Like they have done all season, the Packers will probably once again win ugly.
Packers 23 Lions 16
Thomas Marquardt: Injuries continue to bite the Packers on both sides of the ball. Jordy Nelson is out again this week. James Starks, who looked to be hitting his stride, looks like he may be finished for the remainder of the season. If we don’t start getting healthy it will be another gloomy January. Let’s hope we don’t stumble this week.
Patrick Hughes: Meeting number two between the Packers and the Lions on the “Frozen Tundra” of Lambeau Field pits a playoff contender versus the extras from the 1974 movie classic, “The Longest Yard.” The Packers enter this contest coming off a bounceback win against the Minnesota Vikings. A game that marked the return of the Packers dink and dunk passing scheme and a reasonable running attack. Despite the loss of James Starks in that game one would have to suspect the Packers will follow a similar blueprint against the tumultuous Lions.
Now despite my satirical jabs taken at the Lions’ expense this game I don’t think is one that will fall in the gimme column. Tramon Williams has not yet proven he can shut down or even contain Calvin Johnson. Matthew Stafford is having a breakout season. And the Lions defensive line took full advantage of the Packers battered offensive line during their Week 11 meeting.
The Packers need to build off the offensive success they had a week prior against the Minnesota Vikings. Establish the running game, take what the Lions defense gives them, and execute the long ball when the opportunity presents itself. On the defensive side of the ball the Packers need to keep Calvin Johnson in check, shutting him down maybe a lot to ask. Get after Matthew Stafford. In their previous meeting, Dezman Moses stepped up in place of the injured Clay Matthews III. The Packers are going to need Moses to do this again.
Despite the Lions’ woeful record and reported drama inside their locker room they will play the Packers tough. My hunch is the first half will be close. The second half is when the Packers pull away. Look for a big game from Jermichael Finley, Greg Jennings and Randall Cobb. I also would not be surprised if Ryan Grant gains a few yards for the good side in his return to the Packers.
Packers 35, Lions 17
Dan Turczynski: The 8-4 Packers take on the 4-8 Lions at Lambeau Field Sunday Night in front of the nation. All signs point to a Packers’ victory in this, but I see this game as the essence of a trap game for the Packers.
The Lions haven’t won a game at Lambeau field since I was born (1991). No that isn’t a misprint; the Lions have lost their last 21 games at the historic Lambeau Field. However, this time around feels a little different. The Packers essentially stole the game from the Lions a few weeks ago at Ford Field escaping with a 24-20 victory thanks to a late touchdown from Rodgers to Cobb.
With the game against the Bears looming large for the Packers next week, they must get this game against the Lions and block out next week’s game. The most overused cliché in sports is “take it one game at a time,” I think that applies more than ever for the Pack tonight. I think Ryan Grant shows some vintage Ryan Grant, the Packers go over 150 yards on the ground in the snow and beat the Lions in a great Sunday Night showdown.
Packers 27, Lions 21
Tim Thomas: The Packers take on Detroit on Sunday Night Football as the Packers are still injury-ridden with Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson, and Charles Woodson among those out for Sunday’s game. However, the Green Bay secondary will be boosted by the return of Sam Shields and the fact that Matthew Stafford has not been as effective this season.
The Packers will have to worry about Calvin Johnson but the good news is they won’t have to worry about any sort of running game with the Lions after Adrian Peterson tore the Packers to pieces last week. The Packers offense will be lacking Jordy Nelson but they do have Greg Jennings and second-year sensation Randall Cobb. One of the challenges will be keeping Aaron Rodgers upright as Detroit’s defensive line is one of the NFL’s best.
The Packers gained some momentum last week with the comeback win against Minnesota and they will keep it going with a win over Detroit tonight.
Packers 28, Lions 17