Packers vs. Lions: Three things to watch in Week 17

DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 1: Geronimo Allison
DETROIT, MI - JANUARY 1: Geronimo Allison /

Three things to watch in the Green Bay Packers’ final game of the year against the Detroit Lions.

On Sunday the Packers will take the field for the last time this season against the Lions at Ford Field. For many, it’s a relief because this was a disappointing season and another wasted year in Packers News.

The year was promising early with a 4-1 start, but everything went downhill once Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone and missed seven games.

Green Bay was eliminated from playoff contention and will miss the postseason for the first time since 2008. This will be the third time the Packers miss the playoffs under Mike McCarthy.

This week features two teams that are onto next year and will use this game to evaluate talent.

Here are my three things to watch.

Geronimo Allison and Michael Clark

Injuries at the wide receiver position gave Geronimo Allison and Michael Clark an opportunity to play more than usual against the Minnesota Vikings.

Allison played in 53 snaps, but was targeted three times and only caught one pass for nine yards.

The second-year wideout has only has 21 catches for 238 yards this season. His fumble against the Carolina Panthers in overtime essentially ended the Packers’ season.

He is listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Lions after missing practice Wednesday and Thursday because of an illness.

With Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb‘s future in question, this is a great opportunity for Allison to prove his can be a No. 2 wide receiver.

As for Clark, he played in 28 snaps last week, mainly because of Nelson getting injured.

However, he was targeted nine times and came up with three catches for 36 yards. Clark showed solid route-running ability and made a nice diving catch.

Similar to Allison, Clark’s size makes him an intriguing prospect. This final game is another great audition for the rookie to see where he stands with the organization.


There has been nothing special about this year’s unit, specifically with the punter Justin Vogel.

The former Miami Hurricanes punter is ranked 24th in the NFL with a gross punting average of 44.4 yards.

He has also been terrible at pinning opponents inside the 20, only doing it 18 times, 29th in the league.

Vogel was an upgrade from Jacob Schum, but that isn’t saying much.

If Vogel has a terrible game in Detroit, the Packers may be looking for a new punter this offseason. Maybe they should consider giving Peter Mortell another chance.

Tight end

The Packers went from having a tight end to having nobody at the position.

Martellus Bennett was a huge disappointment after the Packers decided to sign him over bringing back Jared Cook.

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Right now, the roster includes Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers. Kendricks had a great stint with the Rams, however hasn’t yet made an impact with the Packers.

Kendricks has caught only 18 passes for 203 yards and one touchdown this term. As for Rodgers, he’s only caught 12 passes for 160 yards and one touchdown.

Rodgers is a solid possession tight end with decent hands. But his lack of speed doesn’t fit the Packers offense.

He will miss his first career NFL game this week against the Lions, dealing with a shoulder injury.

Rookie Emmanuel Bryd was signed to the active-roster earlier this week and will make his debut against Detroit. In 21 collegiate games, he caught 45 passes, for 456 yards and four touchdowns.

The Packers offense has had a void at the position since Jermichael Finley left. Cook filled the position momentarily, but now it needs to be addressed.

Once again, Green Bay will be looking for another tight end.

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Change is coming in Green Bay and it is necessary, otherwise this team will continue to fall short.