Five Packers to watch vs. Lions with chance to earn first-round bye

Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Aaron Jones (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Green Bay Packers, Darnell Savage
Green Bay Packers, Darnell Savage (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

5. Darnell Savage

One other player I’d like to see take his game to another level is the Packers’ other first-round pick, Darnell Savage.

Savage’s growth has been much easier to see because, unlike Gary, he has needed to play right away. Savage has been a starter since the beginning of the season and other than missing two games because of an ankle sprain, he has been on the field for the Packers.

Some players say it’s at the end of their rookie year things start to slow down. Some say it’s in year two. I hope for the sake of the Packers, it’s at the end of his rookie year.

Savage’s physical abilities are plentiful and a perfect match for the Packers scheme. He’s fast, instinctive and can close on the ball in the air. Now, I’d like to see his intelligence shine through and start making plays like a veteran safety.

If Savage can jump some routes, get picks or just knock the ball down in the middle of the field, it can close what has been a big hole in the middle of the defense. Against the Lions, he will have a chance against a young quarterback who may tip his intentions.

The Packers have done some great things this season. A 12-3 record through 15 games is a nice accomplishment, especially for a rookie head coach. There are still some things they can accomplish.

Part of Coach LaFleur’s vision to getting back into the playoffs was winning the division. He’s done that and then some. He now has a chance to sweep the division. He also now has a chance at a first-round bye. For all that can be said about the Packers, it is very clear their best chance to win is at home.

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The NFC is full of good teams. But the remaining field outside of the Eagles are either dome teams or come from warm-weather states. If the team can win here against the Lions and make those teams come outside, in January, to Lambeau, I like this team’s chance of doing something special.