Packers need to be much-improved against Lions in 2020

Green Bay Packers, Allen Lazard (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, Allen Lazard (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

The Packers have struggled in their recent games against the Lions.

How the Green Bay Packers swept the Detroit Lions in 2019, I don’t think I’ll ever know.

The Packers were outplayed for the majority of both games. Green Bay led for a combined zero seconds in both contests, yet somehow won both. Both meetings required Mason Crosby field goals as time expired to secure the win, the latter coming in Week 17 and giving the Packers a first-round playoff bye.

It doesn’t matter how you win, of course, but the Packers rode their luck. They’ll need to be much better against the Lions this time around.

Matt Patricia’s Lions have given Packers real problems

Whether Matt Patricia should still be the head coach in Detroit is certainly a reasonable question to ask. Under Jim Caldwell, Detroit had three winning seasons and two playoff berths in four years, but back-to-back 9-7 finishes led to the Lions moving on.

But under Patricia, the Lions have taken a giant step in the wrong direction, going 6-10 in 2018 then 3-12-1 in 2019.

However, Patricia’s Lions have played well against the Packers. In 2018, Detroit swept Green Bay, starting with a dominant victory at Ford Field and then a 31-0 shutout at Lambeau Field, although Aaron Rodgers exited the game early due to injury.

And while Green Bay won both games last season, Detroit was the better team in both. And let’s also bear in mind that in Week 17, the Lions were without Matthew Stafford and a number of key starters.

The Lions should also be a stronger team this season. They added to the defense with first-round pick Jeff Okudah, Desmond Trufant, and linebacker Jamie Collins.

Second-round pick D’Andre Swift will be a great addition on offense, forming a strong 1-2 punch in the backfield with Kerryon Johnson.

The Packers will be favorites against the Lions but they will need to be a lot better against them than they have in the past four meetings. They’ve won the past two, but they might not get so lucky with a similar performance when these two meet in Week 2.