Green Bay Packers 2021 opponent preview: Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers, Davante Adams - Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Green Bay Packers, Davante Adams - Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /

Another season and another new head coach for the Detroit Lions, who the Green Bay Packers will meet in their home opener in 2021.

The Lions enter a new era under head coach Dan Campbell, who aims to lay the foundations for a successful rebuild this season, even if the Lions aren’t competitive right away.

The Packers will meet the Lions early on, but then not again until their season finale.

Last season

The Lions were disappointing last season, falling to a 5-11 record and finishing bottom of the NFC North standings. As a result, the Lions fired both general manager Bob Quinn and head coach Matt Patricia.

When are the games?

The Packers’ first game against the Lions, the home opener, takes place in Week 2. It’s on Monday Night Football on Monday, Sept. 20, kicking off at 7:15 p.m. CT.

They play next in Week 18 (that’s still odd to say), the final game of the regular season. That game, at Ford Field, will be played on Sunday, Jan. 9 at 12 noon CT.

Offseason additions/departures

One of the most notable moves of the entire NFL offseason saw the Lions trade Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams with Jared Goff heading to Detroit.

It’s clear the Lions’ focus is on the future rather than winning now, but they didn’t bring in a QB in the draft. Their focus was on the offensive and defensive lines, drafting tackle Penei Sewell in the first round and defensive tackles Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill with their next two picks. It’s a smart strategy to build up front first.

In free agency, Detroit made affordable, short-term deals such as signing former Packers running back Jamaal Williams.

Last meeting with Packers

December 13, 2020: Packers won 31-24 at Ford Field

Player to watch

Penei Sewell: The Lions are quietly building a very strong offensive line, and that now includes first-round pick Sewell. With Taylor Decker on the other side at tackle and Frank Ragnow inside, the Lions have a lot of talent up front on offense.

Early in his NFL career, the Packers’ edge rushers will need to make life difficult for Sewell. The first meeting between these two teams will be just Sewell’s second game with the Lions. He should be a lot better when they meet again in the season finale.

We can expect Detroit’s offense to focus on the ground game, and former Packer Williams will be part of that. But it starts with winning up front. Sewell has the potential to be a special talent at the next level. He’ll be a player to watch in both games.