Week 2: vs. Detroit Lions
Lions 17, Packers 31
Biggest storyline: What does Detroit look like in the midst of a rebuild?
The Packers’ home opener at Lambeau Field will be in primetime on Monday Night Football, September 20.
Normally, I would say the Packers will have no problem dominating Detroit, but there’s no telling what this Lions team may look like this year after all the changes they’ve made this offseason.
Detroit has been overhauling their staff and roster in a rebuilding period. They’ve brought in a new general manager, head coach, and starting quarterback, along with a number of new members to the coaching staff. They boast an impressive draft class, where six picks came out of the first four rounds.
However, overall, the Lions still lack weapons. They don’t have a lot, if any, notable players left on their roster. WR Danny Amendola and RB Adrian Peterson are floating in free agency. The Lions let wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Mohamed Sanu walk in free agency where they signed with the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers, respectively.
Ironically, the Lions’ most notable remaining players are former Green Bay Packers: WR Geronimo Allison, QB Tim Boyle, and RB Jamaal Williams.
Allison sat low on the depth chart in Green Bay, and Boyle is a solid QB2, so we’re not likely to see them in a game situation. The energy and skill Williams brings to the team is what I’ll be keeping an eye out for in this matchup.
An energetic RB isn’t enough to turn this team around though.
The Lions struggled defensively last year, and the Packers’ backfield will likely run all over them like Aaron Jones did in his three-TD performance during their first meeting last season.
They’re rebuilding so I don’t expect them to have it all worked out by Week 2 of this season, but I do think we need to follow Detroit’s growth throughout their rebuilding period as they could become a potential division threat in the coming years.
Week 3: at San Francisco 49ers
Packers 31, 49ers 35
Biggest storyline: Can the Packers finally conquer the Shanahan scheme?
This week may be hard to get through without traumatic flashbacks to the 2019 NFCCG. Back-to-back primetime games making a short week may bring a challenge to this game for the Packers.
One thing to keep an eye on is whether veteran QB Jimmy Garoppolo comes off his injury and back into a starting position for the 49ers or if the team takes a chance on third-overall-draft-pick QB Trey Lance out of North Dakota State.
Either way, two of the three times the Packers have faced the 49ers over the last two seasons, they were overcome by the brute force of San Francisco’s run game. Maybe a fresh defensive scheme from new Packers’ defensive coordinator Joe Barry is the hint they’ve been needing to crack the Shanahan code.
Barry worked closely as assistant head coach and linebacker coach with Rams head coach Sean McVay, who is hailed by many as an offensive mastermind.
Barry has mentioned in press conferences that he’d like to go for a quicker, more agile attack plan than we’ve seen from the defense in the past, saying, “we’re going to play fast and furious.” As evidence of that, reports from Green Bay’s camps tell us that big men like Preston Smith have noticeably shaved off weight over the offseason.
This new-look defense could be what the Packers need to avenge their 2019 losses to San Francisco, but the kinks may not all be worked out only three weeks into the season.