3 players who must step up for Packers to avoid disaster vs. Lions

New Orleans Saints v Green Bay Packers
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Keisean Nixon

Stopping Amon-Ra St. Brown is a priority for the Packers' defense on Thursday night. St. Brown is far and away the Lions' top wide receiver, and the numbers back it up. Jared Goff has targeted St. Brown almost as many times (27) as Josh Reynolds, Kalif Raymond, and Marvin Jones put together (29).

St. Brown lines up primarily in the slot, which means he will see a lot of Packers cornerback Keisean Nixon.

While Nixon is an excellent special teams player and even had an 11-yard carry on offense last week, he hasn't made a great start in coverage. Per Pro Football Reference, Nixon has allowed eight of 10 passes to be completed for 82 yards and a touchdown this season. Quarterbacks have earned a passer rating of 122.9 throwing his way.

Better news is that Nixon is allowing 8.2 yards per reception, which could be far worse. He may give up completions, but Nixon is at least limiting the big plays.

St. Brown is a problem for any defense. Through three weeks, the Pro Bowler has made 21 catches for 275 yards and a touchdown. Only six of his targets haven't resulted in completions.

The ball will go St. Brown's way early and often on Thursday night. The Packers need to limit his impact on the game. Tackle well, don't give up big plays, and limit his contributions. That could mean having Jaire Alexander play some snaps in the slot if he's healthy. But Nixon will see plenty of St. Brown and needs a strong performance.