The Detroit Lions head to Lambeau Field Sunday in an attempt to earn a victory in a place that can be very cold—along with the Lions' streak there.
The Lions haven’t won in Green Bay since Dec. 15, 1991—that’s a long time.
However, 2013 is the year to somewhat cover that blemish.
The Lions have a lot going for them through four games: They have a run game for the first time in a long time, the offense looks solid and the defense is ferocious.
However, coming fresh off a bye week, Aaron Rodgers has had plenty of time to figure out the Lions defense as well as how to avoid going 1-3. This divisional game is important to both teams, so expect an intense 60 minutes of football.
Here are my predictions for the Lions-Packers game Sunday.
Matthew Stafford will pick apart the Packers D—a defense that gave up huge games to wide receivers this season—208 yards to San Francisco’s Anquan Boldin and 143 yards to Washington’s Pierre Garcon. Calvin Johnson can have a field day on this Green Bay secondary if Jim Schwartz believes it is necessary—or he can strive for balance by implementing the run game.
Reggie Bush is coming off a monster 139-yard, one-touchdown game against the Bears. Bush can have a big game at Lambeau if the Lions mix up the offense how they did against Chicago.
Detroit’s D will give Rodgers trouble but not enough to stop him from having an impact on the game. Jordy Nelson will be Rodgers' favorite target Sunday against the Lions' stifling pass rush.
Packers running back Eddie Lacy has had adequate time to recover from his concussion as well as prepare for this game. Lacy can have a major impact against Detroit’s defense. The Lions have given up individual run plays of 78, 53 and 30 yards this season.
However, after those outbursts, they kept those running backs quiet—that trend continues Sunday.
Here are the leaders on offense for Sunday:
Lions: Stafford 27-of-36, 347 yards, three TDs
Bush: 20 carries, 115 yards, TD
Johnson: eight receptions, 140 yards, two TDs
Packers: Rodgers 33-of-40, 328 yards, two TDs, two INTs
Nelson: seven receptions, 122 yards, TD
Lacy: 15 carries, 91 yards, TD
Both defenses will struggle to check the opposing offenses all day—not that either team doesn’t have great defenders—that’s not the case at all. But both QBs are playing well.
Stafford is looking sharp through four games, and Rodgers, as Stephen A. Smith would say, is a bad man.
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews may not get to take down Motown’s QB, but Stafford won’t get to enjoy as much coziness as he has so far this season.
Cornerback Sam Shields leads Green Bay with six pass deflections, and he will continue his prowl on defense and knock down a couple of Stafford’s passes Sunday.
The Packers defense has just two picks on the season—I don’t expect to see one against Detroit.
Ndamukong Suh and the rest of the Lions D-line will get pressure on the Packers QB early in the game, which will create a couple of turnovers.
The Lions have nabbed eight interceptions in this young season, and DeAndre Levy will be there to add another to that total. Louis Delmas will be right behind him in the first half to give Detroit its 10th pick in five games.
Here are the leaders on defense for Sunday:
Lions: Stephen Tulloch 10 tackles, one sack
Suh: four tackles, one pass deflection, one sack
Levy: six tackles, one INT, one sack
Packers: Matthews 10 tackles
Shields: five tackles, one sack
Brad Jones: eight tackles, two for loss, two deflections
And the winner is…
I expect to see an offensive onslaught from both teams. However, Detroit continues to expand its win streak and earns its first win in Green Bay in nearly 22 years. The Lions edge the Packers at Lambeau Field, 41-34.