23 players were picked ahead of Aaron Rodgers in the 2005 NFL Draft, 23 teams made a mistake. If the 2005 draft were to be held today Rodgers would be a 49er, unfortunately for the Detroit Lions that is not the case.
Rodgers faced Detroit twice last year and had quarterback ratings of 113 and 124. Although Detroit’s improved pass rush will limit the time he has to find receivers, he won’t need it. This looks like a matchup of Goliath (Rodgers) Vs. David (Lions Defense) and David forgot to bring his sling shot.
Edge: Packers – Even if Matthew Stafford was healthy this matchup tilts overwhelmingly in Green Bay’s favor.
Every week Detroit fans wait for Calvin Johnson to have a big game, but it just hasn’t happened. He is 28th in the league in receptions but only 52nd in receiving yards. Those numbers suggest that Detroit has been very conservative on offense and is not taking shots downfield. This plays into the hands of the defense and allows the safeties to cheat against because they don’t have to worry about a downfield threat.
Donald Driver is leading the Packers with 18 receptions but is only averaging 7.2 yards per catch. This is quite a drop off from 2009 when he averaged over 15 yards per catch. This is a good week to regain his 2009 form against a struggling Lions secondary.
Edge: Even – Packer receivers haven’t been great, but the Lions’ receivers are trying to catch passes from a backup.
Jahvid Best injured his toe against the Vikings and has not practiced all week. He has told reporters that he will be playing this weekend. Aaron Brown is out with a broken finger. This could be the week Kevin Smith fans get to see him in a game.
As bad the Lions’ injury situation is at RB, it is worse for the Packers. The loss of Ryan Grant has been tough on the Packer’s running game. They rank 22nd in rushing after being a top 15 team in 2009. Backup Brandon Jackson is averaging just 2.9 yards per carry.
Against the Bears last week the Packers leading rusher was FB John Kuhn.
Edge: Packers – The Packers maybe 22nd in rushing but the Lions are 31st.
Detroit’s tight ends have been featured prominently in the passing game, with Tony Scheffler taking center stage against the Vikings. Brandon Pettigrew had a tough game catching the ball last week and will look to rebound against the Packers.
Jermichael Finley leads the packers with 265 receiving yards. He has emerged as one of the better tight ends in the league and is on pace to eclipse a 1,000 yards receiving.
Entering his 11th year in the league, Chad Clifton has been a constant presence in the Packers offensive line. His value really showed last year when he missed four games due to injury. His absence caused an already struggling offensive line to become even weaker.
The Lions’ offensive line has underperformed this year. With the acquisition of Rob Sims and the return of Stephan Peterman form injury, many figured this is finally the year the Lions would be strong in the trenches.
If the Lions OL doesn’t play their best game of the season, Shaun Hill might not survive the game.
Edge: Lions – The Lions OL has now had three weeks to gel and if they don’t get it together in this game changes are going to have to be made yet again next year.
Detroit’s defensive line has been the only bright spot for the defense. They have gotten consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks and will look to continue that against the Packers.
Green Bay’s young NT B.J. Raji has a big size advantage over Lions center Dominic Raiola. He will have to be double teamed or again it could be a long day for Hill.
Edge: Lions – Detroit’s line has so far lived up to its lofty preseason expectations.
The Lions could for the first time this year have all three of their starting linebackers but that hinges on the groin of MLB DeAndre Levy who has been held out of practice so far this week. Even when healthy, Detroit’s linebackers have struggled.
In a total contrast, the Packers have a group of linebackers that have excelled. Led by Clay Matthews and his six sacks so far this year, this group is going to be a tough matchup for Detroit.
Edge: Packers – No explanation needed.
It’s starting to sound like a broken record but the Lions must get a better performance from its secondary to help out the front seven. One bright spot has been the play of Chris Houston, who was robbed of an interception by a phantom penalty last week.
People in Michigan still have images of Charles Woodson with a rose between his teeth. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year has not disappointed since leaving the Wolverines on or off the field. He has contributed over two million dollars to further medical research at his alma mater.
The Lions’ fortunes turned last week on a fumbled punt return by Stefan Logan. That fumble aside the return game has been better than in previous years.
Last week the Packers were also let down by their special teams as they allowed Devin Hester to score on a punt return.
The packers are not going to be in a good mood following after losing to Chicago.
This would be a good week for Lion fans to head to the apple orchard, not much good is going come of this game.
Pick: Packers 34 - Lions 14