Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions: 5 Bold Predictions for Sunday's Matchup
As the Packers make their way to Detroit this Sunday to take on the 2-9 Lions, Green Bay also risks their impressive 8-4 record through 13 weeks of play.
Last week's win was a positive reinforcement to the remainder of Green Bay's season, absolutely manhandling the 49ers on home turf.
But this year in the NFL is different; teams once thought of as "non-competitive" are now shooting their way up the standings, and nothing seems to be even remotely predictable.
With that being said, the Packers just barely managed to get the home victory over those Lions in a week four matchup some month and a half ago -- winning by the slimmest of margins at 28-26.
Drew Stanton will try to lead the Lions' upset over the Green and Gold on Sunday, looking for his first victory of the season as the Lions' starting quarterback.
Meanwhile, James Starks makes is legendary second appearance of the season, and looks to take the Green Bay running game to new heights.
What does the game hold on store? Let's find out.
Here are five conceivably bold predictions for Sunday's game.
Aaron Rodgers Will Thrown For 250 Yards, Numerous Touchdowns
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Aaron Rodgers' leadership over the course of the entire season speaks for itself, raking up 3,243 yards to go with 23 touchdowns so far this season.
Rodgers has also managed to complete 65.4 percent of his passes -- a career high through 12 games. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: Rodgers currently holds a quarterback rating of 100.3, good enough to be 4th-best in the entire NFL.
Sure, there have been bouts this season in which Rodgers' maintenance has been in question -- but his poise and willingness have been the key to the Packers' turnaround after the week 13 loss to Atlanta.
Against the Lions in week four, Rodgers only managed to put up 181 yards through the air, complemented by three touchdowns and two interceptions. That will not happen on Sunday.
The week four matchup was only a lingering wound in the side of the Packers after the Monday night loss to the Bears, and this week the Packers are rolling along with the utmost confidence in their team's abilities.
Detroit has the league's 16th-worst pass defense, allowing 222.6 yards per game through the air. Along with allowing 21 passing touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks, I'd say Rodgers is primed for a huge game Sunday.
But the biggest factor of all? It's Aaron Rodgers, people -- and that's the most important factor this game has to offer.
Good luck, Detroit.
James Starks Will Break at Least 80 Yards, Score First Rushing Touchdown
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
In his epic debut, Starks rushed his way towards 73 yards on 14 attempts -- moreover impressing the entire Packer fan base along the way.
His story and progressions through the rest of the season will be the storyline of the entire franchise.
But, let's get to the straight up statistics of it all: Detroit attains the league's 25th-ranked defense against the run, all while allowing the second most rushing touchdowns on the season (15).
Although running through the tackles may prove to be a challenge (running at Ndomukong Suh is always a confrontation worth recognizing), Starks' downhill-type running style should be (one of) the many reasons why the Packers should come out on top Sunday.
Adding the fact that Mike McCarthy now knows he indeed has a running back worth handing the ball to, expect a fine majority of carries to be granted to none other than Starks himself.
Against a defensive squad giving up 127.4 yards on the ground, Starks will get his chances.
Starks will be able to make a statement as a future rusher to be reckoned with for years to come in the league, and will have an impressive second start as the Packers' star running back.
Greg Jennings Will Maintain 120 Yards, Two Touchdowns
Jim Prisching/Getty Images
Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings is apparently the next "big-thing" in the NFL -- and with good reason.
Jennings has managed to accumulate 944 yards and 11 touchdown passes so far this season, and the Lions give up some of the most touchdowns through the air in the entire league this season.
Against the Lions in the week four matchup, Jennings was limited to 25 yards, two receptions, and one touchdown. Don't expect anything like that this week.
Before their week four meeting, Jennings only averaged 45.3 yards per game. Since then, he has averaged 113 yards per game. Sounds like something's trending, huh?
The difference is Green Bay's willingness to throw the football Jennings' way in key situations time and time again, and that doesn't look to end anytime soon.
Rodgers has the utmost confidence in Jennings' ability to carry this Green Bay receiving corps, and will throw his was at least six times on Sunday against the Lions.
Tramon Williams Will Officially Punch His Pro-Bowl Ticket
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
The releasing of Al Harris could possibly turn out to be the greatest defensive release in the history of the Packers.
Green Bay cornerback Tramon Williams has had an unbelievable season thus far, compiling four interceptions, one forced fumble, and 48 tackles. Sunday against an inexperience Drew Stanton won't make a difference, either.
Signing his new contract extension (keeping him locked up until 2014) will ultimately end up as an A+ for Ted Thompson and company, as Williams will inevitably end up as a Pro-Bowler for many years to come.
It still remains to be seen whether or not Charles Woodson or Williams will defend against Calvin "the freak" Johnson on Sunday. But either way, they will limit the league's most athletically gifted wide receiver.
Stanton will target Johnson throughout the entirety of the game, and Williams will key on that fact. Moreover, the Lions have thrown a team-total of 13 interceptions so far this season -- good enough to be in botton ten in the entire league.
By the end of the game, Williams will have managed at least one interception -- putting him ahead of fellow cornerback Charles Woodson by a staggering three interceptions.
Along with his staggering numbers at the cornerback position, Williams will have a multitude of chances to enforce his will via the punt return game -- where he averages a solid 7.7 yards per return.
Make sure to be tuned in for the entirety of the contest, as there will more than likely be a huge play from Tramon Williams; our All-Pro cornerback.
Green Bay Will Come Away With The Evident Victory
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Looking at the numbers and projections of the Packers' matchup with the Lions on Sunday, you'd initially think of a potential blowout in the motor city.
Well that's exactly what we'll be witnessing come Sunday.
Coach Mike McCarthy now knowns what James Starks has in store, and will build off of that momentum. With that in mind, McCarthy will continue to balance out the Packers' play-calling, thus making the offensive fire power only that more powerful.
The numbers unfortunately don't lie for the Lions, as they are in fact one of the league's most dismal of football squads.
Sure, the Lions have managed to be more competitive than previous seasons, but the fact of the matter remains: Green Bay is on a proverbial roll into their matchup with Detroit on Sunday.
With a rugged remaining schedule compiled with potential playoff teams, the Packers will come into Detroit with the utmost confidence, and focus. Looking past this game could almost be considered suicide, that may in fact come back to haunt the Packers.
Still, the Packers known what needs to be done, and that the Lions could indeed pull off the upset; so don't expect McCarthy to let up at any point during the game.
Look for a big game from the Green and Gold on Sunday afternoon in Detroit -- and a Packers team steadily preparing themselves for the tough road ahead.
This is a statement game for the Green Bay Packers.
Prediction: Green Bay 38, Detroit 14