Packers-Lions: Green Bay's Secondary Will Be Key to A Victory

Aren DowCorrespondent ISeptember 12, 2008

After a thrilling start, and with a game against the Cowboys looming, the Packers' upcoming game against the Lions is a textbook trap.

Am I really concerned that Mike McCarthy will overlook this game? No.

What really concerns me are Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams. I could not care less about the rest of the Lions' team.

Kevin Smith looked good last week, but I am confident the Packers front seven can contain him. And I think most Packers fans (and Lions fans) will agree that Detroit's defense looks rather dismal.

This week's passing attack is much more potent than what Green Bay saw last week from Minnesota. No matter who you think is better, Tarvaris Jackson or Jon Kitna, there is no doubt who has the better tools around him.

Looking back at the games between the Packers and Lions from last year, Detroit had much more success scoring than most teams against Green Bay. Their 26 points scored in the first game against the Packers was 10 more points than the Vikings scored against them all season.

During the 37-26 win last year, however, Charles Woodson was out, leaving Jarrett Bush to cover Johnson. Johnson caught seven passes but did have 15 thrown his way during the game.

Al Harris did a nice job on Roy Williams last year, but I imagine they were mostly just targeting Bush over Harris. While you could attribute good coverage, anyone who saw the game knew better. Calvin Johnson kept them out of it with dropped balls.

The situation looks like it might be the same Sunday afternoon. Woodson has a fractured toe and might be kept on the sidelines to rest.

While Johnson could face the third-string corner again, I doubt he will repeat those rookie mistakes. I have more faith in Tramon Williams than Jarrett Bush, but Johnson is just a freak of a wide receiver. At 6'5" and after running the 40 in 4.35 seconds, he outmatches just about everyone.

At that speed, having the safeties help cover him is going to be critical. The linebackers will have a hard time keeping up with the speed both Williams and Johnson have. If Johnson gets too far ahead of coverage, expect Kitna to bomb it downfield.

Mike Furrey will be a threat coming out of the slot as well. If Woodson is indeed out, that leaves Blackmon or the rookie Pat Lee to cover him.

Atari Bigby and Nick Collins are going to have their hands full this week. I would love to see Bigby lay out some big hits early to set the tone.

An early interception would be nice as well, but the Packer secondary must be cautious to not overplay the ball. The Detroit receivers will make you pay for mistakes. 

There is some good news for Packers fans though. With all of their problems facing tight ends last year, there is little need to worry this week; Detroit's tight ends are mostly used for blocking. Michael Gaines, their starter, caught only two passes last week and is the replacement for the former starter Dan Campbell.

Hopefully, the Packers' defensive line can get to Kitna before the Lions' receivers cruise too far downfield.

I don't see this game as much of a contest, but I am concerned about the Packers keeping their intensity. The Lions will come out firing after the loss to Atlanta.

Prediction: Packers 30, Lions 20