With Only One Win In Green Bay In 25 Years, Detroit Looks To Bump It To Two Monday Night.
The toughest part of the season is over for the Detroit Lions. While they are 3-4, Detroit faces the second half of their season against easier opponents and with the Packers down Aaron Rodgers, the Bears are figuring out what their image is as a team, and the Vikings are dealing with offensive woes when it comes to the passing and running game.
Detroit’s destiny is to win the NFC North, and the only team that can stop the Detroit Lions, are the Detroit Lions.
They start their journey going into Lambeau Field on Monday Night. Somewhere they haven’t had much success in the past 25 years. They beat Green Bay in 2015 for the first time in 24 years, a streak that needed to end. They lost last season in one of their worst games, but now tables have turned. While they are coming off the bye, the Packers are banged up and the Lions are getting healthy. Detroit won’t be getting handed a win on Monday night, they will have to fight for it like they always do.
Matt Stafford Needs To Score
Now, this isn’t all on Matt Stafford. Jim Bob Cooter hasn’t been impressive this season with his play calling. Last week against the Steelers, the Lions were not able to get into the end zone, going 0-5 for scoring inside the red zone, against the 26th ranked red zone defense. No play calls worked, and Stafford even screwed the team on one play by checking into an HB draw on 3rd and 5, forcing the team to have to go for another shot in the end zone, that would end up failing.
Stafford had a great game none-the-less, going 27/45 for 423 yards and a carry for 11 yards, but wasn’t able to score once. Performances like that are too good to not win games. He didn’t throw any interceptions. Golden Tate fumbled on a drive that could have given the Lions a chance to take the lead. Stafford had his best game this season, yard-wise, and it was wasted without scoring.
You have to expect Jim Bob Cooter and the offense worked on red zone offense this week in practice, and with an extra day to look things over and such, there should be no excuse for that to happen again this week or this season.
The Offensive Line Needs To Help End Another Streak
59 games without a 100-yard rusher. Three full seasons where a running back where a Detroit Lion running back couldn’t get 100 yards on the ground in one game. Some of the issues have been with poor running back play, while other times have been poor offensive line play. On Monday Night, both need to show up and snap another streak in Green Bay.
Ameer Abdullah came close against the Minnesota Vikings this season, getting 94 yards. This Packer defense doesn’t have much of a threat in stopping the run as Clay Matthews is getting older, and while linebacker Jake Ryan is looking to be the next Clay Matthews in Green Bay, Detroit’s offensive line needs to make sure it can happen.
Right tackle Rick Wagner and right guard T.J. Lang are both fully healthy and while Taylor Decker is still out, Brian Mihalik did well against the Steelers at left tackle, in place of Greg Robinson. Left guard Graham Glasgow has improved as the season has gone on and center Travis Swanson has done well this season by not allowing a sack. If all five can be ready to go and able to take on a Packers defensive line that has struggled to stop the run, allowing an average of 125 rushing yards a game. This is the night to end the streak.
Another Big Matchup For Darius Slay
“Big Play” Darius Slay is ready for another good matchup. Last week he held the best wide receiver in the NFL, Antonio Brown, to just one catch for nine yards when matched up with Slay. Slay has been impressive all season, with only one poor game performance against Carolina.
Now he has to take on a similar wide receiver in Jordy Nelson. Nelson is tall like Kelvin Benjamin, the wide receiver in Carolina that was able to take down Slay. Nelson is having a down year on yards, only getting 26 catches for 303 yards, but he has six touchdowns.
Now with Rodgers out, Nelson is relying on Brett Hundley and that connection hasn’t seemed to click yet, with Nelson only getting one catch last week against New Orleans.
This is the best chance for Detroit to take advantage of a beaten Green Bay Packers team. They are banged up in many positions and with Rodgers down, it couldn’t be more of a perfect time for the Lions to steal one in Green Bay.
The defense should give Hundley issues and put him in situations that he hasn’t been through, and if done right it can create turnovers and give the Lions more of a chance to win. The offense shouldn’t have too much of an issue against this lackluster defense.
Stafford and company should be able to get a win and keep the Vikings looking back on what is right behind them.
Detroit wins 24-13.
If you would like a more in-depth game preview, check out Zac’s article here.