With The Season Finale Having No Meaning, How Will Detroit Play?
The road stops here. The season finale for the Detroit Lions is against the Green Bay Packers, and while the team may be eliminated from playoff contention, they could still end the season with an above .500 record. Along with beating the Green Bay Packers, Detroit would sweep Green Bay for the first time since 1991, and finish with a 5-1 record in the division.
While it won’t mean much with head coach Jim Caldwell on the hot seat, it could boost confidence in the team heading into the 2018 season.
Should Matt Stafford Play?
This is the major topic of this game this week. Should the starting quarterback Matt Stafford start a meaningless game and risk getting hurt? Stafford had some words to say about that this week, saying:
I’m the quarterback here. This is what I work hard for. I work hard for opprotunites to go out there and play on Sundays.
It sounds like Jim Caldwell is going to let Stafford play on Sunday, but is it the right call? Sure if Stafford gets dinged up he has months to recover, but those times should be spent resting and training for next season, not recovering and healing.
The Lions should start backup quarterback Jake Rudock instead, to give him some more reps and possibly build up his trade stock as last year the Chicago Bears tried snagging him up. While he won’t be like Jimmy Garoppolo in New England, he could still be traded for something if one team is willing to take the risk.
Teez Tabor And The Secondary Get Easy Pickings
With starting cornerback Nevin Lawson missing practice all week with a concussion, rookie cornerback Teez Tabor could see some more playing time. With D.J. Hayden being a free agent after this season, there is no need for them to see what he can do, instead, expect to see Tabor out there more to show what he has learned this season.
Along with Tabor, nickel cornerback, Quandre Diggs has been playing safety in absence of Tavon Wilson. Rookie cornerback/return man Jamal Agnew might see some playing time on defense, as well as the coaches, could see what he brings to the table and lay out some plans for 2018.
McCarthy: Davante Adams, Jahri Evans, Richard Rodgers, Jordy Nelson, Nick Perry & Aaron Jones all OUT for Sunday. #GBvsDET
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) December 29, 2017
With two of the top three wide receivers, backup running back and tight end out, the secondary shouldn’t have many issues with the passing game of Green Bay. Quarterback Brett Hundley has been struggling as the backup quarterback in Green Bay. With some good options to throw to out, this will make it even harder for the quarterback to find open receivers. This will be a good chance for the younger cornerbacks to get tested up against some NFL competition.
Offensive Line Getting Healthy Too Late
Starting right guard T.J. Lang and right tackle Rick Wagner have improved with their injuries and practiced in limited fashion all week. With them coming back that should help the offensive line, but it isn’t all good news for the line.
Starting center Travis Swanson was put on IR this week with a concussion. This is the second straight season where Swanson’s season has ended with a concussion. Expect left guard Graham Glasow to move to center, and Joe Dahl to start at left guard.
This could spell the end of Swanson in Detroit as Glasgow has shown he can play both guard and center and has done better this season.
Last time these two teams met, the Lions had their way with the Green Bay Packers. Now with less experienced and skilled receivers and backs on the field, scoring will be even harder for the Packers. Along with the game being a home game, expect the crowd to be roaring and loud.
It seems like the Lions will play this game like it matters and the starters will play, and this team has better starters than Green Bay does right now.
Detroit wins 35-10.