Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 11/15/12
The Green Bay Packers finally return to action this week when they take on division rivals, the Detroit Lions. The Packers tried to use their bye week to get healthy but that came with little success.  Greg Jennings, Bryan Bulaga and Clay Matthews have already been ruled out for Sunday’s game.  In some good news regarding injuries, it appears that Jordy Nelson should be back on the field Sunday, but the team won’t announce the decision till closer till game time. While the Packers have been playing well as of late, they will need these guys to get fully healthy and fast.  The return of Nelson will help Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense, as they faced Detroit’s 7th ranked pass defense. The Lions are coming off a division loss to the Minnesota Vikings and are looking to bring themselves back to the level of play they had last season when they made the playoffs.  The Lions are fighting for their playoff lives at this point and will be playing desperate at this point, which makes a dangerous team even more dangerous. Green Bay will have to do all they can to slow down Detroit’s number one ranked passing offense.  Calvin Johnson hasn’t been the big game receiver he has in years past but he had a big game last week and the Packers secondary is known to give up big games to big time receivers.  The Lions offense is pretty much one-dimensional, so focusing on stopping the pass should be really the only goal for the Packers defense this week, although that is much easier said than done. The Lions defense, which was really good last season hasn’t played as strong this year; they gave up a bunch of yards last week to Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.  Mike McCarthy has shown that he will do all he can to get a running game going and the Packers had a good running performance in their last game, so look for the Packers to run early and often and try to continue that success. History favors Green Bay in this series.  Aaron Rodgers is 6-1 against the Lions since becoming a starter and the Packers are 11-1 under head coach Mike McCarthy against the Lions.  The Packers lead the series 19-3 since the 2001 season. But as stated before the Lions are going to be playing desperate as they fight to keep their playoff hopes alive.  They will also have the home crowd backing them up, which will give them an extra boost. This game is still the Packers to lose though.  The Packers are the better team and have been playing much better than the Lions lately.  The Lions passing attack will keep the game close but the Packers will pull away at the end and win 35-27. The Keys to Victory Follow other’s lead – The Vikings had great success running the ball against the Lions last week.  While the Packers don’t have a running back with the skill set of Adrian Peterson, that shouldn’t stop them from trying to run the ball.  If the running game isn’t working then don’t force it, but there is an opportunity to build off last game’s great running success. Keep Calvin Johnson in line – The Packers have done a decent job of keeping star receivers quite during games but their secondary is still the defensive weak point.  Johnson had a big game last week and the Packers need to make sure he doesn’t repeat that performance on Sunday. Win the quarterback battle – This game could easily come down to which quarterback has the better game so it will be a battle between Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford.  Rodgers has the upper hand but with Jennings out and Jordy still not 100%, it will be a close fight.  

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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