For the second time in just under a month the Green Bay Packers will take on the Detroit Lions.
Once again, injury news for the Packers leads the story. Jordy Nelson came out of last week’s game with a hamstring injury and it looks like it will force him to miss this game. James Starks has also been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury and it also appears that Clay Matthews will miss this game, his fifth straight. Also, offensive linemen, T.J. Lang, will be out of the game with an ankle injury.
Some good news regarding injuries is that Charles Woodson and Sam Shields may be back on the field for the Packers. Both of them have practiced while wearing pads this week, so they are making progress to getting back on the field. This would be great news if the Packers can get these two guys back on the field, especially against the Lions dangerous passing game.
The last game between these two, Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford, threw for 266 yards, but he also threw two interceptions. In the last game the Packers had good success getting to Stafford, they sacked him five times, so look for them to bring some pressure and get to him again and hope that the pressure leads to more interceptions.
Both of these teams are very pass heavy and don’t look for that to change.
With James Starks’ injury, Alex Green will become the feature back for the Packers. The Packers announced earlier in the week they had signed free agent Ryan Grant, who has played for the Packers before. Grant won’t be the feature back right away and Green has shown he can perform decently in that role, so the job is his for now.
The Packers greatest challenge will come with trying to stop Calvin Johnson. In the last game, Johnson caught 5 balls for 143 yards and one touchdown. If Shields and Woodson are able to go, that would help in slowing down Johnson, but if they cannot the Packers will have to come up with any way they can to slow down the Lions star receiver.
Green Bay will also have to slow down the Lions pass rush. With all the injuries the Packers offensive line has suffered, they are a rag-tag unit right now. The last time these two teams met, the Lions only sacked Rodgers three times, but the loss of T.J. Lang on the line means there is another hole to fill.
The last time these two teams met at Lambeau, Matt Flynn torched the Lions defense and landed himself a nice contract in Seattle because of it. The Packers have been playing solidly since the early part of the season while the Lions have been struggling. The Packers are back in first place in the NFC North and will look to keep it that way. Being at home will give them a solid boost and it will be the boost that secures the victory. Packers win 35-21.
Three Keys to Victory
Stop Calvin Johnson – If Shields and Woodson are back they will be able to help in this task, but even with them it will be difficult. In the last meeting, Johnson only caught five passes but nearly had 150 yards receiving. He is the Lions biggest threat and the Packers have to slow him down anyway they can.
Keep the pressure on Stafford – While this goes along with number one, the Packers did a good job last time at getting in Stafford’s face. They need to be able to bring pressure and get Stafford moving and force him to make some bad throws, which will result in interceptions and will also result in Johnson having less of an impact.
Work around the injures – The Packers offensive line and their receiving group are still facing injuries. There is nothing the Packers can do about them other than play around them. The Packers will have to call plays that get Rodgers out of the pocket or call short passes. With Greg Jennings back, the receivers should still produce. Look for James Jones to step up this w