Somewhat surprisingly, the Green Bay Packers (6-3) are only favoured by three points when they head to Detroit to take on the Lions (4-5). The Packers are starting to get hot after a slow start to the season. After losing three out of the first five, they are starting to hit their stride. The Pack has won the last four games before its bye by double figure margins.
Coming off a bye and wanting to take advantage of a loss by the Chicago Bears, first place in the NFC North, the Packers will be a tough call for a Detroit team that has continued to blow hot and cold, even though they are playing at home.
The game is a bit of a must-win for the Lions’ slim playoff hopes. Lose, and while not mathematically eliminated, it would be difficult for them to secure even a wildcard spot. This may make them play better than they have in recent weeks but it is still a big ask.
Wide receiver, Calvin Johnson was limited in practice by a knee injury and is still questionable for the game. Considering its importance, and the fact it is a division rival, Johnson will do everything in his power to make sure he can suit up. But even so, not being at 100% will be detrimental to the Lions’ offence, which is still looking for other threats in the passing game as well as a consistent, excellent runner.
Johnson, after a slow (for him) start to the season has absolutely come alive in the last two weeks. Cornerbacks, Tramon Williams and Sam Shields will be called upon to cover Megatron, as Johnson’s nicknamed.
On offense, the Packers will have a similar situation to the Lions, in that they do not have a consistent running back. James Stark may see most of the carries this week as Alex Green and Johnny White are coming back from an injury and an illness. However, none of the backs have proven to be the kind of threat that would cause opposing defences to stack eight in the box.
This means it will be down, once again, to the play of quarterback, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay stable of receivers. Greg Jennings is still out with a groin injury, leaving James Jones, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb as the primary aerial threats. Nelson is nursing a sore hamstring, and although expected to start, may have a limited workload as a result. Look for Jones to take on the role of primary receiver for this game
Green Bay Detroit will be seen as the 1 PM EST game of FOX for most of the country. The east coast, south, Arizona and northern California are the only large swaths of America that will not get to.
Where To Watch: Packers at Lions