Steffen: After what feels like decades of ineptitude (oh wait, it has been decades) the Detroit Lions’ offseason roster moves had many prognosticators predicting marked improvement over last season’s two-win season.
Indeed the Lions are an improved team. Led by rookie dynamo Jahvid Best, the offense has more firepower and fellow rookie defensive tackle/tank Ndamukong Suh anchors a fearsome defensive front.
The Lions are going to surprise some teams this season and they will indeed improve on their two-win mark from a year ago. However, they still aren’t ready for prime time.
Backup quarterback Shaun Hill is a fiery leader and most teams would be lucky to have him on their squad. However, the fact of the matter is that starter and slut magnet Matthew Stafford gives their offense the most options and best chance to win. Look for the Lions to do just that a few times after he returns from injury.
The Green Bay Packers are coming off a tremendously disappointing Monday night game against the Chicago Bears. Much has been made about the Packers’ 18 penalties and shoddy special teams play. The general consensus is that these areas can be easily corrected. I’m sorry, but penalties, confused, slow special teams and generally undisciplined play have been the hallmarks of the Mike McCarthy era.
There is no reason to believe that they will magically correct any of those issues this week, let alone this season. These Achilles’ heels will plague the Packers all season and ultimately, they will sabotage All-Pro seasons by individuals like Aaron Rodgers, Clay Matthews and Jermichael Finley.
Speaking of Finley, I’m excited to see how he matches up with Lions safety Louis Delmas. Last season, Finley was on the receiving end of a brutal, dirty hit and has said publicly that he’ll be looking for retribution.
Look, Green Bay is going to win this week. But again, penalties and lack of discipline will keep the Lions in a game that they have no business being in — all the way to the end.
Watch for the Packers running game to get going against the Lions weak defense (30th in the NFL), which will only empower general manager Ted Thompson’s insane “I’ve never heard of Marshawn Lynch” stance.
After being shut out in the second half last week, receivers Greg Jennings and Donald Driver will have a big day while the Lions scheme to slow Finley.
Packers 34, Lions 28
Brady: The Lions come in to Lambeau Field as a wounded team with quarterback Matthew Stafford still recovering from a shoulder injury and rookie sensation Jahvid Best suffering a toe injury last week against the Vikings. Best will likely play, but Stafford is out at least another week and that does not bode well for an exciting, but pitiful team like the Lions, who haven’t won in Green Bay for almost two decades.
The Packers on the other hand, have to come into this game as an angry and determined team after giving away a game to the mouth breathers down in Chicago. It will be interesting to see how the team responds after an undisciplined effort marred by bad calls and questionable decisions.
The Lions defensive line looks to be one of the bright spots on the team with defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, while the Packers offensive line looked shaky with right tackle Mark Tauscher having one of the worst games I can remember against the Bears. Detroit shows glimpses of promise followed by long periods of mediocrity and in the end, it’s Detroit at Green Bay and they never win in Lambeau Field.
Packers 30, Lions 13
Sarah: Even the Packers’ weakest link — its atrocious running game — is better than the rushing attack of the Detroit Lions, which is currently 31st in the league (66 ypg).
That sums up how this game against Detroit should go on Sunday.
The Packers should blow the Lions out of the water. It should be a massacre. It should be a feeding frenzy for Green Bay’s defense.
It should. But will it?
After Monday night’s disappointing loss at Chicago, it will be interesting to see how this Packers team comes out against the lowly Lions. It will be a good test of their mettle and, if they can bounce back, a good indicator of how they respond to adversity, given all the preseason Super Bowl predictions.
This will be a good game for the Packers to switch it up a bit at running back and try something — anything — new to establish a rushing game. Running backs Brandon Jackson and John Kuhn got to the NFL for SOME reason, right? The coaches should be able to figure out a way to use them to their best abilities.
Green Bay’s outstanding defense, led by linebacker Clay Matthews and his six sacks, should shine again, as should quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his receivers.
If the Lions have any chance at all it will lie with running back Jahvid Best, who is playing this weekend after injuring his toe against the Vikings. Best has shown he’s capable of having a big game and keeping his team in it. He’ll definitely need to do that again on Sunday.
Packers 34, Lions 14