It’s do-or-die time for the Green Bay Packers – and for the Detroit Lions – this weekend. This is the time for team leaders and clutch players to come forward and make a key difference in the game.
Who will step up and provide the heroics on Sunday?
Last weekend it was Clay Matthews, who contributed a strip sack, which reversed the game’s momentum and led to Green Bay’s second touchdown.
The week before that it was Ty Montgomery and his 162-yard rushing assault on the Bears.
Earlier in the year, Davante Adams was dominant in the win over Chicago on October 20.
On the defensive side, Damarious Randall’s knockdown of an otherwise sure winning touchdown pass was the play that preserved the first win against Detroit. Micah Hyde made a great play in similar circumstances two weeks ago against the Bears. And both Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (Chicago) and Damarious Randall (Seattle) have had two-interception games in December.
My Playmaker Pick
I like the guy who has as much to play for as anyone on Green Bay’s roster. He’s no stranger to being named an All Pro. And he’s come through before in win-or-go-home scenarios.
It’s Julius Peppers.
Green Bay’s next loss will almost certainly be Peppers’ final game in the NFL. Peppers knows how close the Packers were to making a run last year — before another player who’s had a great career, Larry Fitzgerald, became Arizona’s playmaker.
Peppers came to Green Bay in large part to get a Super Bowl ring. With the way Aaron Rodgers is playing, that dream is still alive and getting more plausible every week.
We only have to go back two weeks to see the impact Peppers can still make – it was his strip-sack of Bears’ QB Matt Barkley on the first play of the third quarter that changed the momentum of a tie game.
I’m also factoring in that Clay Matthews is returning to form. He and Peppers collaborate well together as pass rushers, and they can’t both be double-teamed.
Additionally, Peppers is quite rested, as he was only used on 42 out of 78 defensive plays against the Vikings – and he and his teammates also got an extra day’s rest due to the Vikings game being on a Saturday.
Finally, the Lions’ offensive line is weak. They’ve already given up 38 sacks on the year – 10th most in the NFL.
Sunday would be an ideal time for the future Hall of Famer to come through with some big plays.